Breaking the mould: Transforming (HPE) curriculum from the inside out

Year: 2016

Author: Lambert, Karen, Alfrey, Laura, Penney, Dawn, O'Connor, Justen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Designing pre-service teacher education courses within a climate of National curriculum reform presents both a unique opportunity for transforming curriculum from the inside out and a chance to reflect upon the everyday tensions and affordances associated with such an environment. With the support of a small teaching and learning grant we have been able to reflect upon the design process of 4 units in a Bachelor of Education (Health and Physical Education) degree at Monash University with the aim of invigorating and infusing what we do and how we do it in alignment with recent National curriculum reform. This paper shares this process and considers the role (possibilities and tensions) of Teacher Education in prompting shifts in pedagogical thinking and critical readings of Australian/State curriculum policy. In addressing both the interpretative (i.e. making sense of policy) and design (i.e. rationalizing course, unit, class structure) dimensions of teaching in Higher Education the paper seeks to disrupt existing cultural practices by prioritising coherency and connectedness within new course frameworks. It does this in two ways. Firstly, we ‘break the mould’ by exploring ways in which to counter the tendency for fragmented, ‘silo’ style unit development in Higher Education. We do this by deploying the Monash Academy Better Teaching Better Learning framework as a reflective lens, unit design/production tool, and pedagogy. We then built a curriculum reform layer into the project by considering how curriculum policy (in our case the Australian/Victorian curricula in HPE) could ‘transform our teaching from the inside out’. This necessitated a shift from ‘content’ (the what) towards a more futures oriented and theoretically informed pedagogical approach to enhance teaching, learning and assessment in HPE. We do this by deploying the five propositions advocated by curriculum writers. By sharing our theoretical frameworks, research methods and preliminary findings present a useful model for engaging with methods of unit design, content choice, teaching and learning strategies and assessment that are fit-for-purpose, innovative and forward thinking.