Revisiting the effective use of learning support materials to support teaching and learning: evidence from South Africa

Hannchen Koornhof , Lizzi O. Milligan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper examines international literature on the use of Learning Support materials and how this applies in an African context. It adopts a critical perspective on the use and promotion of LSMs as a strategy and investment choice for teacher development and learner achievement. This paper will present a number of case studies in different countries to examine some of the issues that facilitate and constrain the use of LSMs (Nag, et al, 2014, Westbrook, et al, 2013, and others). The focus then turns on South Africa which provides an interesting example: the country encompasses a wide spectrum of schools, providing insights into both excellent and problematic practice. The many curriculum changes since 1994 allow for a snapshot of how ideology and implementation create fraught dynamics that often contradict each other. A contentless curriculum based on principles of choice, and learner-centred approaches in the immediate aftermath of apartheid has now given way to interventions of highly scripted and prescriptive policy and curriculum to support learning. This has led to uncomfortable and ambiguous implementation and relationships to LSMs. South Africa allows for close scrutiny of the enactment / implementation distinction suggested by Remillard (2005) where enactment of LSM is linked to teacher autonomy and professionalism, and implementation of LSM is linked to creating ‘teacher-proof’ systems. A major underlying force that creates additional tensions around LSM use is the difficult issue of multilingual classrooms. Conclusions will consider the role of LSM in supporting education for sustainable futures
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015
EventUKFIET conference - Oxford, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Sept 2015 → …


ConferenceUKFIET conference
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom
Period15/09/15 → …


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