The implications for classroom practice of the outcomes-based education model for teaching and learning : an evaluation of modes of implementation in KwaZulu-Natal schools.
With the advent of political and social democracy in South Africa in 1994 came the need to restructure education so that it would reflect the new mulitcultural democracy, redress the inequalities of the past and ensure future social justice. South African society, after apartheid, had to be re-formed, in the sense of being formed anew; and it had to be re-constructed, in the sense of being built again. The classroom was perceived to be one of the critical sites in which this change could be effected and outcomes-based education (OBE) is the optimum educational instrument through which to initiate change. At the heart of OBE lies learner-centredness'which entails experiential learning in a physical and metaphysical world viewed as a set of interlocking (mutually dependant) systems. OBE focuses on a subjective being in the world and a subjective becoming in the world. It is because OBE is centred on process rather than product that outcomes are specified as the learning assessment instrument. It is for all the above reasons that the new South African national curriculum was based on OBE. The primary aims of the curriculum are to achieve educational equality across racial groups and, secondly, to develop cultural competence amongst South Africa's previously legislatively divided peoples so that a new nation, united in its diversity, can evolve. This dissertation examines the successes and failures of the implementation of OBE, in the form of the South African National Curriculum Statement (NCS), in the teaching of French as a Second Additional Language. For educational policy to be implemented and the vision of transformation realised, teachers need to translate curriculum principles into pedagogic practices. The implications of the new national curriculum and of the OBE model for the teaching of French are enormous. Learning French, a language which has both its own African identity and is a language of the world, encourages an understanding of other languages and cultures, promotes tolerance of diversity, develops critical thinking and prepares learners for a multicultural society. In these ways the learning of French has the potential of furthering the fundamental aims of the NCS. OBE, as an educational model, can optimise the teaching of a foreign language such as French and thus increase the potential of French learning to further the broad aims of the NCS. There is thus a reciprocity between learning French and the desired outcomes of the NCS, and the conduit is the OBE methodology. , OBE facilitates the teaching and learning of a foreign language such as French as it allows for the creation of a language learning (be it artificial) environment through the use of real-life situations and centres learning in the socio-cultural context of the learners. OBE links classroom exercises to the real world by sourcing learners' realities as contexts of learning and teaching and by making learning a productive learner experience. Classroom activities are thus relevant to a subjective rather than to an externally perceived objective real world. The broad aim of my study is to evaluate how and to what extent OBE has been implemented in French classrooms. The study also describes and evaluates examples of successful OBE implementation. Research was undertaken in KwaZulu-Natal and the focus of the study was Grade 8 to Grade 12 French teaching and learning situations. My research has shown uneven application of OBE in "French" classrooms, but there are clear signs of creative and innovative learning facilitation which promises much for other "foreign" language learning and teaching and for the broader, nation-building aims of South African educational policy.