, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 415-431
Date: 06 Oct 2012

Comparing teachers’ non-teaching roles in curriculum reforms from an organization studies perspective: Cases from Botswana and South Africa

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Abstract

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the academic aims of curriculum reforms and the teaching roles related to them are similar, but non-teaching roles are likely to vary across countries. Taking an organization studies perspective, this article compares teachers’ roles in reform along the Botswana-South Africa border. Though these teachers share language and culture, they have divergent socio-political histories. The study draws on multiple data sources from schools during the 2009 school year. Teachers on both sides of the border face tensions over the time they spend teaching and engaged in non-teaching activities, like administrative meetings. But differences emerged, given the teachers’ distinctively different histories. Under apartheid, the South African teachers experienced fragmented organizational structures; they now have roles in multiple organizations, and reported more expansive and time-consuming non-teaching roles, including union participation. These roles were associated with lower curriculum coverage than was expected, with potentially negative implications for student achievement. To achieve curriculum reform aims, policymakers must carefully consider balancing teachers’ teaching and non-teaching roles.