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In this essay I will discuss the recent curriculum changes in South Africa and their impact on teachers and

teaching. Firstly I will use Eisner and Frasers definition of curriculum to support my definition of the word curriculum. Secondly I will mention the advantages and disadvantages of curriculum change. Thirdly I will state the changes that were made and their impact on teachers and teaching. Lastly I will use the theory of the educational theorist to mention the key concepts that should be taken into consideration when a curriculum is implemented or reviewed. According to my understanding curriculum is a guide (for all teachers) with clear expectation or outcomes that should be achieved whenever the curriculum is carried out. According to Eisner (1984: 54) curriculum is a series of planned event that are intended to have educational consequences. According to Fraser (1993: 54) curriculum should be inter-related with totality of aims, learning activities, evaluation procedure, opportunities and experience that guide and implement the didactic activities in a planned and justified manner. Therefore a curriculum should be a planned event with learning content, evaluation procedure, opportunities and experience that are intended to have educational consequences. The advantages that could happen when curriculum changes are: the improvement of team planning, improvement in teaching strategies and learning activities, the production of leadership skills among teachers, the approval for teacher creativity, the encouragement of stronger student teacher relationship, the increase of teacher parent communication and these changes can also promote communication among team members. (06/08/2010) The disadvantages that could happen when the curriculum changes are: ongoing staff development, which could lead to teachers being absent due to the fact that they must prepare for an examination, frustration with the new schedule, the school is likely to be chaotic due to the fact that teachers need to prepare themselves according to the new schedule and this could result to slow productivity, retention of information, teachers will have to implement new strategies of teaching which interrelate with the new curriculum, need for certification of teachers to teach other subject or grade levels, the concern with academic pacing with teachers not meeting instructional ; objectives mandated by the curriculum and may not cover objectives that provide the base for student to move to the next level of expectation. (06/08/2010). The recent curriculum changes made are as follows: the reduced number of projects for learners, teachers will have less work load to mark, but they will have to give learners class activities, group activity, homework and notes because when a test is set it will be based on activities that took place in the classroom, the discontinued of the Common Task Assessment (CTA) according to my experience regarding CTAs they are not practical, as 75% of the CTA is mainly about something that happened in the past and the remaining 25% it is about something that learners wont be able to use in the future, therefore CTAs from my experience are waste of

time, every subject in each grade will have a single, comprehensive and concise curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement that will provide details on what teachers are ought to teach and assess on a grade-by-grade and subject-by-subject basis this might have a negative impact because some teachers teaches two subjects therefore I think it will be unfair for the to know Assessment Policy Statement for each subject they teach and this could impact their teaching badly as their might be unable to work well under-pressure, the specific aims of each subject, clearly delineated topics to be covered and the required number and the type of assessment per term, this change can result as a positive impact as teachers will have knowledge of which assignment should be covered and by which term should it be covered, the reduced number of learning areas in the Intermediate Phase from eight to six; meaning that in grade four to six, Technology will be combined with Science and Arts and Culture with Life Orientation and Economics and Management Science will be only taught in grade seven, this change has both negative and positive impact on teachers, the negative impact is that teachers who taught EMS in Intermediate Phase will be promoted to go and teach EMS at Senior Phase and this could lead to teachers teaching in a grade that they are not qualified for and the positive impact could be that if technology is combined with science, teachers will teach topics which are relevant to the learners life from those subjects. Other changes include calling all learning areas or programmes, subjects, this change wont have any impact on teachers, from 2011, the language (from 11 official language) chosen by the learner as a language of learning and teaching shall be taught as subject or as a first additional language from grade one to grade three this change has a negative impact because teachers in grade one to three who are only qualified to teach in English might lose their job, to teachers who qualified to teach in any of the 11 official languages and the last change is the weighing of the continuous assessment and the end of the year examination are as follows grade R3; 100% continuous assessment, teachers in these grades have a lot of file work to assess, therefore the challenge that these teachers will be facing is making sure that the learners do they projects, hand them in class, and that the learners work is filed accordingly, grade 4-6; 75% continuous assessment and 25% end of the year exam, challenges that teachers in these grades will be facing is to ensure that the learners understand the importance of them handing in their assignment and projects because they will count 75% of their final mark and that the exam that they will be writing is only going to count less, therefore they need to put more effort in their projects, grade 7-9; 40% continuous assessment and 60% end of the year exam, challenges that teachers in these grades will be facing is that they need to cover every topic in their subject according to the curriculum, because the test will be based on all topics required to be covered before the final exam, therefore teachers must come prepared at all time before presenting the lesson and teachers must ensure that the learners are able to relate to the teaching strategies that teacher will be using, grade 10-12; 25% continuous assessment and 75% end of the year exam challenges teachers in these grades will be facing is that their exams are provincial,

or national, therefore if they cover all topics according to the curriculum, their learners are at high chances of passing the exam, because the exam they will be writing will be based on what the curriculum has required. Therefore each teacher teaching a certain subject at a certain grade will have different impact as to the previous or next level teacher had. ( Motshekga: 2010) The theory of Tyler, Stenhouse and Freire (educational theorist) mentions the key concepts that should be considered when curriculum is implemented or reviewed. According to Tyler (1982), he wanted structure in teaching and learning and argued that there should be a clarity of focus on what you want to teach, how you want to teach and how you want to assess it (Becoming a teacher: pg60), whereas Stenhouse argued that it is important to try out a process, evaluate it and then adapt it (et al: pg61) and Freire argued that teachers and curriculum developers need to make sure that the educational experience can be applied in real life (et al: pg61). These three educational theorists argued some of the key concepts that should be considered whenever a curriculum is implemented, and the Outcome Based Education had some of these concepts, just to mention few, clarity of focus, design down, deliver up, experiential learning and etcetera. Yes one can agree that OBE was going to fail because its implementation was placed on politics, but it had most of the key concepts which a curriculum should have when it is being implemented.

Reference list Eisner, E. (1987). The educational Imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programmes, 2nd edn. London: Collier Macmillan. (Ed) Becoming a Teacher (Chapter4: 54) Fraser, W.J. (1993). Didactics for the undergraduate student: Butterworth. (Ed) Becoming a Teacher (Chapter4: 54) Gerhardt, H.P., Freire, P. (1993). Prospects: The quarterly review of comparative education. (Vol xx111, NO 3/ 4: 439-458). UNIESCO: International Bureau of Education. Paris. (Ed). Becoming a Teacher (Chapter4: 59-61) Stenhouse, L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum Research and Development. London: Heinemann. (Ed). Becoming a Teacher. (Chapter 4: 59-61). Tyler, R.W. (1982). The form of Objectives. California: McCurtchan. (Ed). Becoming a Teacher. (Chapter 4: 59-61)

Web pages Http:// projects/reedsburg/r7.htm1 accessed 06/ August/2010 www.department of accessed 06/August/2010