03 SES 09 B, Implementing an Inquiry-Based Curriculum
Sannino (2007) distinguishes between dominant and non-dominant activity in schools. Dominant activity is ‘regular’ teaching and curriculum, which through the legitinisation afforded by power, readily suppresses curriculum innovation. The dominant activity currently in England is the dual pursuit of high examination results and the reproduction of lessons in the mode of the Ofsted Good and Outstanding categories. This makes it difficult for teachers, even when they are keen, to enact more divergent curriculum approaches such as Enquiry Based Learning (EBL). At a more general level this is replicated across Europe (Leat, Thomas & Reid).
The contrast between dominant and non-dominant activity has been evident in the work which the authors and colleagues (all linked to The Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, CfLaT) have undertaken to support teachers and schools to use EBL. This engagement has built on a foundation of Thinking Skills, Metacognition and Learning to Learn, and has included activities such as:
- Publication of the 10 issue a year Learning and Teaching Update featuring many EBL articles;
- Conferences on EBL in 2012 and 2013;
- An email list distributing EBL contacts, news and resources;
- A PG Certificate in Innovative Pedagogy and Curriculum featuring EBL.
This paper draws on these experiences, through the following research questions:
- What challenges/contradictions emerge for teachers in enacting EBL in a performative culture?
- What impact does EBL university activity have on teachers in their struggle with the dominant activity?
- How do teachers manage the contradiction between the dominant activity and EBL?
Leat D, Thomas U, Reid A. The Epistemological Fog in Realising Learning to Learn in European Curriculum Policies. European Educational Research Journal 2012, 11(3), 400- 412. Sannino, A. (2008) Sustaining a non-dominant activity in school. Journal of Educational Change, 9, p329-338 Edwards, A. (2005) Relational agency: Learning to be a resourceful practitioner, International Journal of Educational Research, 43, pp168-182
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