A strategy to improve professional curriculum practice in a Grade R mathematics class
Baloyi-Mothibeli, Seipati Lydia
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The aim of the study was to design a strategy to improve professional curriculum practice in a Grade R mathematics class. In order to achieve this aim, the following objectives were highlighted throughout the study: to demonstrate and validate the need to design a proposed strategy, to identify the components necessary for the successful implementation, to explore a conducive environment for the success of the strategy, to anticipate possible threats that may hinder the successful implementation of the strategy, as well as to monitor evidence that the strategy was successful. Grade R teachers are expected to engage with professional curriculum practice, thus, to improve the performance of learners in mathematics classes. However, they are inadequately qualified, and there is a shortage of teaching and learning resources. Additionally, there is insufficient parental involvement in the education of their children, lack of support from education authorities, and inadequate language of teaching and learning in Grade R mathematics classes. Bricolage as theoretical framework underpinned the study was employed. The theory enabled us as a team to use whatever material was available in the particular context to recreate the new processes and artefacts necessary to achieve a transformational and emancipatory agenda. As a researcher, I realised that I did not have the expertise necessary to design a proposed strategy alone. Therefore, participatory action research (PAR) was employed to generate data. This approach was used because it observes participants as humans, not as objects and aims at improving the lives of people, so that they can fit in and contribute to the education community. During the PAR process, data was gathered from consultative meetings, discussions, audio, audio-visual, photovoice and transect-walk, recordings, and reflections. Critical discourse analysis was used to analyse the generated data, through text and spoken words, social structure and discursive practices, in order to show how power, domination and control can be applied and be resisted in daily communication. Among the findings are that Grade R teachers seem to be helpless, as their understanding of mathematics is limited, and they are unable to engage with professional curriculum practice in a Grade R mathematics class due to inadequate qualifications. Finally, the main recommendation is for further research is to answer the following question: Why is Grade R class, as the essential year of early childhood development, is it not part of the bigger picture of when coming to curriculum planning and design?