Date of Award
Master of Education
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts
Associate Professor Jan Gray
Dr Christine Cunningham
Australia is implementing its first national curriculum, the Australian Curriculum, after many years of debate regarding the validity and practicality of such an undertaking. Although it is widely accepted that “the effects of education policies and programs depend chiefly on what teachers make of them” (Cohen & Ball, 1990, p. 233), little is known about teachers’ perceptions of the Australian Curriculum or their prior experiences of mandatory curriculum reform as they begin engaging with this unique reform. To provide a means of exploring these perceptions and experiences, 18 teachers, four Head of Learning Areas (HOLAs) and the principal from a regional high school in Western Australia (WA) were asked to reflect on their experiences with curriculum change in general, and the Australian Curriculum in particular. This occurred at different points throughout 2011/12 giving an insight into ‘what they will make of’ the Australian Curriculum.
Four lenses of typical experiences and perceptions emerged during the study. These lenses are presented as four composite narratives that show the depth and breadth of the curriculum reform experience for the participants. Results indicated that the participants were yet to experience mandated curriculum reform in WA they perceived to be successful. Dispositions towards reform were both being effected by such past experiences and affecting reactions to current experiences. Peer support was demonstrated to be a safety net for the participants in the absence of clear guidelines and resources. Additional to those absent needs, the participants conveyed a need for greater prescription accompanying the AC in this clime of frequent and increasingly accountability focused mandated reform.
Lyle, J. (2013). The reality of reform : teachers reflecting on curriculum reform in Western Australia. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/698