03 SES 13 A, Role of Teachers and Principals in Curriculum Making
The new Finnish National Core Curriculum (2016) introduces a concept of multi-disciplinary learning module (MDLM) which main characteristic is to promote the achievement of basic education goals, especially the development of transversal competences and schools as learning communities (Finnish National Agency of Education). However, the changes made in the policy level do not self-evidently transform into teacher level implementation. Teachers and education authorities have both theoretical and practical need for viewpoints affecting the successful implementation, especially from the aspect of essential teacher learning. In order to support teachers’ professional learning, a deeper understanding of how practices are enacted in schools and factors that help or hinder change is necessary (Wermke, 2010). This research is related to the current international discussion on developing schools as learning communities that enhance the 21st century skills rather than content knowledge, and emphasises the student participation, autonomy and activeness in learning (e.g. Coe et.al., 2014).
The research question is: How to utilize the implementation process of multi-disciplinary learning modules as possibility of teacher learning?
The central concepts in this research are multi-disciplinary learning, curriculum implementation and professional learning. The concept of multi-disciplinary learning described in the Finnish National Core Curriculum (2016) can also be defined by identifying relationships and interdependencies between e.g. authentic learning (e.g. Rule 2006), problem based learning (e.g. Blackbourn et al. 2011) and project-based learning (e.g. Krajcik et al. 2002). MDLM can also be identified by considering the concepts of multidisciplinary, crossdisciplinary, interdiscplinary and transdisciplinary learning (Rennie, Venville & Wallace, 2012). In this study, the curriculum implementation is seen through the situational praxis framework: rather than seeing implementation as an instrumental action, the framework emphasizes the meaning of dialectic relationship between theory and practice and a deep understanding of curriculum, leading to transforming it based on the prevalent situation (e.g. Magrini, 2015).
The efficacy of educational reform efforts rest largely with teachers and the voices of teachers need to be heard in the implementation of curriculum (Keyes & Bryan, 2001). In this study, the teachers are seen as the main curriculum implementers. Hence, the teachers learning is seen as major component in curriculum implementation. Teachers continuous professional development is seen as integral for raising standards in education (e.g. McGee, 2008) and findings of Maskit (2011) indicate significant differences between teachers’ attitudes toward pedagogical changes during different stages in their professional development. In this study the concept is defined as professional learning, emphasizing the agency of the educator as a key component in learning (Vrasidas and Glass, 2004).
This study also takes into to account the research on effective professional development that highlights the importance of collaborative and collegial learning environments that help develop communities of practice able to promote school change beyond individual classrooms (e.g. Perez et al., 2007). In a professional learning community teachers work together and engage in continual dialogue to examine their practice and student performance and to develop and implement more effective instructional practices (Darling-Hammond & Richardson, 2009). This study is interested in examining the changes in teachers learning to describe, discuss, and adjust their practices (Little, 2003).
The research is accomplished in the context of a MDLM development project funded by the Finnish National Agency of Education. 12 Finnish elementary schools participate the project during 2017 – 2019. This research is based on qualitative research methods and hermeneutic tradition. This research does not aim to find purely objective knowledge from the social reality and therefore the participant experiences about the subject of this study will not be considered as right or wrong in relation to the truth. (e.g. Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). In this study the participants are seen as initiative and active subjects who speak out and create meanings. The data is collected by reflective group diaries to understand the teacher process of learning to describe, discuss and adjust their practices related to the implementation of MDLM (Little, 2003). The data consists of 3 teacher group diaries (4 teacher in each group). Guided learning diaries provides two perspectives to the questions presented: being and becoming. Being is the reflection of the practice as known through reflection. Becoming is the reflection of the journey as known by the looking back through the unfolding series of reflected-on experiences to perceive the possible transformation. (Johns, 2010). The data is analysed by recognizing and elaborating the essential characters and interdepencies related to the research questions, using the means of content analysis. The method progresses by searching and defining interesting content, going through the data marking and separating the observations relevant to the study, and categorizing the data in adequate ensembles. The analysis units rise from the data and they are not predetermined. (e.g. Braun & Clarke, 2006)
The research will discuss the current international interest in how and why Finland is implementing multidisciplinary learning modules introduced in the National Core Curriculum. It will bring theoretical and practical use to teachers in their professional learning and educational authorities enabling it. The results of this research can be used to discuss the development of in-service teacher training. This research will also have an impact to the developing work on a school level.
Blackbourn, Joe M., et al. (2017). Challenging orthodoxy: problem based learning in preservice teacher training. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 38(3-4): 140-153. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2): 77-101. Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S. & Major, L.E. (2014). 'What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research. Project Report. London, UK: Sutton Trust. Retrieved from http://dro.dur.ac.uk/13747/. Darling-Hammond, L., & Richardson, N. (2009). Teacher Learning: What Matters? How Teachers Learn, 66(5): 46-53. Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (Eds.). (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Finnish National Board of Education. (2016). National Core Curriculum for Basic Education 2014. Publications 2016:5. Johns, C. (2010). Guided Reflection: A narrative approach to advancing professional practice (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Science Ltd. Keys, C. W., & Bryan, L. A. (2001). Co‐constructing inquiry‐based science with teachers: Essential research for lasting reform. Journal of research in science teaching, 38(6): 631-645. Krajcik, J. & Czerniak, C. (2002). Teaching science in elementary and middle school classrooms: A project-based approach (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Little, J. W. (2003). Inside teacher community: Representations of classroom practice. Teachers College Record, 105(6): 913-945. Magrini, J.M. (2015). Phenomenology and curriculum implementation: discerning a living curriculum through the analysis of Ted Aoki’s situational praxis. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 4(2): 274-299. Maskit, D. (2011). Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Pedagogical Changes During Various Stages of Professional Development. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(5): 851-860. McGee, A. (2008). Critical Reflections of Action Research Used for Professional Development in a Middle Eastern Gulf State. Educational Action Research, 16(2): 235-250. Perez, M., Anand, P., Speroni, C., Parrish, T., Esra, P., Socias, M., & Gubbins, P. (2007). Successful California schools in the context of educational adequacy. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Rennie, L. J., Venville, G. & Wallace, J. 2012. Knowledge that counts in a global community: Exploring the contribution of integrated curriculum. London: Routledge. Rule, Audrey C. (2006). The Components of Authentic Learning. Journal of Authentic Learning, 3(1): 1-10. Vrasidas, C., & Glass, G. V. (Eds.). (2004). Online professional development for teachers. Greenwich, CO: Information Age Publishing. Wermke, W. (2010). Continuing Professional Development in Context: Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development Culture in Germany and Sweden. Professional Development in Education, 37(5): 665-683.
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
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