Capacity for (quality) instruction: a framework for understanding the use of resources to promote teaching and learning in schools
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South Africa recently introduced a new curriculum, designed to encourage the learning of conceptually demanding subject matter. While this new curriculum has provided the necessary impetus for change in some schools, others in the country continue to
struggle in their attempts to provide quality instruction. This is more so for those schools that serve the historically disadvantaged, and especially so in subjects like Science and Mathematics. A pertinent question is why many schools in South Africa, and elsewhere, are unable to take full advantage of new curricula and policy support to improve their capacity to offer quality instruction? In this paper we develop the concept of capacity for instruction as a framework for understanding the mobilisation and use of a variety of resources by schools to achieve their teaching and learning goals. We then apply the framework in a study of one primary school which has, over the past few years, struggled to sustain its capacity to offer quality instruction. Guided by an interpretive paradigm, we collected and analysed data from teacher interviews, classroom observations and document analysis, in order to understand how the deconstruction or gradual loss of capacity for instruction, especially in Science and English, occurred at this school. We conclude the paper by developing an account of how it is that, in spite of improved policy support and the new curricula, this primary school continues to experience a gradual loss, or what we call deconstruction, of its capacity to offer quality instruction. Our account identifies and discusses the critical role of the students as a resource in the (de)construction of the school's capacity for instruction.