The changing dynamics of teacher learning : an exploration of teacher learning through the lens of assessment.
The National Curriculum Statement advocates a shift in focus with regards to the manner in which assessment and learning are conceptualized (Department of Education, 2002). Consequently, new forms of assessment that are in keeping with the principles of the National Curriculum Statement (Department of Education, 2002), are expected to be implemented within the South African classroom context. Set against this backdrop, the study set out to explore teaching learning through the lens of assessment, by focussing on the content, process and application issues associated with teacher learning. This study attempted to unpack what teachers know about assessment and how they have come to acquire this knowledge. It was envisaged that through an analysis of how teachers learn about assessment, this study would reveal valuable insights about how teachers learn, and in this way, bring to the fore additional meaningful insights about the conditions that lead to effective teacher learning. In striving to achieve the outcomes of the research project, this study focused on the interplay between theory and practice to explore the process of teacher learning and how this learning translates into practice, through exploring how teachers’ knowledge of assessment, influenced their classroom assessment practices. The study was a qualitative one, within a case-study design. The use of semi-structured, iterative interviews, document analysis, and observations, formed the instruments used in the study. The thesis unpacked the journey of learning about the new forms of assessment, among three primary school educators, who formed the participants of the study. The findings of the study allude to the notion that teachers learn in a variety of different ways, and through a plethora of learning experiences, making a simplistic, superficial understanding of teacher learning, inadequate. In addition, the study pointed to teacher learning being shaped by a number of factors, indicating the significant influence that a multitude of factors, both internal and external, have over teacher learning. Further, the challenges and issues associated with teacher learning were brought to the fore. The implications of the study suggest that teacher learning is complex and multi-faceted, making it most necessary to adopt a multi-focus approach to teacher learning.
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