Comparative analysis of representations in natural sciences textbooks and senior phase curriculum and assessment policy statement

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Mofolo, Serapelo Boipelo Oreeditse
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University of the Free State
Textbooks are known to be primary resources for teaching and learning in most classrooms. Many inexperienced teachers rely on textbooks for content, lesson planning and guidance when teaching natural sciences. Several studies have been conducted globally over the years regarding representations in natural sciences textbooks and national curriculum documents. In studies on natural sciences textbooks, multiple representations of matter and materials in natural sciences textbooks have been found to be particularly challenging, more so for Grade 9 learners in South Africa. This study sought to explore verbal and visual representations of matter and materials on multiple levels of chemistry representation in Grade 9 natural sciences textbooks when compared to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). By employing an exploratory research design through a deductive qualitative approach, a comparison was made between each of three preferred Grade 9 natural sciences textbooks and the senior phase CAPS document. Nonprobability sampling was employed through purposive sampling of data sources (textbooks and CAPS). Primary data collected from the three textbooks and the CAPS document were analysed using Yin’s analysis framework stages. The findings revealed that all three natural sciences textbooks had limitations in representing the CAPS document. Most limitations were found in visual representations on the sub-microscopic level than in verbal and verbal-and-visual representations on the macroscopic and symbolic levels, respectively. The conclusion was that preferred textbooks have limitations, which may negatively impact the performance of natural sciences leaners taught by novice teachers that are dependent on the textbook.
Dissertation (M.Ed. (Curriculum Studies))--University of the Free State, 2021, Natural sciences, Limitations in textbooks, Multiple representations, Poor performance and verbal and visual representations, Text books for natural sciences, Limitations in textbooks - poor performance