03 SES 10 B, School Based Curriculum Development and Curriculum Policy
Many researchers have noticed that large-scale educational reforms do not bring about almost any changes at the classroom level. It is much easier to mandate a structural reform than change the actual pattern of everyday instruction (eg. Cuban, 2013). There are many different explanations of this fact: the stability of "school form" or "grammar of schooling" (Hofstetter & Schneuwly, 2013), errors in policymaking, lack of funding and/or implementation, teacher resistance (Terhart, 2013), weak leadership etc.
Despite that, a major curricular reform of the Czech pre-primary, primary and secondary schools had been launched in the first decade of the new century with bold promises of the complete change of teaching and learning. The main features of the reform have been the promotion of key competences as the main aim of the new policy and the de-centralization of curriculum development (school-based curriculum development) as its principal tool. Given the accumulated experience of school reforms failure all over the world, and notorious weaknesses of public sector in post-Communist countries, the chance of achieving the bold goals seemed very small. Indeed, some early evaluations of the reform signaled that the expected change of aims and objectives of the reform have not been achieved.
We were interested in the actual changes in the school education, but we did not want to do an evaluation of one particular reform. So the first goal of this research was to describe the core processes in individual schools in a time of reform. The reform was expected to be just one ingredient in a complex "policy soup" (Braun, Ball, & Maguire, 2011). The reform" is re-interpreted, translated, re-contextualised. Above all, it over-laps with other aspects of the school life and with other internal and external influences, e. g. demographic and technological change, or the programmes brought to life by the structural funds of the European Union. So rather than describing the linear, more or less successful process of curricular reform implementation, we try to discover and tell the stories of the schools coping with the reform in unique local contexts. The resulting picture of the curricular reform in the period of post-Communist transition is compared with the theories of educational change developed in the other parts of Europe (eg. Braun et al., 2011; Viñao, 2001; Terhart, 2013).
Braun, A., Ball, S. J., & Maguire, M. (2011). Policy enactments in schools introduction: towards a toolbox for theory and research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(4), 581-583. Braun, A., Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., & Hoskins, K. (2011). Taking context seriously: towards explaining policy enactments in the secondary school. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(4), 585-596. Cuban, L. (2013). Inside the black box of classroom practice. Change without reform in American education. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press. Hofstetter, R., & Schneuwly, B. (2013). Changes in mass schooling: "school form" and "gramar of schooling" as reagents. EERJ 12 (2) 166-174. Janík, T. (2013). Od reformy kurikula k produktivní kultuře vyučování a učení. Pedagogická orientace, 23(5), 634–663. Ramirez, F. O., & Meyer, J. W. (2002). National curricula: World models and national historical legacies. Stanford University. Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis. New York: The Guilford Press. Terhart, E. (2013).Teacher resistance against school reform: reflecting an inconvenient truth. School Leadership and Management, 33(5) 486-500. Thijs, A., & van den Akker, J. (Eds.) (2009). Curriculum in development. Enschede: SLO. Viñao, A. (2001). Do education reforms fail? A historian’s response. Encounters on Education, 2, (Fall) 27–47. Young, M. (2008). From constructivism to realism in the sociology of the curriculum. Review of Research in Education, 32, (1) 1–28.
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