Does the cascade model work for teachers? : an exploration of teachers' experiences on training and development through the cascade model.
Shezi, Victor Sibusiso.
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This study sought to understand what training and development the teachers experienced through the cascade model. In asking the question, “Does the cascade model work for teachers?” I produced data through the exploration of the experiences of teachers, whose training for the implementation of the Integrated Quality Management System at schools was through the cascade model. The critical questions posed in the study were, firstly, what are the building blocks that constitute the cascade model? Secondly, how did the School Training Teams experience their training and development on the cascade model, based on the core guiding principles? Thirdly, what are the experiences of teachers at school level, on their training and development by School Training Teams for the implementation of IQMS? Using Zeichner’s paradigms of teacher development (1993) as the theoretical lens through which to understand how training and development was experienced through the cascade model, I read and interpreted the workings of the model in terms of the four paradigmatic positionings – Traditional-craft, behaviorist, personalistic and inquiry oriented perspectives. Using a descriptive qualitative approach, I accessed three high schools in the Port Shepstone District to participate in this study. The data sources used to produce the data included the IQMS Provincial Training Manual (used by the provincial facilitators for the training of School Training Teams); individual semi-structured interviews of the Provincial IQMS facilitators; interviews of the School Training Team members who were responsible for cascading IQMS to teachers at school level, and survey questionnaires to teachers of the schools that participated in this study. The findings of the study show that the process of teacher development through the cascade model has not only resulted in the teachers engaging in ‘strategic simulation’ about change and ‘intensification’ of the work they do, but has to a greater extent, also led to teacher de-professionalization. Although ‘disruption’ was unearthed in the middle tiers of the cascade, by and large, the intent of change at both levels, bureaucratic and school, was tactical and strategically simulated. I conclude that the continued employment of the cascade as the model for teacher development and training perpetuates a technicist approach of what it means to be a teacher and reduces teachers work to a de-intellectualising practice.