Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 238

Full Length Research Paper

Teacher learning in the context of curriculum reform

Sylvia Madusise
  • Sylvia Madusise
  • Department of Teacher Development, Robert Mugabe School of Education and Culture, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo- Zimbabwe.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 24 July 2019
  •  Published: 31 July 2019


International studies on teacher learning communities (TLCs) emphasise that TLCs that are formed within the school context are powerful to help teachers improve their teaching practices. This paper presents a qualitative case study that analyses teacher-learning activities in a school-based professional learning community (PLC). The PLC aimed at staff developing teachers on how to connect mathematics education to cultural activities in the context of curriculum reform. Three middle school mathematics teachers participated in the learning community. Cultural activities performed at a cultural village very close to the school were mathematized. The embedded mathematics concepts were indigenised into the Grade 9 mathematics curriculum. Two teaching units on number patterns and transformations were crafted and co-taught by the facilitator and the class teachers in five Grade 9 classes. Data consisted of audio-recorded pre and post teacher interviews, video- recorded cultural activities, seventeen video-recorded lessons, and audio-recorded lesson reflective meetings. My analysis show how opportunities for teacher learning were created when modelling cultural activities, planning and teaching culturally-based lessons in Grade 9 mathematics classrooms. Results showed that teachers had opportunities to learn. There was evidence that the study had positive impact on teachers’ pedagogical repertoire. One of the teachers even taught culturally-based lessons on other curriculum topics different from those done in the PLC. The focus on culturally relevant pedagogy brought with it sound pedagogical practices which the participating teachers perceived as bringing some changes in their usual teaching practices. My analysis also show the critical role of a facilitator for teacher learning in professional learning communities.


Key words: Teacher learning, professional learning community, communities of practice, mathematics, indigenise.