The Teacher's "voice" in Curriculum Development: A View from a South African Context

Prof. Arend Carl
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Education in South Africa is facing great curriculum-related challenges. Teachers are principal role-players in the process of meeting these challenges. The questions remain whether they do indeed participate fully, or are even allowed to participate in the process, and if they do participate, what is the nature of their involvement?

Within the present context and development in which stringent demands are made on teachers, and change in the educational arena has not yet stabilised, it is imperative that there should be dialogue about what is expected of teachers when it is suggested that they should be "more involved in curriculum development" or rather that their "voice" must be accommodated. In this paper a theoretical underpinning is provided for the concept teacher involvement in curriculum development. The theoretical underpinning will be based on the most recent literature regarding the role and function of the teacher in curriculum development.

It is however necessary to investigate to what extent this phenomenon of teacher involvement are actually accommodated in actual practice. In the second section of the paper the focus will be on data generated during a recent research project in a South African context regarding teacher involvement in current curriculum changes. This data will highlight teachers' perceptions and the nature of their involvement. In the final instance it provides evidence on the actual involvement and to what extent teachers' "voices" are indeed accommodated and included when curriculum decisions are made.

It can only be concluded that what one finds in the literature and what happens in the curriculum practice, are often worlds apart and that the "voice" of the teacher is to a large extent ignored or not heard. And this will have a major impact on the effectiveness of learning!

Keywords: Curriculum, Curriculum Development, Teacher Involvement, "Voice" of the Teacher, Optimising Learning
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Arend Carl

Professor in Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Stellenbosch, Department of Curriculum Studies
South Africa

52 years old, married and has two children (23 and 26. I stay in Durbanville, a suburb 25 km north of Cape Town. PhD in Curriculum Studies in 1986 My research focus is teacher involvement in curriculum development and on how to optimise the "voice" of the teacher. My other research interests are Social Studies and Peace Education, as well as professional development of teachers. I have published several articles in this field, as well as one book "Teacher empowerment through curriculum development: Theory into Practice" (2002, 2nd edition. I have presented a number of papers at both national and international conferences and have made seven overseas study visits. I am currently involved in teacher training at both graduate and post-graduate level.

Ref: L05P0886