Negotiating place and space in a school-wide curriculum innovation: a place for the animals

Year: 2013

Author: Lynch, Julianne, Herbert, Sandra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

School-wide curriculum innovations are complex fields of practice, held together by a cast of heterogeneous actors who put various and diverse discourses to work in their everyday efforts to shape their work. This paper draws upon ethnographic data collected in a large regional primary school that since the beginning of 2012 has implemented a school-wide science specialism. In this paper, we focus on one feature of the initiative - classroom animals. We explore the discursive construction of ‘classroom animals' in relation to teachers work and student learning, framing our discussion around three dichotomies found in the data that raise questions about: the nature of science education; what it means to be a good teacher in this context; and, what it means to be a good classroom animal. Tensions between canonical, disciplinary approaches to science education and broader, cross-curricular and critical approaches contribute to the broad context of this paper, and implications for embedding science teaching and learning in the everyday work of primary teachers and students are discussed.