How much of what? An analysis of the espoused and enacted mathematics and English curricula for intermediate phase student teachers at five South African universities
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Regulatory bodies such as the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) provide a framework of formal criteria to be addressed by providers of initial teacher education (ITE) but these criteria can be interpreted in many different ways. The Initial Teacher Education Research Project (ITERP) has investigated the preparation of intermediate phase (grades 4 to 6) teachers of mathematics and English at five South African universities, selected as representative of the major ‘types’ of institutions offering ITE. In this article we draw on our analysis of data from this research to describe and discuss the courses in mathematics and English offered by each of the five universities to student teachers specialising in mathematics or English and to ‘non-specialists’. We suggest that while there are examples of excellent curriculum design and implementation, none of the universities in the study is fully addressing the challenges of teaching and learning in diverse intermediate phase classrooms. While acknowledging that answering the question “how much of what?” is particularly complex in teacher education contexts in which some students enter university with an inadequate knowledge base from which to develop content and pedagogic knowledge in a number of disciplines and inter-disciplinary fields, we offer some curriculum suggestions for teacher educators to consider.