Primary and secondary teachers shaping the science curriculum : the influence of teacher knowledge

Keys, Philip Mark (2003) Primary and secondary teachers shaping the science curriculum : the influence of teacher knowledge. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis reports on how primary and secondary teachers' knowledge influenced the implementation of a Year 1-10 science syllabus which was introduced into Queensland in 1999. The study investigated how the teachers' knowledge of the primary and secondary teachers differed and how teachers' knowledge impacted on the implementation of the science curriculum. Teacher knowledge otherwise referred to as teacher beliefs and practices has been acknowledged as an influence in the implementation of curriculum. Yet, a considerable portion of curriculum evaluation has focused on measuring the successful implementation of the intended curriculum and not the enactment. As a result, few studies have investigated how the curriculum has been influenced by teacher knowledge or have compared primary and secondary teacher knowledge. Furthermore, in order to provide a seamless grade one to ten science syllabus it is necessary to compare primary and secondary teacher beliefs and practices to determine whether or not the beliefs and practices held by these two groups of teachers is similar or dissimilar and how these beliefs and practices in turn, impact on the implementation of a curriculum. The research adopted Eisner's (1991) methodology of educational criticism and used a comparative case study approach to investigate the teacher knowledge of four primary and three secondary teachers. Data were presented as a dialogue between three composite characters, a lower primary, a middle/upper primary and a secondary teacher. The results revealed that teachers utilised three sets of beliefs to shape the implementation of the science curriculum. These were categorised as expressed, entrenched and manifested beliefs. The primary and secondary teachers did possess similar sets of beliefs and knowledge bases but their strategies for implementation in some instances were different. Furthermore, these sets of beliefs and knowledge bases served as motivator or an inhibitor to teach science in the manner that they did. A theoretical model was developed to explain how these sets of beliefs influenced the curriculum. This study provides professional developers with a framework to observe teacher beliefs in action and thereby to assist in the facilitation of curriculum change.

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ID Code: 15920
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Watters, James & English, Lyndall
Keywords: Beliefs, Change, Coaching, Craft Knowledge, Curriculum Enactment, Educational Criticism, Ethnographic Fiction, Mentoring, Narrative, Organisational Development, Pedagogical Knowledge, Practical Theories, Professional Development, Science Teaching, Teacher Knowledge
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Philip Mark Keys
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:53
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 14:39

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