This paper is on teacher training in the context of educational reform in South Africa. It draws from a study that was carried out to determine the implementation of a new teaching approach, outcomes-based education, by a group of teachers studying by distance. The transition to a post-apartheid democratic government in South Africa (1994) saw numerous changes, particularly in the educational field. These were meant to address the disparities of the apartheid system and help build a society defined by values of equality, increased participation, democracy, redress and equity, which had been denied by the apartheid government. Among the numerous initiatives to improve education was the introduction of a new approach to teaching and learning, outcomes-based education (OBE). This approach was used as a transformational tool in a new South Africa and aimed at equipping learners with the necessary skills, values, and attitudes to take their rightful places in a democratic society.
Undergirded by the notions of mediation and learner-centeredness, OBE introduced a whole new way of looking at teaching and learning, resulting in a change of roles for both teacher and learner. Preceding the introduction of this approach was an array of policy documents that were meant to guide teachers and ensure smooth implementation. Twelve years after its introduction, OBE was scrapped under claims that it was not suitable for the country. This paper specifically examines the space where the teachers met policy. The thesis is that it was difficult to meet policy-makers’ high expectations because representations that teachers had built of their roles were deep-seated and policy directives alone were not sufficient to set off their evolution.
|Keywords:||Outcomes-based Education, Learner Centeredness, Policy, Teaching and Learning, Educational Transformation|
Lecturer, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa