ERG SES C 08, Pecha Kucha Session
Pecha Kucha Session
Defining goals and alignment of curriculum for continuous child development from 3-6 years of age were identified as common challenges that countries faced in relation to enhancing quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) curricula (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development 2006). In relation to Ireland the report suggests that the development of a common ECEC curriculum linking pre-school to primary school, similar to countries like Sweden, Norway and Portugal could provide continuity between ECEC and primary schooling and ensure that children are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for primary school (OECD 2006).
The research study looks at Aistear (NCCA 2009), Ireland's Early Childhood Curriculum Framework as an example of a curriculum policy. The study examines how curriculum changes are implemented on the ground in relation to other contextual dimensions and seeks to identify the complexities of implementing an early childhood curriculum framework within a new curriculum. The research is guided by the following questions:
- How do the primary school teachers perceive Aistear (NCCA 2009)?
- How do the teacher’s perceptions of Aistear (NCCA 2009) influence their classroom practice?
- How do the teachers implement Aistear (NCCA 2009) within the new revised primary school curriculum (DES 2016) in relation to other contextual dimensions?
The objectives of the study are, to gain an understanding of the link between context and policy and the implementation of Aistear (NCCA 2009), Ireland's Early Childhood Curriculum Framework within the new language school curriculum for junior and senior infants (Department of Education and Skills 2016). To examine how primary school teachers, perceive and implement Aistear (NCCA 2009) within their classrooms, and to explore how their practices have been transformed.
Braun et al. (2010, p585) argue that incorporating policies into practice is a ‘creative, sophisticated and complex but also constrained process’ that involves contextual dimensions that include, a school’s history, buildings and infrastructures, staffing profiles, budgetary situations and teaching and learning challenges. Implementing a new curriculum that seeks to ensure ‘greater consistency’ with Aistear (NCCA 2012, p14), and that supports continuity between children’s learning and development in pre-school and primary school requires an exploration and analysis of each of what Braun et al. (2010) describe as the ‘contextual dimensions’.
From an ontological point of view, the research study adopts a constructivist approach. Adopting a constructivist approach Berger and Luckman (1967) posits is to view reality as being socially constructed. Examining how teachers perceive Aistear (NCCA 2009) as an early childhood curriculum framework, requires an exploration of how their individual understandings of Aistear (NCCA 2009) informs their practice. Such an examination requires adopting an interpretive approach. Creswell (2013, p8) explains that individuals cultivate subjective meanings of their experiences. These meanings are varied and multiple, leading the researcher to look for the intricacies of views rather than narrowing the meanings into a few categories or ideas. MacNaughton (2010, p35) explains that interpretivism views the social world as not just ‘out there’ but it is ‘in here’ ‘in us’ and suggests that these different interpretations may affect actions or practice, and the nature of social interaction with others. Adopting an interpretive position allows an examination of the subjective meanings motivating the actions of the teachers, in order to understand their actions. The knowledge generated in the study is subjective. It involves the primary school teachers expressing their opinions and beliefs in the context of their understanding of Aistear (NCCA 2009) and explaining how their understanding of Aistear (NCCA 2009) is interpreted in their practice.
BALL, S. J. (1994). Education Reform. A Critical and post structural approach. Buckingham, UK, Open University Press. BERGER, P. and LUCKMAN, T. (1991). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. London, Penguin Books. BRAUN, A., MAGUIRE, M.M., and BALL, SJ. (2010). Policy enactments in the UK secondary school: Examining, practice and school positioning. Journal of Education Policy, 25, 547-560.Policy. CRESWELL, J.W. (2013). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage publications. DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION and SCIENCE (1999). Primary School Curriculum: Introduction. Dublin: Government Publications. Accessed at: http://www.ncca.ie/uploadedfiles/Curriculum/Intro_Eng.pdf DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION and SCIENCE (2016). Primary School Curriculum: Dublin, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. MACNAUGHTON, G., ROLFE, S. and SIRAJ-BLATCHFORD, I. (eds.). (2010) Doing Early Childhood Research: International Perspectives on Theory and Practice. 2nd ed., Buckingham, Open University Press. NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CURRICULUM and ASSESSMENT, (2009). Aistear, the Framework for Early Learning. Dublin: NCCA. NATIONAL COUNCIL for CURRICULUM and ASSESSMENT (2009). Aistear: The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. NCCA: Dublin. Accessed at www.ncca.ie/earlylearning NATIONAL COUNCIL for CURRICULUM and ASSESSMENT (2012). Executive Summaries: A compendium from commissioned research on primary language. NCCA: Dublin. Accessed at: www.ncca.ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Early_Childhood_and_Primary_Education/PrimaryEducation/Primary_Developments/Language/Review-and-Research/c1.pdf ORGANISATION ECONOMIC and COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (2006). Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD Publishing. QUINN PATTON, M. (2015). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods: Integrating Theory and Practice. 4th ed., CA, Thousand Oaks, Sage. STAKE, R.E. (2005). Qualitative Case Studies. In N.K. DENZIN and LINCOLN, Y.S. (eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, p443-446). YIN, R.K. 2013. Case study research: Design and methods. Sage.
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