An excited Ms Sinenjabulo Mchunu graduated from UKZN recently with her Master’s in Education in which her research explored foundation phase teachers’ experiences of using the Jika iMfundo (turning education around) tracking tools through enhanced curriculum coverage.
Mchunu – who has been a Foundation Phase teacher for the past 8 years – strongly believes that learners need to be trained and taught well on different concepts in this phase to create a solid foundation that will assist them in all other phases of their studies. Her eagerness to understand other Foundation Phase teachers’ experiences utilising these trackers to monitor curriculum coverage has been her priority, and this has allowed her to develop professionally within the teaching and learning field.
‘I have encountered some challenges using the Jika iMfundo tracking tools that have been initiated in schools to monitor curriculum coverage since there is too much to do in a short space of time,’ explained Mchunu.
Some of her participants raised concerns about the gap or tension between managing the administrative demands and the level of their learners’ understanding as these tools rush them for work completion and that learners not possessing the same capacity require a different amount of attention and focus.
She believes her study provides insight into teachers’ experiences with using the Jika iMfundo tracking tool and methods for overcoming challenges encountered in foundation phase classrooms by understanding their experiences.
Key findings of Mchunu’s study reveal that the tracking tools provide a clear guide to curriculum teaching however, the pacing is too fast; and that Jika iMfundo tools allocate too much to be covered and not enough time for completion. Study participants revealed that the Senior Management Team (SMT) focussed more on administrative compliance such as the weekly submission of completed trackers instead of assisting them to reach the targeted time allocated to them and for curriculum implementation.
Mchunu’s best moment during her study was engaging with different teachers in their experiences and concerns for learners’ education. She is grateful for the support of her family, friends, colleagues and supervisor. ‘Everyone is proud of me because I am the first person to reach this level in my family. I’m intending to continue and pursue my PhD in the near future,’ she said.