A question of balance: Conflicting interests of a school-based curriculum change agent

Year: 2001

Author: Fitzpatrick, Bob, Taylor, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper recounts the story of a teacher (first author) adopting the role of a school-based curriculum change agent (Fullan, 1993) and dealing with emotional and intellectual tensions thrown up by day-to-day incidents. Two of Schubert's perspective's of the curriculum, cultural reproduction and social reconstruction, are used as interpretive 'lenses' to understand the nature of competing curriculum-related interests of colleagues in different domains: school administrators, fellow teachers, Education Department trainers. By means of the process of learning reflexively through writing (Richardson, 2000), the teacher (cum researcher) explores the source of the internal turmoil in his professional life, and clarifies confusions that had earlier promoted self-doubt and cynicism about the viability of his change agentry role. Through an autobiographical act of re-viewing critical incidents (Tripp, 1993) and reflecting critically on them, a learning process emerges that provides insights into socio-cultural forces shaping the teacher's interactions with a range of colleagues. The application of the dialectic to his reflections emphasises the need to learn through continued practice for change, a principle lying at the heart of the action learning process. Within the paper, there are lessons about emotional understanding as well as self-study research epistemology.