Teachers’ concerns about the implementation of the new curriculum in Lesotho
Tafai, Mapapali Gladys
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The Lesotho government has recently developed and published an inclusive curriculum and assessment policy as an approach to reducing the unconstructive pressure of examinations on the education system. The policy integrates curriculum with assessment. Some studies on curriculum implementation in Lesotho have shown that although the government made efforts to supply some of the teaching and learning materials to the primary schools, these have been either inadequate or unresponsive to the local priorities and needs of the schools. Thus, teachers are likely to struggle with the implementation of this newly proposed curriculum. The purpose of this study was to explore Lesotho primary school teachers’ concerns regarding the adoption of the integrated curriculum in Lesotho. Teachers are likely to have different concerns about any kind of change to their classroom practice. Their concerns can also be expected to differ based on such factors as the demographic characteristics, educational level and experience. The teachers’ feelings and motivations concerning the newly introduced school curriculum in Lesotho shaped the level of implementation observed in the present study. This study used the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) as its conceptual framework. CBAM is an analytic instrument that focuses on how people, such as teachers inter alia respond to change. CBAM indentifies the seven stages of concern through which teachers could be involved as they collaborate in the implementation of new innovations as; awareness, information, personal concerns, management, consequences, collaboration and refocusing. The stages of concern questionnaire (SoCQ) as part of CBAM was employed to explore the stages of concern of the primary school teachers in Lesotho concerning the implementation of the integrated curriculum, their patterns and variations. SoCQ consists of 35 items selected to represent the different types of concerns that teachers have as they are first introduced to an educational innovation. Teachers respond on a 7-point Likert-type scale. The findings are reported in two articles that address different research questions. The first article describes the various dimensions of the concerns and their extent within a sample of primary school teachers. The second article describes how these concerns align with the teachers’ characteristics such as teaching experience, educational qualification, gender, age, integrated curriculum experience and training. It also presents the relative strength of each factor on teachers’ concerns regarding the integrated curriculum. The first set of findings suggests that primary school teachers in Lesotho are aware of the integrated curriculum although they need more information on its implications for their practice. However, their concerns are strongest on the issues of collaboration (P= 80), refocusing (P= 79) and personal adequacy (P=72).This is an indication that primary school teachers are working in cooperation with each other regarding the best practice for the implementation of the integrated curriculum. The second set of findings suggest that the female teachers were mostly focused on informational (M=18.16, SD=6.09), collaboration (M=28.37, SD=5.25), and refocusing stages (M=28.44, SD 4.95) than their male counterparts, whose major concerns were more at the awareness stage (M = 23.38, SD =.6.20) compared to females (M =22.93, SD = 6.66). It was also observed that the older teachers were less concerned at the informational stage and more at the collaboration stage as they do not want to move from their comfort zones. The first findings indicated a high percentile score at collaboration (P = 80), refocusing (P = 79) and personal adequacy (P =72).The high percentiles means indicted the high concerns of the primary school teachers. The paper concludes that the primary school teachers have responded positively to the process of new curriculum implementation. There is a need however to conduct further research that involve larger samples from different schools, and possibly from diverse contexts to further explore the findings of the present study. The second set of findings suggest that female teachers show more concerns at the informational, collaboration and refocusing stages of concerns as compared to the male teachers who showed more concern at the awareness stage. This means that gender may play a vital role in the success or failure of innovation at schools. The study concludes that there is positive relationship between teachers’ concerns and demographics though the male teachers seem to have little knowledge regarding integrated curriculum. The study suggests that more follow up workshops and monitoring sessions are needed to improve the implantation of the new integrated curriculum in Lesotho. Again, the findings indicated that age contribute to the manner at which primary school teachers adopt the integrated curriculum. It is suggested therefore that the training sessions and follow up workshops should consider the specific needs of individual teachers based on their different age groups for example.
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