The perspectives of stakeholders about the impact of incorporating chess into the curriculum practice in King Cetshwayo District Primary Schools

The continuous protest from various quarters of society about the weakening education standard are a concern. Chess has been found to be a solution to remedy this problem in many countries through studies testing its effectiveness on the learners. However, very little is said about the teachers who are key in the success of this integration. This study aimed at getting the perspectives of the stakeholders regarding the incorporation of chess into the curriculum in the four subjects in the Foundation Phase, namely, isiZulu, English, Mathematics and Life skills. This qualitative design research looks at the perspectives of the stakeholders about the impact of incorporating chess into the curriculum practice through the Tsogo Sun Moves for Life programme piloted in the King Cetshwayo district. Through interviews, observations and document analysis, this study acquired the insights of 14 teachers who work as Tsogo Sun Moves for Life facilitators in schools under the programme, the district official who is tasked with ensuring that the curriculum is well delivered in schools, and the Tsogo Sun Moves for Life co-ordinator who assist the facilitators in incorporating chess into the curriculum. The study reveals that teachers find chess to be helpful as it helps the learners learn better while having fun, their attention span is increased, and they tend to concentrate better when chess is integrated. However, the teachers face many challenges as they struggle to merge chess into the curriculum, from those who view it as an add- on detached from the curriculum, and therefore see it as additional workload for them. The language used in the chess instruction appeared to be a challenge as the chess resources are not written in the learners’ home language.
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy for the Department of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, Faculty of Education at the University of Zululand, 2018.
Chess, Curriculum reform, Foundation phase, Critical thinking, Numeracy, Tsogo Sun Moves for Life