EXPLORING MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS’ KNOWLEDGE IN SOUTH AFRICA: A CASE OF THE BED (FET) QUALIFICATION

R.W. Thabane

Central University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
Teacher knowledge in mathematics and science education is made critical by the ongoing poor performance of learners in these subjects in South African high schools. This study examined the teacher knowledge in mathematics and science in the curriculum of Bachelor of Education in Further Education and Training (BEd FET) qualification in South Africa. It is foregrounded on interpretive paradigm. Semi-structured interviews, literature review, and document analysis were used to collect data. Purposive sampling was used to select participants for this study. Seven lecturers from five universities and six teachers from six high schools participated. Data was analyzed using the thematic data analysis process. Findings indicated that knowledge has been compromised in the BEd (FET) curriculum as most lecturers and teachers regarded only content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge as the essential knowledge types for teaching mathematics and science. Few participants recognized Pedagogical Content Knowledge as also critical in teaching these subjects effectively. Findings further indicated a variation on the extent to which theoretical/conceptual knowledge gained at university is navigated into classroom teaching.