03 SES 13 A, Role of Teachers and Principals in Curriculum Making
Emerging curriculum policy in Scotland and Wales requires teachers to be active curriculum makers rather than passive implementers of policy (as was the case with previous policy). This study focuses on teacher mediation in curriculum making in the two countries, to explore how teachers understand and operationalise related concepts, and make decisions about the curriculum in their practice, and to allow comparison of the differing factors that shape curriculum making in Scotland and Wales. Teacher mediation is understood as the ways in which teachers engage with policy, in relation to their existing beliefs and structural constraints in their professional settings (Osborn et al., 1997). It is also about how teachers make sense of their work and how their understandings shape their practice (Parker, 1987). Teachers may ascribe different meanings to different parts or stages of the curriculum, based on their own identities, beliefs, values, concerns, etc., and this in turn may affect their enactment of policy. Therefore, teachers’ understanding about the curriculum concepts and processes are vital in curriculum making (Minty & Priestley, 2012), and yet there is currently only partial knowledge about these issues in Scotland (Priestley & Minty, 2013) and Wales. Better understanding of how they are making decisions based on their professional dilemmas and values will shed on light on the enactment of ongoing curriculum reforms. This is also important, as recent curriculum policy has not been well supported by empirical evidence.
The study will also explore teachers’ personal modes of reflexivity, to better understand teachers’ decision making processes. Reflexivity is defined as ‘the regular exercise of the mental ability, shared by all normal people, to consider themselves in relation to their social contexts and vice versa’ (Archer, 2007, p.4). Reflexivity has been identified as an important element of teaching in the context of recent reforms, accountability, diversity and community expectations (Ryan and Bourke, 2013); social science research highlights how different modes of reflexivity (Archer, 2007) shape individuals’ engagement with social resources and issues in different ways, and yet these insights have not been fully explored in relation to curriculum making. By investigating this perspective, this study will make an original contribution to the curriculum studies literature.
The main objectives of this study are:
- To explore teachers’ perceptions of curriculum making,
- To investigate how teachers’ mediate the curriculum,
- To gain a better understanding of how teachers’ professional dilemmas and values mediate curriculum making,
- To explore how reflexivity plays role in decision making in terms of mediating the curriculum.
Data collection Data will be generated via an online focus group, taking place over a period of five weeks. Through this method, there is a high chance to acquire diverse opinions from different participants who are sometimes difficult to reach (Gaiser, 2011). Moreover, an online focus group will allow teachers from Scotland and Wales communicate easily, whereas it would be difficult and expensive to gather them in face-to-face focus groups. There will be both synchronous and asynchronous formats in the online focus group. Asynchronous focus group discussion is useful because participants, who are relatively slow typing or who are more confident to write without distraction of the pace of real time discussions, can express their opinions better (Bloor, Frankland, Thomas & Robson, 2001). Whereas synchronous groups are effective to see dynamism and real-time interactions, as well as emotions (Stewart and Williams, 2005). In this study, data will be collected through both formats to get different benefits from each. Participants Teachers from Scotland and Wales are the target group of respondents, because of ongoing curriculum reforms. Teachers are seen as a vital part of these reforms and have more freedom and flexibility than previously in curriculum making. Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) emphasises the role of teachers in shaping curricular practices (Scottish Executive, 2006), while Curriculum for Wales aims to provide more freedom for teachers to use their professionalism and knowledge (Education Wales, 2017). The study will be advertised through social media and 20 teachers are expected to participate. Data analysis Data collection will occur in February and March 2018. After each week, indexing and coding of data will be completed. In this procedure, the concept of reflexivity will be helpful to make sense of the data. There are 3 stages in reflexivity: discernment (where people clarify their concerns), deliberation (where people interrogate their concerns/issues) and dedication (where people act or make decisions that result from deliberation oven concerns and issues) (Archer, 2007). This is not set as a straitjacket, but more as a sensitizing concept.
Since the study will be conducted on February, expected outcomes are as follows: • to shed light on teachers’ understanding of curriculum making to develop sense making process for both researchers and policy makers • to understand how teachers’ professional dilemmas and values affect their decision-making process in terms of curriculum • to explore how different contexts (Scotland and Wales) influence teachers’ mediation of curriculum making • to examine how reflexivity plays role in teachers’ decision on curriculum • to develop research questions and contexts for the main study
Archer, M. (2007). Making our way through the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bloor, M., Frankland, J., Thomas, M., & Robson, K. (2001). Focus groups in social research. London: Sage. Education Wales (2017). Education in Wales: Our National Mission, Education Wales, Cardiff. Gaiser, T.J. (2011). Online Focus Groups. In Fielding, N., Lee, R.M. and Blank, G. (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods (pp. 290-306), SAGE Publications, Ltd. Minty, S. and Priestley, M. (2012). Developing Curriculum for Excellence in Highland Schools: A report on the qualitative findings for the Highland Council and the Scottish Government. Stirling: University of Stirling. Osborn, M., Croll, P., Broadfoot, P., Pollard, A., McNess, E. and Triggs, P. (1997) Policy into practice and practice into policy: Creative mediation in the primary classroom. In G. Helsby and G. McCulloch (eds), Teachers and the National Curriculum (London: Cassell), 52–65. Parker, W. (1987). Teachers' Mediation in Social Studies. Theory & Research in Social Education, 15(1), 1-22. Priestley, M. & Minty, S. (2013), “Curriculum for Excellence: 'A brilliant idea, but..'”, Scottish Educational Review, Vol. 45(1), 39-52. Ryan, M., & Bourke, T. (2013). The teacher as reflexive professional: Making visible the excluded discourse in teacher standards. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34(3), 411–423. Scottish Executive (2006). A Curriculum for Excellence: Progress and Proposals, Scottish Executive, Edinburgh. Stewart, K., & Williams, M. (2005). Researching online populations: The use of online focus groups for social research. Qualitative Research, 5(4), 395-416.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.