ERG SES C 06, Interactive Poster Session
During the last decades, the European community has been involving its member states in developing and innovating their educational systems. But educational change is considered a very complex phenomenon and it often reveals its effects very slowly and in the long run. This occurs as the process involves several stakeholders at different levels: teachers, principals, students, district administrators, politicians, consultants, parents and, not less crucial, the social community too (Fullan, 2001). Definitely, they all are significant parts of any educational change implementation process: without the commitment and the effort of any of them at their proper level, the change will remain meaningless and, for this reason, not implementable. Yet, the more these actors differentiate in expectations, cultural background, values, beliefs, general vision about the school and the future of the society which they belong to (Kolmos, 2010, 2002; Fullan, 2001), the more important it is to explore their relations and mutual influences, in order to offer a different vision of any educational change. Investigating the interconnections among educational innovation, political reform, teacher's values, school organization, social context and cultural environment implies that the internal, external and personal aspects and how they interplay must be taken into consideration in order to fulfill a relevant educational change. (Goodson, 2001).
In this context, the research has focused on studying all the stakeholders and their specific performances. On the other hand, it has also conveyed the idea that teachers should receive special attention. In fact, the research evidence suggests their personal commitment in implementing the reform requests in the classroom is crucial. The way in which they remodel their teaching practice according to the reform framework is an essential operative instrument able to transform political goals and social values and expectations in concrete educative outcomes (Kolmos, 2002, 2010). In this sense, they are the educational reform key - change agents and it has become urgent to investigate teachers’ role, reactions and way of conceptualizing external instructional reforms in the school environment. The American scholar Spillane suggests that the reform demands enter in contact and in-form teachers'daily performance in the “teachers’ zones of enactment”, in which teachers “make sense of, and operationalize for their own practice, the ideas advanced by reformers” (Spillane,1999). The Spillane model, adapted to the Italian context, presents six factors affecting the implementation of a new reform and influencing the teacher´s zone of enactment. They are: personal, professional, pupil, public, principal’s leadership and policy ones.
This contribution aims to report the results in exploring the “teachers´ zones of enactment” of 120 teachers of a comprehensive school in the center of Italy, involved in a curriculum reform-based innovation, induced by the “National Guidelines for the Curricula in the Early Childhood Education and in the First Cycle of Education” (2012), collecting data by a survey. The comprehensive school currently represents the most common school model for the First Cycle of Education and the survey purpose was to explore and get an overview on how teachers consider this innovation in respect to their students’ learning improvement and how the implementation of these new curricula is perceived. It investigated how these Italian teachers seize the institutional and social support as well as their professional and personal motivation involvement in the effort of renovating and developing their profile and their daily practice in the classroom. Moreover, exploration included teachers' opinions about work overload, dissatisfaction, frustration, isolation and loss of identity in the role, recognized in literature as some of the factors that create resistance and barriers (Day, 2002), and their perception of a possible political or organizational inadequacy to concretely support their professional development.
Anghelache, V.; Benţea, C. C. (2012). Dimensions of teachers’ attitudes towards educational change. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 33, 598–602 Datnow, A.; Schmidt, M. (2005). Teachers’ sense-making about comprehensive school reform: the influence of emotions”. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(8), 949-965 Day, C. (2002). School reform and transition in teacher professionalism and identity. International Journal of Educational Research, 37(2), 677–692 Day, C.; Lee J. C.-K. (2011). New Understandings of Teacher’s Work. Emotions and Educational Change.Netherlands: Springer Day, C.; Smethem, L. (2009) “The effects of reform: have teachers really lost their sense of professionalism? Journal of Educational Change 10 (2–3), 141-157 Fullan, M. (2001). The New Meaning of Educational Change. 3th ed. New York: Teacher College Press Fullan, M; Bennett, B.; Rolheiser-Bennett, C. (1990). Linking Classroom and school improvement. Educational Leadership, 47 (8), pp. 13-19 Goodson, I. F. (2001). Social Histories of Educational Change. Journal of Educational Change, 2 (1), pp. 45–63 Hargreaves, A. (2005). Educational change takes ages: Life, career and generational factors in teachers’ emotional responses to educational change”. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(8), 967-983 Hargreaves, A.; Fink, D. (2004). The seven principle of sustainable leadership. Educational Leadership, 61 (7), pp. 8-13 Kelchtermans, G. (2005). Teacher’s emotions in educational reforms: Self-understanding, vulnerable commitment and micropolitical literacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21 (8), 995-1006 Kolmos, A. (2002). Facilitating Change to a Problem-Based Model. International Journal for Academic Development, 7 (1), pp. 63–74 Kolmos, A. (2010). Premises for changing to PBL. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 4(1), article 4 Reio, T. G. Jr. (2005). Emotions as lens to explore teacher identity and change: a commentary. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(8), 985-993 Smit, B. (2003). The emotional state of teachers during educational policy change. Paper presented at European Conference on Educational Research. University of Hamburg, Germany, 17-20 September 2003 Spillane, J. P. (1999). External reform initiatives and teachers’ efforts to reconstruct their practice: the mediating role of teachers’ zones of enactment. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 31(2), 143–175
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