An exploration of teacher learning from an educative reform-oriented curriculum: Case studies of teacher curriculum use

Educative curriculum materials provide teachers with authentic opportunities to learn new skills and practices. Yet, research shows teachers use curriculum in different ways for different reasons, and these modifications could undermine the learning goals of the curriculum. Little research, however, has examined the variation in teacher use of educative curriculum and the impact on teacher learning. In this article, we use organizational theory's concept of sensemaking to examine teacher learning from educative curriculum. Utilizing a multiple-case study methodology, we explored the variation in how teachers utilized the same educative, reform-oriented science curriculum to plan for instruction in addition to the differences in teacher interpretation and learning about argumentation from the curriculum. Participants included five middle school science teachers who differed with respect to teaching experience, prior exposure to argumentation, and school settings, including suburban and rural and public and private schools. Findings indicate that some teachers used the curriculum as a resource solely to support student learning, and consequently did not utilize the educative aspects or recognize the intended support for teacher learning. Second, we found that the teachers who actively engaged in their own learning while adapting the curriculum to their context made learning gains, indicating a need for teacher active reflection to learn new practices. Our findings suggest a need to shift teachers’ perspectives from viewing curriculum as a source of activities to a resource to support their own learning and professional goals. This study raises questions and makes suggestions for future educative curriculum development and teacher preparation.

Marco-Bujosa, L., McNeill, K. L., González-Howard, M., & Loper, S. (2017). An exploration of teacher learning from an educative reform-oriented curriculum: Case studies of teacher curriculum use. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 54(2), 141-168.

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2016
Short Description: 
This study raises questions and makes suggestions for future educative curriculum development and teacher preparation.