“The Real and the Ideal”: Teacher Roles and Competences in South African Policy and Practice

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International Journal of Educational Development
olicy-makers have placed great faith in education as a means of transforming and developing South African society. Recent policy documents specify occupational, professional and academic roles and competences for teachers. These documents require a significant shift to “extended” professionalism. Do these roles and competences resonate with current classroom realities and practices? This question was addressed by mapping the practices of “effective” teachers onto research schedules based on the six major roles prescribed by policy. In practice, teachers assumed roles that were more in accord with personal value systems, local cultures, and contexts. Some significant disjunctions at the interface of policy and practice raise serious questions about policy assumptions. “Tissue rejection”, a not unlikely possibility, would jeopardise the curriculum edifice upon which transformation and development depend. Worse, historically unequal schools could become more so.
Teacher roles; Teacher competences; Teacher development; South Africa
Harley, K., Barasa, F., Bertram, C., Mattson, E., & Pillay, S. (2000). “The real and the ideal”: teacher roles and competences in South African policy and practice. International Journal of Educational Development, 20(4), 287-304.https://doi.org/10.1016/S0738-0593(99)00079-6