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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Defining characteristics of a new elementary science curriculum : variance among developers, teachers and practices in classrooms Chakagondua, Jimmy Godwill


New elementary science programmes have often been noticed to fail at the stage of implementation. It was hypothesized that part of such failures stemmed from discrepancies which existed between the developers and teachers in their perceptions of the new programmes. The purpose of this study was to determine the developers' and teachers' perceptions of a new elementary science programme; to examine agreements and disagreements in their perceptions; and to determine any congruencies or discrepancies between their perceptions and actual classroom practices. The above was done by determining the viewpoints of the developers and teachers in terms of what they perceived the defining characteristics of the new and established programmes to be. These viewpoints were determined and examined for agreements and disagreements through the various Q-techniques. The second part of the study utilized a classroom analysis instrument derived from the respondents' viewpoints that were congruent with the initial description of the programmes. The results of the study showed that there were no distinctive developers' or teachers' viewpoints, but that most of the respondents had similar viewpoints concerning the new programme. A small group of teacher-users held a distinctive viewpoint of the established programme, while the other viewpoints of the programme were vague. The classroom data analysis revealed that the new programme showed a higher congruency between perceptions and performances than did the established programme. A few teachers were classified as non-implementers because they displayed an equal and insufficient number of distinctive characteristics for both programmes. Some of the possible factors which influenced teachers' perceptions or performances included administrative support of the new programme, the teachers' experiences with the established programme, inadequate teacher preparation for implementation and lack of clarification of the role of the new programme in elementary science in that school district.

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