The Framing of Pedagogic Practice
This study was based on a personal need to understand the relationship between theory and practice (praxis) and the normative and empirical variables (hermeneutics) evident in the research, so as to contribute to the body of literature around learner centredness and learners’ experiences of pedagogy. The majority of education policy documents implemented after 1994 in South Africa advocates a learner centred approach to teaching and learning, which is associated with weak framing over the instructional and regulative discourse while the National Curriculum Statements calls for a strongly framed pedagogic discourse. This paradox has significant implications for policy implementation at classroom level.
This study sought to capture and analyse learners’ experiences of Grade 3 teaching by focusing on control and regulation within the pedagogic relationship. Consequently, the research focused on the ‘how’ of pedagogic practice i.e. how do learners experience the transmission of knowledge through the educator’s pedagogic practices? The case study involved non-participant observation to illustrate how different modalities of pedagogic practice provide for acquirers the principles for the production of what counts as legitimate texts.
The study's methodology was based on developing an external language of description derived from Bernstein’s internal language of description. The findings depicted a mixture of pedagogic practices within one school context with one being based on a mixed pedagogic mode and the other on a performance pedagogic mode. The study revealed the possibility of extrapolating findings reliant on interaction with relevant literature around the framing of pedagogic discourse and the data obtained in the study. It makes clear that for learners to acquire the competencies and knowledge laid down in policy documents, the educator would need to make a pedagogic assessment in terms of the level of difficulty of the lesson, concepts and knowledge to be acquired and the differential needs of learners.
Keywords: Learner Centred, Control, Regulation, Framing, Mixed Pedagogic Mode, Performance Pedagogic Mode
Colwyn Deborah Martin
Lecturer, Curriculum Studies, University of the Free State