Year: 1992


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper, I provide an analysis of one teacher exploring future options for her social studies curriculum. The analysis demonstrates how prominent the `person' is in deliberations about curriculum. It is presented to contrast with common perceptions that curriculum development is a technical or mechanical process. The study comes in the wider context of growing recognition that decisions about curriculum are guided by personal practical knowledge and that studies of teacher thinking and teacher knowledge provide a means of understanding such decision making processes. Common perceptions of curriculum development and their sources are briefly explored, followed by the case study which provides an alternative view of curriculum planning. The case study examines both the process of the teacher's thinking about her curriculum and the sources of some of her ideas. The stimulus for this paper comes largely from my own teaching and more particularly my concerns about the initial perceptions of curriculum held by my students in a graduate degree course in curriculum. These students are practising teachers who are up-grading their qualifications and therefore would be expected to enter the course with some experience or knowledge of curriculum development. Each semester I begin the course by asking my new students what their perceptions of curriculum are and I am greeted with a range of responses, most of which are negative. The most common perception of curriculum is as something outside of their concern and control, not connected with their daily experiences of classroom teaching. As one teacher wrote: