Seeing the 'new' in light of the 'old': evolving interpretations of a new national English curriculum
This 2-year longitudinal study explores the process by which three populations of practitioners (mentors, co-ordinators, and teachers) interpreted a national curriculum involving a change in policies for teaching English as a foreign language. The analysis revealed that the process of managing the changes brought about by the new curriculum yielded 'dialogues of practice' between 'old' and 'new'. These dialogues engaged mentors, co-ordinators, and teachers alike in mediating between new understandings and old ones. It addresses the ways in which they made sense of the terminology of the new curriculum in light of the old curriculum, negotiated between new pedagogical content knowledge and ingrained conceptions of subject-matter teaching, adapted old understandings of testing to new conceptions of performance-assessment processes, and mediated between their need to preserve a sense of professional competence while feeling destabilized as 'novices' as they confronted innovative curricular practices. Participants' strategic need to 'survive' the changes resulted in the development of networks to support professional exchange and assist teachers in managing their way through the uncertainty of curricular change.