In between the lines of the Primary language curriculum: teacher involvement in the process of curriculum change
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The process of curriculum change and reform can be challenging and complex. It is an area which is often neglected both in educational scholarship and contemporary debate, particularly within the Irish context. This is despite the fact that curriculum change is a fundamental aspect of curriculum development, which can have significant repercussions for the education sector. This study investigates the dissemination of the Primary Language Curriculum to gain an insight into a critical and contemporary period of curriculum change in Ireland. This social constructivist study adopts a case study approach to examine the perceptions and experiences of teachers during this process of dissemination. Through conducting surveys, focus groups and interviews, this study highlights teacher involvement in the process of curriculum change. This study found that although teachers were represented during the design and development of this curriculum, there was a lack of awareness surrounding the consultation which took place and the majority of teachers did not participate in this process. This study found that there was also a lack of awareness amongst teachers about the nature of this curriculum change both prior to and during the dissemination of the Primary Language Curriculum. Although the majority of participants felt that it was necessary to change the existing curriculum, there was evidence of resistance to change and uncertainty about the forthcoming changes amongst a cohort of teachers. This study also found that many principals were dissatisfied with aspects of the initial continuous professional development which they received and this study attributed a number of factors to this. Lastly, this study found that the amendment which was made to Circular 61/2015, which allowed greater time for the planned implementation process, had a positive influence on the dissemination of the Primary Language Curriculum and was indicative of effective communication between the external and internal stakeholders of the curriculum. This study includes a range of recommendations relating to curriculum consultations, awareness-raising, professional development, the role of principals in curriculum reforms and teacher engagement in curriculum change, which, if followed, could have a positive impact on future efforts to implement new curricula in primary schools in Ireland.
KeywordsPrimary language curriculum
Language (ISO 639-3)eng
PublisherMary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
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