Teachers’ levels of use of practical work in the Physical sciences curriculum
Abstract: Curriculum reform relies, in part, on how the implementers respond to the new guidelines and/or prescriptions at local level. The introduction of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in South Africa was meant to improve, inter alia, the quality of Science teaching in schools by introducing guidelines on laboratory experimental work for certain content topics. The purpose of this multiple-case study of four high school Science teachers was to determine their levels of use (LoUs) of the prescribed guidelines. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was used as theoretical framework. Results show that participants’ LoUs were mainly at the mechanical and routine-use levels, whereas the refinement level higher up appeared less. In other words, whereas participants managed to introduce experiments in their lessons, their instructional approaches are still not aligned with CAPS guidelines. The study recommends more hands-on professional development in practical work for Science teachers.