03 SES 11 A, Teachers as Policymakers in British Columbia, the Netherlands and Wales
Context and research questions Wales has followed the direction of England in curriculum policy in recent years, being subject to various iterations of the prescriptive National Curriculum, before political devolution to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999, Since 2015, Wales has been developing a new curriculum, in line with international trends towards school autonomy in determining curricular content, child-centred pedagogy and a focus on so-called 21st century skills and competencies (Donaldson, 2015). The new curriculum has been advanced through a process that has actively engaged teachers in “Pioneer” school networks, across three phases, from the development of guiding principles to the specification of the six Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs). This research examines the role of teachers in this process, addressing two research questions: 1. To what extent has the development of curriculum policy been shaped by teachers’ involvement in the process? 2. How has teachers’ professional agency as curriculum makers been enhanced as a result of their engagement? Study design The study focuses on a small number of Pioneer teachers who have been involved in the process, as well as the documentation produced by the groups. Data generation methods include semi-structured interviews and document analysis. Data will be analysed using the ecological approach to understanding teacher agency (Priestley, Biesta & Robinson, 2015), a temporal-relational methodology for analysing factors that shape teachers’ agency and its manifestations in practice. Findings and conclusions Data collection is ongoing. Early indications suggest that: 1] teacher agency has previously been limited, in terms of both teachers’ professional knowledge of curriculum development and the affordances that the system offered them as curriculum makers; 2] engagement in the process has significantly enhanced the capacity of these teachers as curriculum makers; 3] a particular benefit with significant implications for teacher agency has been the development of strong professional networks and associated relational resources; and 4] these teachers have played a significant role in shaping the forms taken by the new curriculum in Wales. Significance The study casts light on the processes and conditions that can foster teacher engagement with the formulation of education policy, the potential weaknesses of such approaches and the benefits for teachers. In particular, the study suggests that this approach has long-term implications in the development of a cadre of expert teachers able to support colleagues in the subsequent enactment of policy in schools, through the building of system capacity for curriculum making.
Donaldson, G. (2015). Successful Futures: Independent Review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements in Wales. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Priestley, M., Biesta, G. & Robinson, S. (2015). Teacher Agency: An Ecological Approach. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
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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