An exploration of teachers’ perspectives of teaching agricultural sciences in secondary schools in two districts of KwaZulu-Natal.
Nduku, Nonhlanhla Fortunate.
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This thesis bestows the action research, which involves six teachers who participated in exploring teachers’ perspectives of teaching AGRIS in secondary schools in two districts of KwaZulu-Natal. The agricultural sciences (AGRIS) South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) document stipulates that teachers should base their teaching of AGRIS on capacitating learners with adequate knowledge, skills, and values/attitudes, irrespective of their status. Therefore, the teachers’ responsibility is to ensure that their teaching addresses all three aspects of teaching (knowledge, skills, and values), driven by the prescriptive, communal, and habitual perspectives. Thus, this study explores teachers’ perspectives of teaching agricultural sciences in secondary schools in two districts of KwaZulu-Natal. This research opted for a critical paradigm as well as a qualitative approach. Consequently, reflective activity, one-on-one semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and focus group discussions were employed for data production to ensure the triangulation during the exploration of teachers’ perspectives. Purposive and convenience samplings were utilised in choosing six teachers, as I required teachers with whom I was familiar, and who were available and accessible. The study employed thematic analysis to analyse produced data using inductive and deductive reasoning procedures. Trustworthiness was considered in this study by involving issues of dependability, confirmability, credibility, and transferability. In addition, issues like consent letters, anonymity, withdrawals, beneficence, and others were considered. Moreover, three research questions guided this study, namely: 1. What are the teachers’ perspectives of teaching Agricultural Sciences in schools? 2. How do teachers apply perspectives in teaching Agricultural Sciences in schools? 3. Why do teachers have particular perspectives of teaching Agricultural Sciences in schools? Consequently, the following research objectives informed the research questions and were as follows: 1. Explore teachers’ perspectives of teaching Agricultural Sciences in schools; 2. Understand how teachers apply perspectives in teaching Agricultural Sciences in schools, and 3. Explore the reasons for teachers having particular perspectives of teaching Agricultural Sciences in schools. As a result, the research questions guided the study to review the literature on principles rooted in three perspectives: prescriptive, communal, and habitual. For this reason, the study opted for Cultural, Historical Theory (CHAT), which then yielded to the evolution of new theory. Thus, the theory emerged from this study and combined prescriptive, communal, and habitual perspectives, and called PCHP. The findings showed that not all three perspectives (prescriptive, communal, and habitual) drive teachers when teaching AGRIS in secondary schools. The study confirmed that teachers were teaching under the influence of prescriptive perspective rather than communal and habitual. They based their teaching on stipulated policies, documents, and textbooks to ensure that learners pass examinations. This implies that in South Africa, AGRIS teaching addresses the subject needs rather than teachers and society/learner needs. Consequently, this led to an unbalanced curriculum and had a negative impact on producing globally competent individuals. Therefore, this study recommends the balance AGRIS curriculum grounded by prescriptive, communal, and habitual perspectives. This curriculum will address the subject, society/learner, and teacher needs. In addition, this study recommends various research in AGRIS teaching, including the enactment of indigenous and teacher knowledge in secondary schools.