n Education as Change - Knowledge, pedagogy and assessment in the old and new Further Education and Training History curriculum documents

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History in a school curriculum is often and understandably used by government education authorities to present and promote a particular worldview. History curriculum documents in South African have long come under fire for being content-heavy and having a Eurocentric bias. How has the new Further Education and Training (FET) History curriculum dealt with these and other issues regarding knowledge, pedagogy and assessment? This paper compares the 'old' Interim Core Syllabus for History Standards 8 - 10 (1996) with the new National Curriculum Statement (NCS) for History Grades 10 -12 (2003). The tools of analysis which are used are Bernstein's concepts of classification and framing (to analyse knowledge and pedagogy respectively) and Bloom's Revised taxonomy to analyse the cognitive levels of the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Standards. The analysis shows that the NCS presents knowledge in a more integrated way than the ICS, and that the knowledge is framed using key questions. The knowledge is structured using key historical themes such as power alignments, human rights, issues of civil society and globalization. In terms of pedagogy, there is a shift from a theory of instruction focused on the teacher to one more focused on the learner. There is a strong emphasis in the NCS on developing the historical skills of enquiry. Assessment standards show that there is a strong emphasis on conceptual rather than factual knowledge, with an emphasis on the cognitive skills of understanding and analyzing. The paper concludes with some possible implications the new curriculum might have for teachers.


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