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Exploring Life Sciences educators’ enactment of resource-based teaching in three rural secondary schools in South Africa.

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The purpose of the study was to explore Life Sciences educators’ enactment of resource-based teaching. Resource-based teaching refers to the use of teaching and learning resources by educators to mediate the subject curriculum. This study was prompted by the persisting poor performance of Life Sciences learners in the OR Tambo Coastal District and in South Africa at large. To answer the research questions, a qualitative case study was conducted. Six Life Sciences educators from three rural secondary schools in the Eastern Cape were purposively sampled. Two educators were chosen from each school. Data were generated through semi-structured one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, lesson observations and the analysis of documents. The data were later transcribed and analysed to isolate salient themes. The participants understood a resource as a teaching material whereas resource-based teaching was understood as a teaching strategy. It also emerged that Life Sciences educators enacted resource-based teaching through the use of interactive teaching aids, practical work, relevant technology, and resource persons. The participants’ enactment of resource-based teaching was mainly influenced by various factors such as resource availability, the participants’ understanding of resource-based teaching, and technical competence. It is concluded that the participants had a limited understanding of RBT and their enactment of RBT was very basic. Therefore, it is recommended that universities should expose pre-service educators to the use of traditional and unconventional resources, including modern teaching technologies. The researcher further recommends that educators should make use of the readily accessible natural ecosystems in their surroundings to mediate the Life Sciences curriculum and spark learners’ passion for science.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.