Teachers Curriculum Adaptation and Symbolic Representations of Zimbabweâs Primary School AIDS Curriculum: A Case Study
Planning and lesson delivery are seldom used as a yardstick to determine a teacher’s ability to enact and teach a curriculum, yet the processes are a means to student achievement. Premised on the adaptation Approach to educational change and teacher cognition of a curriculum Approach to educational change, this study considers the teacher’s way of planning of the AIDS curriculum innovation as his or her display of a unique and personal understanding of how it is implemented with learners. As both educators with an interest in curriculum policy implementation and operating in the SADC region where there is a dearth of research based evidence to provide approaches that cultivate teacher agency and thoughtfulness in relation to the implementation of the mandatory HIV/AIDS education curriculum, we decided to investigate how teachers codify this curriculum to produce their own written teaching programs. We felt that how teachers understand, respond to and are faring with and experiencing the implementation of the HIV/AIDS curricula at the lesson planning level, in specific work conditions has seldom been questioned. Set within the hermeutic, interpretivist paradigm, this qualitative case study sought to explore and describe teachers symbolic representations of their actual teaching practices of the mandatory AIDS curriculum depicted in their lesson scheme/planning. The study involved three purposively selected primary school grade six teachers (n=3) from three purposively selected primary schools and employed document analysis and semi-structured interviews. One teacher adapted and codified the AIDS curriculum in a transmission-oriented approach, while two others codified it in closer approximation to the recommended learner-centered approach that celebrates the participatory teaching methods, but superficially. The teachers’ personal subjective interpretations of the curriculum, their lack of knowledge and defective teacher capacitation tended to play out negatively on their scheme/ planning. Recommendations are suggested to provide teachers with knowledge related support towards effective planning of this curriculum.