ERG SES H 03, Parallel Session H 03
A common definition of curriculum is nonexistent among educators (Marsh & Willis, 2003). Portelli (1987) states that there are more than 120 definitions of curriculum in the literature. Among these definitions, curriculum can be broadly defined as learning experiences provided to students under the auspices of the school. This definition implies both planned and unplanned knowledge, skills, and attitudes (Sowell, 2005). Based on the objectivist approach, Kerr (1968) defines curriculum as the learning which is planned and guided by the school. This approach is also called top-down model. On the contrary, Stenhouse (1975) defines the curriculum as “an attempt to communicate the essential principles and features of an educational proposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny and capable of effective translation into practice” (Stenhouse, 1975). This approach is called process or down-top model (Galton & Blyth, 1989). In Turkey, a curriculum based on top-down model (centralized curriculum) is used. Educational systems of nations present differences in the way they develop and implement the curriculum in the school system. These systems have both advantages and disadvantages. While the locus of control in national curriculum is on the government, the school based curriculum gives more flexibility and voice to individual schools.
The literature presents many reviews of centralized vs. decentralized educational systems in terms of their advantages and disadvantages, different ways of adapting them, and outputs they produce (Bezzina, 1991; Marsh, 1992; Roehrig, Kruse, &Kern, 2007; Fullan, 2001). These reviews present implications, challenges and opportunities and threats in relation to many aspects of these systems like teacher training and hiring, curriculum design, supervision, assessments. In addition, the literature holds many studies investigating how curriculum is transformed into classroom instruction. However, most of these studies represent decentralized educational systems such the USA exploring ways and which teachers understand and implement curriculum in their own classrooms. But what about the centralized educational systems? What kind of challenges do they present for teachers in understanding and transforming it into classroom practice? The studies investigating the transformation process of centralized curriculum into classroom implementation are just few. Turkey’s educational system presents a good example into understanding how this transformation takes place. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the transformation process of centralized curriculum into classroom practice through a phenomenological research design.
Bezzina, M. (1991). Teachers’ perceptions of their participation in schhol based curriculum development: a case study. Curriculum Perspectives, 11(2), 39-47. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Galton, M. & Blyth, A., (1989). (Eds.) Handbook of Primary Education in Europe. London: David Fulton Publishers for the Council of Europe. Kerr J Et Al. (1968). Changing The Curriculum. London: University Of London Press. Marsh, C. (1992). Key concepts for understanding curriculum. London: Falmer Press. Marsh, C.J. & Willis, G. (2003). Curriculum: Alternative Approaches, Ongoing Issues. 3rd Edition. New Jersey. Portelli, J. P. (1987). On defining defining curriculum. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 2 (4), 354-367. Roehrig, G. H., Kruse, R. A., & Kern, A. (2007). Teacher and school characteristics and their influences on curriculum implementation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(7), 883-907. Sowell, E. J. (2005). Curriculum: An Integrative Introduction. 3rd Edition. New Jersey. Stenhouse L. (1975). An Introduction To Curriculum Research And Development, London, Heinemann.
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