Exploration of use of the science resource centre by physical sciences teachers.
Science Resource Centres (SRCs) were initiated by an educational non-governmental organisation in various districts of the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. These SRCs were intended to assist with professional development of Physical Sciences and Mathematics teachers, and to assist the under-resourced schools of KwaZulu-Natal with science resources, including Physical Sciences experiment kits, physics and chemistry apparatus and other educational resources. Science resources encompassed specialists, objects, policies and facilities to enhance the teaching of Physical Sciences. These science resources were usually coupled with professional development programmes that addressed content knowledge and effective use of science equipment through workshops on specific science topics and classroom support to teachers. Workshops were funded by the SRCs, and the focus was on physics and chemistry topics that teachers found challenging to teach. This study explored the use of the SRC by Physical Sciences teachers of the Empangeni education district in KwaZulu-Natal, and also aimed to determine whether the SRC was serving its intended purpose. In gathering data this qualitative study utilised individual interviews with Physical Sciences teachers whose schools were affiliated to the SRC. Document analysis produced data with regard to the frequency of loaning of science equipment by Physical Sciences teachers. The findings of this study revealed that the level of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) development of Physical Sciences teachers was one of the key factors that influenced the use of science resources in science teaching. This emerged through an analysis of teachers’ PCK, specifically using the frames of Content Representations (CoRes) and Pedagogical and Professional experience Repertoires (PaP-eRs). Lack of support from school management, lack of funding for affiliation and shortage of resources at the SRC were some of the factors that had an impact on use of the SRC by Physical Sciences teachers.