Changing curriculum practice: An innovative case study

Year: 1994

Author: Cusworth, Robyn, Dickinson, Anna

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In New South Wales the early 1990's have seen wide-ranging changes advocated both in the ways schools are organised and in most curriculum areas. Despite the directives of the centralised Board of Studies, it is teachers who must implement curriculum initiatives. In studying how planned educational change can occur, it is important to gain some understanding of both the micro and macro levels-what change means from the teacher, student, principal and parent perspectives as well as the institutional factors which influence change (governments, unions, school systems, etc.). This study has focused on the process of curriculum change at the micro level.

This paper reports on an exploratory longitudinal study which has monitored one primary teacher's changing curriculum practice in an urban government school over four years. The case study has used a range of data-gathering strategies (observational, "conversational" interviews, team teaching, videotaping, survey) to examine the change process experienced by one teacher coming to terms with new curriculum documents and an innovative approach to teaching and learning.

Some of the factors necessary for change to occur at the classroom level are highlighted, including the importance of interpersonal relationships and ongoing professional development opportunities. Change in curriculum practice in this instance is portrayed as a gradual interactive and multidimensional process (Fullan, 1990).