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Teachers, Local Knowledge, and Policy Implementation: A Qualitative Policy-Practice Inquiry

Partners' Institution
Limerick Institute of Technology
Teachers, Local Knowledge, and Policy Implementation: A Qualitative Policy-Practice Inquiry
Thematic Area
Systems thinking-Theoretical framework and assessment
How can teachers’ understandings of policy as local knowledge inform policy implementation in schools? This article investigates policy understanding and implementation in urban primary schools and locates the inquiry in the transitional South African context. The author illustrates teachers’ understandings of policy in times of transition and shows how such local knowledge affects policy implementation. She argues that although teachers play an important role in our education system, more often than not, they are a silent voice during policy formulation, which implies that local knowledge might be underplayed, discounted, or simply ignored. She discusses the contextual background and how qualitative inquiry can shape and inform policy implementation. The article presents a conceptual framework for policy implementation and thrashes out what policy may learn from teachers at the microlevels, that is, local knowledge. The author discusses the empirical data and the understandings of teachers of policy and concludes with a few implications for policy implementation
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
The role of the teacher and their knowledge at a local level through qualitative research for education policy offers deeper and more integrated understanding of the complexities of policy implementation. The research utilises primary data by looking at the on-the-ground educational dynamics through the experiences of teachers.
The data highlighted that teaching experience can be defined as some may see it as doing the same thing for many years, whereas others may see it as doing something different in a shorter period of time. Furthermore, there were differences highlighted between newer and more experienced teachers and how they interact with policy changes.
Overall the paper deals with correlating personal opinions of the stakeholders and backing this up with literary data but does not highlight any new or complex systems of teaching.
Point of Strength
Research in the past focused mostly on the generation or production of policy, whereas little attention was paid to what happens on the ground and this paper that highlights the need for teachers involvement within the development of policy.