Teachers ́ Perception of Coherence in High School Biology Textbooks in Zambia
AbstractTextbook coherence is an important aspect of effective teacher ́s instruction and performanceof students. However, the subject has not been explored regarding school textbooks inZambia. This study involved assessing coherence of senior biology high school textbooks(MK Biology10, Longman Biology11 and Pupil ́s Biology12) and the extent to which thesebooks are aligned with the biology course syllabus. Using quantitative research design,coherence was conceptualized as a unit of three constructs: alignment and organization, rigor,focus and relevance of contents and connections among ideas. A questionnaire instrumentwas developed which teachers in Mufulira and certain other districts in Zambia (n = 82) usedto assess textbook and textbook-syllabus coherence. Data was analyzed using statisticalmethods, independent t-tests and One-way ANOVA. Results show that teachers weregenerally uncertain about coherence levels in the textbooks. Concerning textbook-syllabusalignment, Pupil ́s Biology12 was viewed as most coherent with the course syllabus and MKBiology10 as the least. Assessment of coherence is a complex process but it focuses on fewcommon elements. Identifying these elements may help teachers improve teaching practice,curriculum developers design coherent curricula and educational activities, and authorsproduce coherent textbooks. Further research studies are recommended that would extend thescope of this study to include teachers in all provinces in Zambia, include a mixed method toexplore perceptions about coherence, compare coherence of same grade level textbooks, orevaluate coherence of the syllabus and that of other science or non-science textbooks.
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