The Impact of Using Geography Open Education Resources (OER) to Capacitate Natural Science Teachers Teaching the Earth and Beyond Strand in South African Schools

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J.M. Dreyer

Abstract

In 1994 South African curriculum developers decided to include aspects of Physical Geography in the Natural Science Intermediate and Senior Phase curriculum as a strand named Earth and Beyond. One of the complicating factors was that most in-service teachers that had to teach this strand had no training in post-school Geography or even worse, might not have taken Geography in the last three years of schooling. Research was undertaken to determine how the gaps in Geography knowledge, skills, resources and teaching skills amongst Natural Science teachers, with special reference to the Earth and Beyond strand in Natural Science teaching, could be overcome. A baseline survey was conducted and initial school visits were undertaken to determine what the situation was regarding the teaching of the Earth and Beyond strand in schools in a mostly poor rural school district in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Findings indicated that none of the Natural Science teachers visited, had any post-school training in Geography. Classroom observations indicate that more than 90% of the teachers use only direct instruction when teaching the Earth and Beyond strand; they use only textbooks and less than 10% of classrooms have even the basic resources like a globe or an updated map. An intervention strategy aided by the use of needs driven purposefully designed Open Education Resources (OER) was undertaken and a pre- and post-test were written to determine the impact of the intervention. This was followed up by personal interviews and follow-up school visits to determine the possible sustainability of the impact in practice. Findings indicate that the intervention had a significant immediate impact and that some of that was sustained in practice because of the use of Open Education Resources (OER).

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How to Cite
Dreyer, J. (2018). The Impact of Using Geography Open Education Resources (OER) to Capacitate Natural Science Teachers Teaching the Earth and Beyond Strand in South African Schools. Alternation Journal, (21), 159-184. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/soa/article/view/1263
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Articles
Author Biography

J.M. Dreyer, University of South Africa