A case study of curriculum implementation : change, loss and grief in Health and physical education in the New Zealand curriculum.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This thesis explores two teachers' perspectives and practice through making explicit the various discourses they operated in. By exploring these discourses, teachers may be able to understand the ways they conceptualise curriculum and consider how their own practices in the classroom are informed by and reflect particular beliefs. It is hoped that through this process opportunities exist to explore new ways of working that ultimately benefit children in classrooms. The purpose of this study is to investigate how change, loss and grief as a relatively new learning context in Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1999) is conceptualized and implemented in the classroom. The perspectives and practice of two primary school teachers were used in a case study design to explore how this particular aspect of health education is implemented. The process of teaching and learning is extremely complex and exploring it brought many challenges. The various discourses that seemed to guide, shape and determine the case study teachers' classroom practice are examined. The dominant discourse of the teacher as an 'expert' was pervasive and was illustrated in many of the teachers ideas, beliefs and practices. This discourse seemed to work implicitly to influence the way that these teachers conceptualized change, loss and grief and how they then implemented this topic in the classroom. The implications of this study highlight the crucial role of specific and focused professional development in enabling teachers to recognize and critique their own practice within their existing teaching and learning belief systems. Through this process, teachers may be able to explore new teaching pedagogy that could challenge the existing and dominant discourses that operate in the classroom. The study raises questions about the effectiveness of existing professional development programmes in changing classroom practice and suggests some specific strategies that may more effectively close the gap between theory and practice.