A knowledge analysis of grade 12 geography textbooks used in South African schools.
Ngubeni, Thokozani Derrick.
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Textbooks play an integral role in every teaching and learning process and they are the most essential tools used to transmit knowledge, skills and values to the learners. The purpose of this study was to examine if there is any change in knowledge representation and cognitive demands in the old curriculum and new curriculum grade 12 Geography textbooks. The study was informed by Bernstein’s concept of knowledge structures. The data were chapters from four grade 12 Geography textbooks. It employs a quantitative document analysis and an adapted analytical tool from Green and Naidoo (2008) was used to analyse data. The findings show that all the four texts contain more formal knowledge and more geographical images and definitions rather than everyday knowledge. The study also shows a noticeable change in the new curriculum textbooks regarding the number of tasks and questions used as a form of assessment. The new texts have a number of tasks and more questions in each task given but they show a minimal change in terms of cognitive levels, since across all the sampled textbooks most questions require understanding of factual knowledge. There are only few questions that engage learners in the other higher cognitive levels of reasoning other than understanding. In the old curriculum texts there is more geographic content and subject specific images whereas in the new curriculum texts there is less content and more space is taken by assessment tasks and images. The study concludes that in terms of content knowledge there is no substantial change in the new textbooks. There is little integration in terms of knowledge within the subject, between geography and other subjects, and between subject knowledge and everyday knowledge. There is some change in the kinds of knowledge assessed in the tasks.