Exploring Grade 9 Natural Sciences teachers' pedagogical content knowledge of electricity in Moses Kotane Area Office, North West Province
Poti, Joyce Godisamang
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The purpose of this study was to explore Grade 9 Natural Science teachers’ PCK of the topic -Electricity. It looked at teachers’ orientations to science teaching, their Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) and Topic Specific Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TSPCK) and implementation of Grade 9 Natural Sciences (NS) CAPS curriculum. The study employed an interpretive, qualitative, multiple case study to generate data. Data were collected by means of workshops, classroom observations and semi-structured interviews. An intervention was conducted with the hope of strengthening the teachers’ PCK of the topic - Electricity. Qualitative data were inductively analysed using the IMTPG model and components of PCK. Two professional development workshops were conducted and the objectives were: to ensure that teachers are able to explain and demonstrate an understanding of basic Electricity concepts; to be able to use appropriate and relevant methods to teach basic electricity concepts; to acquire knowledge on conducting practical experiments on electrical circuits and how to employ various teaching and assessment strategies on the topic - Electricity. The workshops focused on important content and attended to the context that supports and guides teacher learning. The study revealed that teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, knowledge of science curriculum and topic-specific content improved during the intervention workshops. An interesting finding of this study is that teachers’ knowledge of instructional strategies and approaches as well as tools to use in teaching was enhanced during the workshops as professional development interventions. With regards to teachers’ content knowledge and beliefs, the findings of this study revealed that teachers displayed meaningful patterns of information on their goals for science teaching. It was also found that teachers’ pedagogical orientations are influenced by learners’ practices and behaviour. From the study, it emerged that collaboration is important in supporting teacher growth. The teachers reinforced, expanded, and challenged their notions about teaching science and their PCK. The teachers’ interaction during the intervention showed that they enjoyed focusing on content knowledge and instruction, and there was an improvement in certain areas of their pedagogical content knowledge. Based on the aforementioned findings , this study recommends that teachers be taken through interventions for professional development programmes at the beginning of each term to enhance their pedagogical content knowledge. These interventions should be well planned and allocated enough time to run. The study also recommends that teachers should be provided with resources to teach science, especially laboratory equipment since the subject is a practical nature. It is easier for teachers to address learners’ misconceptions by performing experiments which contradicts their prior knowledge. The study further recommends that teachers’ orientations to science teaching and content knowledge be taken into consideration when developing the curriculum as well as professional development programmes. This was found to be a challenge since teachers rush to cover the Annual Teaching Plan (ATP) hence classrooms activities are teacher- orientated. For future research, this study proposes that an investigation into factors contributing to poor learner performance besides teachers PCK be explored. More studies should be conducted in order to curb this challenge and ensure that South Africa has adequately prepared and knowledgeable future scientists. It will be also interesting to find out what the results could be if the study was conducted with a larger sample across all the districts.
- Education