Teachers’ experiences with an adapted IGCSE physics syllabus in Botswana
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This paper focuses on teachers’ experiences with implementing a modified International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) physics syllabus in Botswana. The syllabus, characterised by a new organisational and pedagogic paradigm, is a significant shift from the traditional ‘‘teacher-proof’’ syllabus to one that is flexible, nonprescriptive and student-centred. Through data from discussions and interviews with teachers, it emerged that policy statements on the nature of the syllabus were contradictory and confusing to guide both the adoption and implementation of the syllabus. It also emerged that teachers accorded the core curriculum component of the syllabus a lower priority and status than the extended curriculum component. The findings also reveal that considerable overlaps in the core and extended curriculum components of the syllabus blurred the distinction between the two as well as weakening prospect of fidelity of adoption and implementation. The resulting ‘innovation gap’ invariably means that the ideals of the syllabus and the associated paradigm shifts are possibly not realised in teaching in Botswana. The findings generally underscore the importance of clear guidance and policy statements on any new syllabus, and indeed, a new curriculum. Possible directions in future research would be to investigate innovation gaps that might be manifest in teaching.