Mapping the everyday/everynight work of teachers who are planning from the Australian Curriculum for students with disability

Abstract:
The Australian Curriculum has a clear goal of equity and excellence for all school students. Students with disability have a moral and legal entitlement to access the Australian Curriculum requiring significant change in educational policy and practice. While the moral and legal obligations are evident, there is little practical guidance about how to support teachers to enact the significant cultural shift from traditional classroom planning practices towards equitable education practices that promote learning for all. This presentation reports on research that sought to understand how teachers negotiate the meaning of the Australian Curriculum texts in their everyday/everynight practices as they plan for equitable education for students with disability. An indepth investigation of the curriculum planning practices of four Queensland primary teachers was conducted using an institutional ethnographic approach (Smith, 2005). Several data maps were created with teachers to visually represent how these teachers navigated across 31 curriculum organising texts in their individual and classroom planning. Teachers identified three types of texts - education-authority, school-based and teacher-generated texts as coordinating and mediating their curriculum planning practices. It was evident that the preferred or ruling texts mediated the daily work of these four teachers. Local actions arising from using the texts contributed to maintaining the institutional status quo. The teachers valued teacher-generated texts as they had greater agency in the creation and enactment of these texts. Significantly it was another document created by the policy officers within the system that functioned as textual hub that simultaneously coordinated teacher actions, and restricted the access of students with a disability to the Australian Curriculum. The data maps and researcher analysis will be shared as a way for leaders to understand the everyday/everynight work of teachers, and how teacher practices are coordinated and mediated by texts. Teachers decide what is in and what is left out when planning curriculum and learning sequences for their class. Unless they are paying astute attention to matters of equity as they make these decisions there is a risk of minimising student engagement with the depth and breadth of all of the dimensions of the Australian Curriculum. By understanding first the complexity of the curriculum planning process and the function of different types of texts, leaders can then support teachers more effectively to implement this vital policy change to enable students with disabilities to access their full learning entitlement.

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