ERG SES C 02, PechaKucha Poster Session
Governments around the world have begun to revisit their approaches to curriculum, teaching and learning. Many countries have been driven by results and attainment such as America’s “Race to the Top” initiative and China’s “2020 Education Reform Strategy”. However, in Europe, some countries are taking a different attitude to models of curriculum theory, development and implementation. The four countries chosen for this research, Finland, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland have opted for a new model of curriculum development and process of dissemination. The curriculum as a process model endorses the following:
• Student centred approach
• Shift to Learning outcomes
• Move from subject specific to generic curriculum content
• Development of key skills and competencies
• Professionalism of teachers
• Flexible curriculum space for school based curriculum development.
In Ireland, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and Department of Education and Skills (DES) have been researching many aspects of the post-primary educational experience. Since 2002, the Educational Policy Research Centre of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has reported on a longitudinal study of students’ experiences of curriculum in post-primary schooling. In lower secondary education it highlighted the dominating effect of the examination on teaching and learning and a curriculum that is not only inflexible and overcrowded but which encourages the disengagement of many students at an early stage of their education (Smyth 2009, 2011). The NCCA set about reforming the Junior Cycle which culminated in the publication of a Framework for Junior Cycle in 2012 (DES 2012). The publication of this Framework was followed by industrial action and implementation problems which led to a revised framework produced in 2015 (DES 2015).
This research explores policy development and implementation from the perspective of key actors in the space. It sets out to explore the following questions:
To examine and evaluate how the Junior Cycle Framework was developed and what was the underlying thinking informing its development?
To study the model of implementation and enactment of the new Junior Cycle Framework from its inception in 2012 to its first complete cycle in 2018.
To investigate the process of curriculum reform in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland and to compare these to the Irish experience.
In order to accomplish these goals, I will address the following questions:
Is the Framework based on the best educational theory, philosophy and curriculum practice?
What model of policy enactment was used to bring about the implementation of the new Junior Cycle?
Can we learn anything from other countries as they implemented similar curriculum changes?
I will study documentation and interview participants from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland to analyse and draw comparisons to other countries experiences of reform.
What proposal can we offer Irish curriculum development and implementation in the future?
DES, 2015, Framework for the New Junior Cycle, in Department of Education & Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1.
Smyth, E., 2009, Junior Cycle Education: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of Students: ESRI Research Bulletin.
Smyth, E., and S. McCoy,2011, Improving Second-Level Education: Using Evidence for Policy Development, Renewal series, The Economic and Social Research Institute.
References for Abstract Ball, S. J., Maguire, M. and Braun, A. (2012) How schools do Policy. Policy Enactments in Secondary Schools, London & New York: Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group. Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. and Wiliam, D. (2002) Working inside the black box, London: King's College, London. Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) 'Assessment and Classroom Learning', Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 5(1), 7-74. Brands, D. and Ginnis, P. (1990) The Student Centred School, Great Britain: Basil Blackwell Ltd. Coolahan, J. (1981) Irish education: its history and structure, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. Davie, A., Busick, K., Herbst, S. and Sherman, A. (2014) 'System Leaders using assessment for learning as both the change and the change process: developing theory from practice', The Curriculum Journal, 25(4), 567-592. Earl, L M., Hargreaves, A. and Ryan, J. (1996) Schooling for Change: Reinventing Education for Early Adolescents, London, GBR: Routledge. Fullan,M. (2001) The New Meaning of Educational Change, Third ed., New York: Teachers College Press. Hattie, J. (2009) Visible learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, Oxon: Routledge. Hayworth, L. (2015) 'Learning about change in Assessment', in Assessment NCCA, Dublin. Hayworth, L. and Spencer, E. (2010) 'The Complexities of Change: Formative Assessment in Scotland', The Curriculum Journal, 21(2), 161-177. hEireann, R. n. (1992) Education for a changing World, Dublin: The Stationery Office. Ireland, G. o. (1998) Education Act, Stationary Office. Looney, A. (November 2006) 'Assessment in the Republic of Ireland', Assessment in Education, 13(3), 345-356. NCCA (2010) Innovation & Identity: Ideas for the new Junior Cycle. NCCA (2011) Towards a Framework for the Junior Cycle, Dublin OECD. (2009) Teaching and Learning International Study (TALIS), Educational Research Centre. Psifidou, D. I. 'The Rise and Fall of Curricular Knowledge Areas: Evidence from OECD and Balkan Countries', in 23rd International CESE Conference, Athens, Greece. DES (2015) Framework for the New Junior Cycle, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1: Department of Education and Skills. Smyth, E. (2009) 'Junior Cycle Education: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of Students', ESRI Research Bulletin. Smyth, E. and McCoy, S. (December 2011) Improving Second-Level Education: Using Evidence for Policy Development, 5, The Economic and Social Research Institute. Trant, A. (2007) Curriculum matters in Ireland, Blackrock, Co. Dublin: Blackhall. Wiliam, D. (2011) Embedded: Formative Assessment, Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.
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