Teachers' experiences of implementing the design curriculum in the Umlazi District of KwaZulu-Natal.
Pillay, Krishnagopaul Manickum.
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Outcomes-based education, introduced in 1997, replaced the previous Art syllabi with Visual Arts and Design as separate subjects. Design as a learning area comprises multiple skills, and teachers are expected to employ new methods and terminology in its implementation. The teaching of Design demands creative and problem-solving processes involving problem identification, planning research, innovation, conceptualisation, prototyping and critical reflection. Many of these processes are new to Design educators. An additional handicap was that the Department of Education stopped supplies of art materials to schools. The question that arises is how teachers are implementing the new curriculum, given the changes in both curriculum and regulations. The focus of this study therefore is to explore Grade 12 educators‟ experiences of implementing the Design curriculum and to provide some explanation of the extent to which the objectives of the new curriculum are being achieved. The study is viewed through the analytical lens of Wenger‟s understanding of communities of practice: teachers as a community, sharing their experiences in particular contexts, and facing diverse challenges. A qualitative approach was adopted, with interviews and observations used to gather data. Three schools in KwaZulu-Natal that offer Design became the sites of data collection, interviews being conducted with one at each school. Data were coded, analysed and interpreted, and emerging themes were identified and presented as findings, which were; context of curriculum, Design literacy, continuous professional development, impact of learning materials and teachers‟ creativity and inventiveness.
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