The pastoral role and primary school teachers’ identity in the Western Cape: a multiple case study
Burrows, Michelle Isabel
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After South Africa became a democratic country in 1994, the South African education ministry devised curriculum changes at a national level that would reflect an equal education structure for all South Africans. Curriculum 2005 was implemented in 1998 with the curriculum changes gazetted in the Department of Education’s Revised National Curriculum Statement for Grades R-9 (RNCS) (Schools). South African teachers had to be retrained to implement these curriculum changes. The legislation for teacher education is documented in the Norms and Standards for Educators (NSE) policy document (DoE,2002). This exploratory phenomenological multiple case study explores teacher identity in connection to how primary school teachers view, perceive and implement the Community, Citizenship and Pastoral (CCP) role at three primary schools in the Western Cape education districts. The three schools chosen can be described as suburban advantaged, suburban disadvantaged and urban disadvantaged. The overall aim of this study is to investigate the connection between teacher identity and the views, perceptions and practices of primary school teachers at three schools in the Western Cape in relation to the practical, foundational and reflexive competences of their CCP role.In this multiple case study, qualitative methods are used. The qualitative methods include participant interviews, focus group discussions, unstructured observations and document analyses. Numerical data collected is presented in a quantitative format. An interpretative approach from an insider and outsider perspective has been selected. Terre Blanche,Durrheim & Kelly’s (2006) steps in interpretative data analysis is adopted as well as Max-Neef’s (1991) transdisciplinary approach.This study is informative for a number of stakeholders: teachers, schools, Education Management Development Centres, the Western Cape Education Department and the National Education Department. I report on how teachers see their teacher identity and how this identity impacts on the way teachers view, perceive and approach their CCP role. Some internal and external factors that influence teacher identity include administrative stress, staff dynamics and the results and feedback from learners. The significance of this study lies in the revelation that all teachers, irrespective of their teaching environment or backgrounds, are in need of support. Based on the findings of this investigation I further propose a programme for teacher support that can be encouraged amongst teachers. These recommendations can influence both teacher performance and teacher longevity in schools. Further recommendations are for the extended school community and the synergy that can exist among the various stakeholders in education.