Perceptions of science as determinants of the received curriculum in science, in black schools, in the Umlazi area.
Sibisi, Benedict Eric Thandinkosi.
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The value of teachers' perceptions of science is noted, given that teachers play an active part in implementing curricula. The possibility that teacher's perceptions of science may be different from the image of science portrayed in the official curriculum is considered. Given that during the apartheid era, education was dominated both politically and culturally by one group, objections to the ideological-cultural dimension of the official curriculum were expected. An exposition of the philosophical basis for science teaching and curriculum development is attempted. A process model of curriculum is adopted as it is seen as more effective in portraying the political context of curriculum practice. It is argued that both curriculum practice and the notion of being "scientific" are not objective but depend on the dominant culture. Therefore, there is a need to be open-minded and eclectic about the notion of being "scientific". An attempt is made to identify teachers ' perceptions rather than test the teachers' perceptions against a given norm. In this context a qualitative approach is attempted in identifying teachers perceptions of science by using unstructured and open-ended interviews. A content analysis of the overarching philosophical view in prescribed books and syllabus documents is attempted. Findings are that , broadly speaking teachers perceptions of science were not dissimilar from those in the official curriculum when the study was conducted. In making recommendations for curriculum development it is noted that teachers views need to be accommodated. However including teachers in curriculum development should go hand in hand with workshops to raise teachers awareness o f the issues involved. It is also argued that there is a need f or separate curricula for those who go on to be scientists as well as those who need science for their general education.