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Primary science in Malaysia: the implementation of a new curriculum

By Hashimah Mohd. Yunus


This thesis investigates the implementation of the science curriculum in Malaysian primary schools. The study is concerned primarily with teachers' pedagogical content knowledge as a crucial determinant of teaching performance in implementing the new curriculum.\ud \ud The research involved the administration of a questionnaire to seven states in Malaysia to seek information regarding the implementation of the primary science curriculum. The main body of research data consists of case studies of 14 teachers. Teachers' pedagogical content knowledge and its influence of the implementation of the primary science curriculum were analysed on the basis of interviews and classroom observations.\ud \ud The lack of science pedagogical content knowledge is indeed a problem for teachers in implementing the curriculum. That knowledge is limited and constrained by other contributing factors - science instructional needs, especially the constructivist view of science teaching; knowledge of the ways in which children learn science; and the lack of resources and support. Teachers' belief in the subject and its teaching also affect the implementation. In the light of these constraints, it would be more appropriate to identify the necessary science pedagogical content knowledge, within the primary science curriculum, that teachers need to acquire in order to implement the curriculum as the developers intended.\ud \ud The key question, in the Malaysian primary school context, is how science pedagogical content knowledge is to be generated and disseminated. In-service teacher education is essential if there is to be an impact in the shorter term. Another question is the kind of initial training that will be fruitful and effective and worth investing in. Conceptual understanding and science pedagogical knowledge and skills are two promising areas of teachers' understanding of the curriculum that could be developed when planning in-service provision for Malaysian primary science education. An explicit examination to teachers' beliefs about science and the teaching and learning of science is also required in pre-service and in-service courses

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