Teachers' perspectives on the implementation of expectations-based curricula /
Wirag, Timothy A.
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This qualitative study examines teachers' experiences implementing new standardized curricula in Ontario schools. This new curricula contained several policy changes and an expectations based format which directed what knowledge and skills students were to demonstrate in each subject. This level of specificity of subject-content served to control teachers in relation to curricula; however, data suggested that at the same time, teachers had enormous flexibility in terms of pedagogy. Four secondary teachers who were implementing a Grade 10 course in the 2000-2001 school year participated in the study. The qualitative framework supported the researcher's emphasis on examining the participants' perspectives on the implementation of expectation-based curricula. Data collected included transcripts from interviews conducted with teacher participants and a representative of the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, field notes, and a research journal. Many of the factors often cited in the literature as influencing implementation practices were found to have affected the participants' experiences of curriculum implementation: time, professional development, and teachers' beliefs, particularly concerning students. In addition, the format of the policy documents proved to both control and free teachers during the implementation process. Participants believed that the number of specific expectations did not provide them an opportunity to add content to the curriculum; at the same time, teachers also noted that the general format of the policy document allowed them to direct instruction to match students' needs and their own teaching preferences. Alignment between teachers' beliefs about education and their understanding of the new curriculum affected the ways in which many participants adapted during the implementation process.