Teachers’ perspectives on transforming teacher education curriculum for relevance to basic education for sustainable development
The study sought to investigate teachers’ perspectives on how the teacher education curriculum could be transformed to be relevant for basic schooling and contribute to sustainable development. The objective was to understand the views of the university lecturers, teachers in schools and teacher trainees on the relevance of the curriculum offered at a university to the school curriculum.
The school curriculum reform from the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in South Africa (SA) brought about changes in the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and teaching approaches and teachers are obliged to keep up with these changes, understand the PCK and change their teaching approaches to fit the new curriculum. In addition, teacher trainees (university graduates) are expected to teach the same curriculum when allocated to schools for teaching practice. Based on this expectation, I argue that there seems to be an assumption that changes in the school curriculum find their way to the universities and influence the content of teacher education curriculum whereas this may not be the case. The teacher education curriculum does not focus on the content offered in schools but academic content and engages students in theories that would enable them to see the world differently.
A qualitative interpretive approach to generate data through semi-structured interviews from teacher trainees, schoolteachers and university lecturers who were purposively selected was used. The approach was used in order to understand the views of the participants on how the teacher education curriculum could be transformed in order to be relevant to basic schooling. Findings revealed that the teacher education curriculum is not relevant for basic schooling in that teacher trainees are not exposed to the curriculum offered in schools; traditional teaching approaches are still used at the university whereas schools use outcomes-based approaches. As a result, teacher trainees find it difficult to navigate the system. The paper recommends that there is a need to transform the teacher education curriculum so that it becomes relevant and contributes to sustainable development.