Educational journeys of foundation phase teachers in the context of curriculum change.
This thesis presents an understanding of the experiences and negotiation of curriculum changes by Foundation Phase Teachers in three urban primary schools in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. In documenting the stories of three Foundation Phase teachers lived experiences of the various curriculum changes, I was able to get glimpses into their personal- professional lives. The study is located within the qualitative mode of inquiry in the interpretivist paradigm and the Narrative Inquiry method was used to help me understand and interpret the experiences and development of Foundation Phase teachers in the context of curriculum change. In the absence of support strategies and processes by the externally driven professional development programmes to support teachers emotionally and psychologically, I used Dale and James’ (2013) discussion on “affective containment” to understand Foundation Phase teachers’ emotional and psychological tensions in educational reform. Illeris (2009) is used to understand how the containment of Foundation Phase teachers’ feelings, moods and tensions during the change process is necessary for providing the incentive for learning and effective functioning of teachers. I used Bell and Gilbert’s Model on Teacher Development to understand how learning happened for Foundation Phase teachers on the personal, social and professional levels. The study contributes to our understanding of how the lack of containment of feelings on the personal levels may have led to tensions, anxiety and stress for Foundation Phase teachers. This study also reflects on teacher training and development which may not have considered the emotions and feelings of teachers in the change process. New curriculum changes created a need for Foundation Phase teachers to re-professionalise and reskill themselves to enable them to implement the reforms in their classrooms. However, the findings revealed that the cascade model actually led to the de-professionalisation of teachers which demotivated and frustrated them. Personal and professional learning experiences of Foundation Phase teachers are built on commitment and reflection of their professional practices through self-initiated learning within contextualised communities of practice.