Enablements and constraints on teachers' curriculum work: What teachers do with the official curriculum.

Year: 2012

Author: Woods, Annette, Dillon-Wallace, Julie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This paper reports data from the "What teachers do with the official curriculum survey", undertaken as part of a collaborative research project between researchers at QUT, the Queensland Studies Authority and the Queensland Teachers' Union, and with the support of the Australian Research Council. Almost three thousand public school teachers responded to this survey, representing teachers and curriculum leaders in primary, secondary and special education school settings. The survey was administered at a time when the curriculum context of Australia was shifting from a system of State/Territory curriculum control to a centralised national curriculum.

While much can be said about the data collected in this survey, in this paper we unpack teachers' responses when asked about supports and interruptions to the practices of planning for and teaching their students. Issues related to equity of student access to quality education, the material effects of education budget constraints, and mandatory assessment regimes all feature as factors worth further investigation. The paper calls upon a framework of informed professionalism and informed prescription (Luke, Woods & Weir, 2012) to investigate these teacher reports further. The claim is that those practices that provide space for professional expertise and development are seen as supportive, while those that represent an overly prescriptive systemic approach are considered interruptions to teachers' work. The analysis problematises current policy solutions being offered as a way forward to the achievement of a high quality, high equity education system.