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Foundation phase teachers’ enactment of curriculum differentiation in a full-service school in the Zululand District.

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The study presents a qualitative action research exploring teachers’ enactment of CAPS curriculum differentiation in one of the full-service schools in Paulpietersburg under Zululand District, KwaZulu-Natal. The main objective of the study was to explore foundation phase teachers’ enactments of curriculum differentiation in a full-service school in the Zululand District. As such, why do foundation phase teachers enact the curriculum differentiation in particular ways in a full-service school in the Zululand District? Also, how do the teachers enact curriculum differentiation in a full-service school in the Zululand District? The study employed emancipatory action research to draw on pragmatic philosophy, which led to new practical knowledge, and new abilities that created knowledge within a pragmatic context. Six teachers were purposefully sampled for the research data collection. Data was generated using focus-group meetings, observations, reflective activities, and semi-structured interviews. The thematic analysis was applied to analyse data using the inductive process to organise data according to the conceptual framework: curriculum content, teacher’s use of CAPS, lesson objectives, enactment methods, teaching strategies, teachers’ role, learning and teaching support material (LTSM), lesson duration, teaching and learning environment, assessment tasks, as well as reflection and enrichment on activities. Literature explored three types of curriculum enactment influenced by a performance (content-based) curriculum, a competence (social-based) curriculum, and a differentiated (personal-based) curriculum. The research study findings on the teachers’ curriculum enactment revealed that teachers’ enactment of the curriculum was dominated by performance curriculum principles. As such, teachers and learners were frustrated by the level of underachievement in the prescribed objectives due to a lack of understanding and knowledge of the curriculum differentiation implementation. However, the teacher’s enactment of the differentiated curriculum was improved during the second phase of the action research. Additionally, the teachers were able to trust and apply their differentiation strategies to achieve the CAPS-prescribed objectives. Nevertheless, the quality and volume of content achieved within the stipulated time raised concerns. The different enactment methods also postulated doubts in terms of meeting each learner at the point of their educational needs, taking into consideration the size of the classrooms. The study recommends that teachers be more developed in curriculum differentiation enactment to interconnect the performance curriculum with a competence-based curriculum, thereby designing and applying the differentiated curriculum in class. The study further encouraged teachers to use different strategies to foster the curriculum without tampering with the prescribed content and skills.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.