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A sociocultural analysis of mandated curriculum change: the implementation of a new senior physics curriculum in New Zealand schools

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We analyse the implementation of a new New Zealand physics curriculum from a socio-cultural perspective. We explore the development of the curriculum document and examine the obstacles to its implementation. Change was compromised by the lack of any intersubjective linkage between teachers and the curriculum designers. The teachers' own community of practice was most influential in how implementation occurred. Curriculum change processes and discourses must be made transparent so that teachers can have a framework for 'dereification' of a curriculum document into their classroom practices. Without planning for teachers' participation in the negotiation of curriculum meanings, curriculum developers themselves become marginalized, and the cultural objects they have developed will be adopted in unanticipated ways.

Keywords: New Zealand; communities of practice; curriculum development; physics curriculum; sociocultural theory; teacher change

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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