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From curriculum guide to classroom practice: teachers' narratives of curriculum application

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Abstract:

The paper examines the implementation of an external written curriculum in the classroom. The study is based on observation of and interviews with 26 Israeli Bible teachers who followed a formal curriculum and used a teachers' guide. The study identified three types of curriculum narrative: the frame narrative, the task narrative, and the meta-narrative. Whereas both curriculum writers and teachers were conscious of the existence of the frame and task narratives, neither group was aware of the existence of the curriculum meta-narrative. Moreover, most teachers felt no obligation to adhere to the curriculum writers' frame narrative and suggested curriculum activities, and, indeed, some 80% of the curriculum tasks analysed in this study were devised by teachers, not suggested by curriculum writers. Teachers were also unaware of the curriculum writers' meta-narrative and constructed their own meta-narratives, which differed almost completely from that of the writers. This study reveals that the conception of teachers as 'obedient' to a written curriculum, which they interpret and adapt while preserving its essential principles, is inconsistent with the teachers' own curriculum thinking. That thinking, founded on narrative thought, understands both curriculum and teaching as revealed stories which are used as a source of stimulation and inspiration.

Keywords: Bible studies; Israeli education; curriculum guidelines; curriculum narratives; story; teaching tasks

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220270902927030

Affiliations: School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel 91905

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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