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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674

Abstract

JAMES, Angela A.; BENI, Saritha  and  STEARS, Michele. Teaching science in the foundation phase: Where are the gaps and how are they accounted for?. SAJCE [online]. 2019, vol.9, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2223-7682.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.759.

BACKGROUND: Foundation phase teachers are not science specialists; however, they are expected to teach science. It is important that research determines where teachers face challenges in teaching science in order to assist them to bridge the gaps and to improve their competence in teaching scienceAIM: The aim of this research was to explore teachers' implementation of the science curriculumSETTING: The research was conducted in a primary school in a province of South Africa. Four foundation phase teachers participated in the studyMETHODS: This interpretative, qualitative study used classroom observation, learners' workbooks and post-observation interviews to develop an understanding of teachers' science knowledge, their facilitation of hands-on science investigations as well as the nature of their interaction with learners in the science classroomRESULTS: The findings revealed that teachers were not competent in teaching science and when rated according to their profiles of curriculum implementation all four were allocated low scores. However, in-depth observations revealed that while teachers generally had poor science knowledge, they were competent in engaging learners through questions and activities. This pedagogic knowledge could have translated into pedagogic content knowledge should the teachers have attempted to spend more time preparing their science lessons to ensure that they mastered the necessary science content and science knowledge, as well as appropriate methodologies to teach scienceCONCLUSION: Science education should be in the foreground in the foundation phase curriculum to encourage teachers to teach science as an integral part of the curriculum

Keywords : classroom interaction; hands-on science; implementation; science curriculum; science knowledge.

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