Original Research

Teaching natural science in the foundation phase: Teachers’ understanding of the natural science curriculum

Angela James
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 1 | a22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i1.22 | © 2012 Angela James | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 01 July 2012

About the author(s)

Angela James, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

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This study explores foundation phase teachers’ understanding of the natural science curriculum within the life skills learning programme. The theoretical framework for this study is entrenched in the relationship between the intended and the implemented curriculum. The Zone of Feasible Innovation (ZFI) is the proposed theory of implementation and states that implementation of the intended curriculum is very difficult if teachers do not have the capacity to implement it. The study seeks to determine where teachers are operating within their ZFI. Data was collected through questionnaires, interviews as well as a rating scale for teachers. The findings show that teachers are confident to teach content that they have been teaching for a long time, but are reluctant to introduce new science topics or new methods of instruction. This reluctance impacts on their ability to implement new innovations in science teaching. However, there are signs that their ZFI has progressed to include certain new practices.


curriculum implementation; capacity to innovate; profile of implementation and zone of feasible innovation


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