Beginner teachers’ experiences of transdisciplinary demands of a school curriculum
This article focuses on the experiences of beginner teachers of the transdisciplinary demands evident in school curricula. A detailed inductive thematic analysis of open-ended interviews with ten beginner teachers from socially diverse South African schools provided rich data on their experiences of these demands. Rapid changes in the South African school curriculum since 1994 are discussed against the backdrop of participants’ real lived experience during their first three years of teaching and are posed as main reason for transdisciplinary demands on beginner teachers. Despite the socio-economic differences between schools, all participants experienced the same cognitive and emotional dissonance during their first years of teaching. All participants’ related experiences of heightened levels of confusion, fear of failure to meet demands of school management teams, frustration of not being able to effectively teach subjects for which they had been trained and concern about the influence of their lack of knowledge in unfamiliar subjects on learners. Drawing on the concept of an ‘ideal’ transdisciplinary approach, this article explores the ways in which transdisciplinary demands within the transitional space of the state of the South African educational system compound challenges faced by beginner teachers. Recommendations for tertiary teacher training programmes are briefly suggested in the conclusion.