ERG SES C 11, Sociologies of Education
This paper presents the results of a doctoral thesis (under grant FPU014/04782) that is part of a larger research project (ED2016-77576-P). This research starts from the theoretical idea of the difference between “two curricular worlds” (Pinar & Irwin, 2004):
1) Curricular plan. It is what we traditionally understand by curriculum. It means, a symbolic object (Stenhouse, 1987) that can be observed on several documents (official curriculum, education project of schools, classroom planning, etc.). It also explains the objectives that students are expected to achieve at the end of a school period and describes the way that learning must be evaluated.
2) Lived curriculum. It is argued, from phenomenological (Magrini, 2015) and narrative (Clandinin, 2013) studies, that what students learn in their experience at school has a nature radically different from what we can expose on a study programme. In this way, students’ experience hardly will accord with the expectations of the curricular plan. Lived curriculum is understood from these studies as the construction that students make of their experience at school and, given that we can only access to lived experience by telling it, lived curriculum has a narrative essence (Clandinin et al., 2006). It means, lived curriculum is the story that everyone tells to himself/herself about how he/she has become what he/she is, and by these stories we give meaning to our experience and relation with the environment. Therefore, the idea of curriculum-as-lived is linked with a narrative view of identity and with the term “stories to live by”, created by Clandinin and Connelly (1998).
The difference between these two curricular worlds does not try to push to choose between one or the other, but our purpose is to think about them in relation, in a way that allows us to place students’ and teachers’ experience in the centre of the curricular research. It is not about ignoring curricular plans and designs, but they must be grounded having in mind that every child is unique and that the educational process is unpredictable (Pinar & Irwin, 2004). Ultimately, the purpose is to humanize curriculum: “Curriculum implementation, which is a process of change and innovation, must first understand that the human has a multiplicity of ways of being, and each way is expressive of a unique and individual mode of potential for-Being—the lived curriculum is a multifarious and diverse curriculum” (Magrini, 2015, p. 287).
From this point of view some questions arise: How curriculum is created? What is the essence of lived curriculum? What is the function of educational relationship on curriculum making? The purpose of this paper derives from these questions: delve into the essence of lived curriculum and inquiry on conditions that promote the construction of an educational relationship that allows students curriculum making.
In order to address this proposal the research had three focal points:
- Relationship with knowledge: How is students’ and teachers’ relationship with knowledge? How is built knowledge in their experience at school?
- Teacher-student relationship: How do teachers and students live their experience with each other? How are experiences in which teachers are sensitive to students’ singularities and needs?
- Relationship with curricular plan: How does curricular plan influence on experience at school? What tensions arise between curriculum-as-plan and curriculum-as-lived? What do teachers need from curricular plan? What is the meaning and sense of curricular plan on educational experience?
Given that narration is our phenomenon under study, the research is outlined from a narrative inquiry point of view. Clandinin and Murphy (2009) say that narrative inquiry is designed from a particular ontological framework. Narrative inquiry takes experience as a narrative construction, it means, in order to give meaning to our experience we need to narrate it (Clandinin et al., 2006). Thus, identity and knowledge are built in a narrative way (Clandinin & Connelly, 1998; Contreras & Pérez de Lara, 2010). Consistent with this research methodology [and orientations of some phenomenological texts (Van Manen, 2003, 2015)] we have collected data mainly by two procedures: 1. Hermeneutic conversation: these are conversations without a predefined set of questions, but with topics of interest to focus the talk and reflection. We call them hermeneutic conversations because the climate of confidence we created allowed us to look for the meaning of experiences that we lived together with teachers and students at school. 2. Close observation: we have lived observation as an immersion of researchers into teachers’ daily lives at school. The purpose of close observation was to compose field texts from activities at school, informal conversations and our own experience as researchers. In order to carry out this study we had to delve into the experience of teachers and students at school. For this reason selection criteria of teachers we wanted to investigate with were: 1) takes care of his/her relationship with students and their wellbeing; 2) has a reflective attitude towards his/her educational practice; 3) takes into account students’ life in and out of school. Following these selection criteria, we have worked with two teachers and some of their students for two years: - Year 2017: we have worked with Juan. He is technology teacher in a High School in Málaga (Spain). We have made 20 observations, 6 hermeneutic conversations with him and 4 with some of his students. - Year 2018: this year we worked with Clara, who is teacher in a primary school also in Málaga (Spain). In total, we have made 18 observations, 10 conversations with her and 3 with one of her students. Finally, the information analysis and composition of research texts have been made mainly by a thematic and exegetical analysis (Van manen, 2003). We have also draw on other procedures such as isolating thematic affirmations and drafting linguistic transformations.
In our experience in these two schools we have observed that curricular plan often makes proposals that do not match with the needs that students had. This means that teachers have to work between tensions of two curricular worlds (Martín-Alonso, Blanco, & Sierra, 2018): 1) the expected outcomes defined by the curricular plan; 2) and the child’s needs and story. Where must teachers orient themselves? Which “voice” must they pay attention to? When we deal with these questions, we have to take into account that students’ lived experience is the existential ground that makes possible and give meaning to curricular plan. Therefore, it is necessary to place at the centre of curriculum research students’ experience and, in consequence, lived curriculum. The results of this investigation show that the story that students tell themselves about their experience at school is always re-created in relation with their colleagues and, specially, with teachers. Therefore, we could say that educational relationship becomes the main point of curriculum making (Atkinson, 2015). When we have delved into the qualities of students’ significant scholar relationships, we have found similar issues. Educational relationship is built through pedagogical understanding (Martín-Alonso, Blanco, & Sierra, in press), and it is possible when teachers have a disposition to listen children’s stories and needs in order to look after them, it means, to care for them (Noddings, 2005). When this movement is authentic it is done in first person and the teacher gets involved in students’ experience. We could say that teachers in this study work with a sense of responsibility that goes beyond any kind of work engagement: it is about a sense of moral responsibility (Goldstein, 1998). In summary, when the relationship is educative, teachers get closer to students’ story, listen their needs and accept their fragility (Bárcena & Mèlich, 2000).
Atkinson, D. (2015). The adventure of pedagogy, learning and the not-known. Subjectivity, 8(1), 43-56. https://doi.org/10.1057/sub.2014.22 Bárcena, F., & Mèlich, J. C. (2000). La educación como acontecimiento ético: natalidad, narración y hospitalidad. Barcelona: Paidós Ibérica. Clandinin, D. J. (2013). Engaging in narrative inquiry. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1998). Stories to Live By: Narrative Understandings of School Reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 28(2), 149-164. https://doi.org/10.1111/0362-6784.00082 Clandinin, D. J., Huber, J., Huber, M., Murphy, M. S., Orr, A. M., Pearce, M., & Steeves, P. (2006). Composing diverse identities: narrative inquiries into the interwoven lives of children and teachers. London: Routledge. Clandinin, D. J., & Murphy, M. S. (2009). Relational ontological commitments in narrative research. Educational Researcher, 38(8), 598-602. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X09353940 Contreras, J., & Pérez de Lara, N. (2010). Investigar la experiencia educativa. Madrid: Morata. Goldstein, L. S. (1998). Taking Caring Seriously: The Ethic of Care in Classroom Life. Presentado en Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego. Recuperado de http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED419801 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, 47(2), 274-299. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2014.1002113 Martín-Alonso, D., Blanco, N., & Sierra, J. E. (in press). Comprensión pedagógica y construcción de la relación educativa. Una indagación narrativa. Teoría de la Educación. Martín-Alonso, D., Blanco, N., & Sierra, J. E. (2018). Indagación narrativa sobre las tensiones vividas por un profesor de educación secundaria en el proceso de creación curricular. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3571 Noddings, N. (2005). Identifying and responding to needs in education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 35(2), 147-159. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057640500146757 Pinar, W. F., & Irwin, R. L. (2004). Curriculum in a new key: the collected works of Ted T. Aoki. New York: Routledge. Piussi, A. M., & Mañeru, A. (Eds.). (2006). Educación, nombre común femenino. Barcelona: Octaedro. Stenhouse, L. (1987). La investigación como base de la enseñanza. Madrid: Morata. Van Manen, M. (1998). El tacto en la enseñanza: el significado de la sensibilidad pedagógica. Barcelona: Paidós. Van Manen, M. (2003). Investigación educativa y experiencia vivida: ciencia humana para una pedagogía de la acción y la sensibilidad. Barcelona: Idea Books. Van Manen, M. (2015). Pedagogical tact: knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
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