Teacher participation in curriculum decision making : a study of teachers' opinions on history education at secondary schools in the Cape Peninsula

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The current debates about curriculum policy decision making and the empirical investigation into the teaching of history in South Africa undertaken by the Human Sciences Research Council (1989-1991) have prompted this study. The research undertaken attempts to examine how history teachers' opinions can be collected, interpreted and utilised for curriculum policy formulation. The dissertation initially considers participation m curriculum decision-making and presents the case for the inclusion of teachers in decision making structures and processes. Recent initiatives in South Africa which have attempted to involve teachers in curriculum policy formulation are then examined. A research project was undertaken which surveyed the opinions of history teachers and the Cape Peninsula by means of questionnaires and interviews. Its results demonstrate that the research methodology employed impacts strongly on the information that is gathered and on the way that it can be utilised in curriculum policy formulation. The main conclusions reached were that teacher participation could contribute to a less technicist and more person-centered approach in curriculum development. This approach could improve the quality of the product (syllabus documents) and its subsequent adoption and implementation. The degree to which a school identifies with the syllabuses would be far greater, which would ensure flexibility and willingness to adapt to policies in which teachers have a sense of ownership.

Bibliography: pages 91-96.