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The Teacher Commonplace: Teachers as Curriculum Makers

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Amal Sidani

on 24 November 2015

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Transcript of The Teacher Commonplace: Teachers as Curriculum Makers

Module 6: The Teacher Commonplace: Teachers as Curriculum Makers
Did the renewal of curriculum Schwab advocated occur?
Not really.
There still is:
- dispersed interests & efforts
- ongoing crisis in the field
- work on the same theoretical ground
- the asking of wrong questions

The moribund state of curriculum is mirrored in teacher & teacher education because of:
- absence of well-defined knowledge bases
- lack of research concerning program effectiveness
- lack of large-scale studies
- existence of conflicting philosophical decisions
- shortage of trained teachers
- no dialogue with policy makers
- the framing of wrong decisions

Schwab’s descendants collectively use practical inquiry to understand the developments in the field, especially the teacher as curriculum maker image

Teacher as curriculum maker: a retelling
The commonplaces of curriculum
as bodies of experience
Schwab’s commonplaces of teacher, learner, subject matter and millieu were foundational to his notion of the practical and the bodies of experience.

Clandinin & Connelly and others narrowed gaps between curriculum studies, teaching and teacher education stating that curriculum necessarily includes the teacher and is a multistoried process. (p. 286)
Return to Schwab
The core of Schwab’s practical was the particularities of human experience – and practical knowledge. His practical confronted those engaged in “flights from the field”.

- explained how eclecticism was a necessary feature of the deliberative process, and why deliberation was necessary in making decisions
- laid groundwork for Schon’s ideas about reflective practice.
- envisioned professors and educators
working together and conducting
research consistent with

Development of the teacher as curriculum maker image - after Schwab
Despite Schwab being considered one of the 5 most influential leaders in curriculum studies, his practical did not take the form of a taxonomy. Through
William Reid
Ian Westbury
and their work our understanding of the image of teacher as curriculum maker is enlarged. Their contributions are outlined on p. 286.

Next, we will discuss his descendants:
Self Study
- considered the
5th of Schwab's commonplaces
(as per Clarke & Erickson); also called practitionar inquiry
- the study of one’s self, one’s actions, one’s ideas, as well as, the ‘not self’.
- includes “the autobiographical, historical, cultural and political and takes a thoughtful look at texts read, experiences had, people known, and ideas considered and their connections to teacher education practices.” (p. 292)

Those involved in self-study improve university teaching and seek to confirm or challenge understandings, gain additional perspective through the use of multiple methods, and deliberate, test, and judge, educational practice for the purpose of building a teaching and teacher education community. (p. 292)

Clandinin & Connelly: Suggest a continuum, the first a narrative of one’s own practice, the second a narrative account of oneself in relationship to one’s practice, and the third, a narrative of a researcher who set out to do something different and inevitably came to learn about self.
It is the vehicle through which Schwab's ideas about deliberations could be realized.
It is is a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary reason for engaging in action research is to assist the “actor” in improving and/or refining his or her actions.

(Featured on the website of ASCD -
Chapter 1: What is Action Research
by Richard Sagor)
Portfolio development
Elliot Eisner:
reimagining schools through arts based approaches
- stated that teaching is a kind of artistry
- Abstract theory is limited, for each child needs to be known individually…each situation…was unique. “It was a grasp of these distinctive features that the teachers needed to make good decisions in the classroom.”
(p. 287)

Video -->
wisdom of
Technical rationalism (TR)
views teacher knowledge as theoretically based
- Tyler’s views represent TR while Schwab’s practical limits extreme forms of TR
- In TR, theory and practice are split. This split is coined “the devil’s bargain” and viewed as the “wrong path” of splitting knowing and action  It is today’s challenge

- TR privileged theory over practice and resulted in Process Product studies which rely on student achievement scores to prove effects of teacher behaviors
- With time it has been thought of as too prescriptive and lacking where results were concerned. In academic literature, it was overtaken by qualitative research, but it continues to influence public policy arena
- Student test scores still monitor school and teacher success
- The theory-practice divide Schwab described escalated into a theory-practice-policy split.
Connelly and Clandinin presented the teacher as curriculum maker image and stated, after research, that historically, curriculum was conceived as an instrument of school reform, and teachers as mediators between curriculum and student outcomes
- emphasized that teacher as curriculum maker strengthens view of teachers as knowing and knowledgeable human beings.
Fox Seymor & others
Fox lived his version of the practical with others in Jerusalem and encouraged scholarship on the Schwab-Fox research line. (contributions listed on p. 288)

Elbaz (1981) recognized that Schwab’s and Bruner’s original structure of the disciplines work did not take into account the “social and cultural implications” of choices of substantive and syntactic structures of knowledge.

argued for “time” as a fifth commonplace
. She recognized that teaching context has an impact on teachers’ images of their professional selves, Ben-Peretz & Schonmann talk about classrooms as practical places and argue that teacher leaders need teacher lounges to nonjudgmentally express their knowing with their peers. Similarly, students need to feel that their thinking is accepted as an attempt, not a definitive measure of powers/limitation.

Schulman-Schwab vein
Schwab's practical had influence on Schulman & his students' development of:
1. pedagogical content knowledge:
Centered on the most regularly taught subjects, the most useful forms of representation of those ideas and includes an understanding of what makes the learning of specific topics easy/hard, and conceptions/preconceptions that students bring with them. Foundational is Schwab's ideas about substantive and syntactical knowledge

2. notion of wisdom of practice:
integrity of teaching

3. development and use of case studies in teaching:
where Scwab's preference for "narrative inquiry" is emphasized over "rhetoric conclusions". (p. 290)
Michael Connelly:
Teachers as curriculum makers
- Introduced the notion of personal practical knowledge
- embraced the stance of teachers as knowers
- promoted schools as practical places
- inquired into particularity of experience
- developed the use of narrative inquiry* in schools, with and by teachers
- named three common places of narrative inquiry: temporality, sociality and place

* more on narrative inquiry on:
Views of knowledge (p. 284)
the Image of Teachers
as Curriculum Makers
Action Research*
On to

Narrative Practices
Interdisciplinary Efforts
Teachers Groups
- Nona Lyon wrote a book
With Portfolio in Hand

(significant work in Portfolio literature)
- It is a medium through which teachers can reflect on teaching and develop their knowledge
- Teachers construct, present and reflect on its contents.
- It is used as a primary assessment tool
- There is also online teacher portfolio development
- demonstrate that teachers are knowledge creators and users and help elevate teaching as a form of scholarship producing verifiable knowledge (p. 294)
- contribute to knowledge growth in the field


Sandra R. Stewart, S.R. , Baker, D. & Macdonald, C.J. (1994) One Classroom Teacher's Personal Narrative of Collaborative Research on the Teaching Practicum,
Educational Action Research, 2:3, 339-346,
Personal Practical Knowledge:
A Study of Teachers' Classroom Images
King: (in press)
- Draws on Noffke’s observation that there has been minor attention of theories and practices that have been created by people of color.
- King argues that perspectives from those of colour are absent in the teacher education curriculum
- King calls for a blues epistemology which
“incorporates the worldview perspectives
and social vision of people of colour and is
intended to promote the cultural well-
being of diverse populations and counter
the dominant ideology” (263).
Controversy #1: Teacher Education Curriculum and the Professional Knowledge Base
- Curriculum was altered by shifting ideas of educational accountability which relied on results instead of resources
- There was supposition that educational practices and policies should be single-minded by scientific research
- Assessment shifted from inputs (qualifications, commitment, content, and structure) and the configuration of these with skilled knowledge and standards to measurable and trustworthy results
Controversy #2: Does the curriculum adequately expose prospective teachers to the science of reading?
What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching about Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning Published by: the National Council on teacher Quality (NCTQ)
- This study relied on syllabi given by students and student opinions
- Each course or institution (72) was rated on 3 factors
o Quality of required texts
o Course objective and lecture time
o Kind of assignment
- Courses and institutions were given a passing grade even if course materials barely referenced the five components of good reading instruction

- Almost all of the courses/institutions did not receive a passing grade
- Report concluded “Many courses fostered ideas that were incompatible with science, such as the idea that learning to read is a natural process developed through experience with literature” (271).
Controversy #3:
Teacher Education Curriculum and Social Justice 272-274
Gary Skyves
introduction to Teaching as the Learning Profession: Handbook of Policy and Practice p. 267
- Argued that the enhancement of American education depends on the development of extremely qualified educators
- The improvement of American education relies on the development of a highly qualified teacher workforce inspired with the information, skills and outlook to promote outstanding knowledge in all of America’s students

What does it mean to treat the teacher education curriculum as text?
- Looking carefully at the discussion of the field
- Including scholarly literature and unofficial and informal texts
(i.e. news, magazine articles, website statements, blogs, etc).
Analytic perspective refers to
“reading the teacher education curriculum as political text” (262).
This is based off of three assumptions:
1. Curriculum can be thought of and read as text
2. Any curriculum can be read not just as text but as political text
3. Teacher education curriculum is made up of explicit texts and subtexts
The Professionalization Agenda - p. 268

o Attempts to make teaching a profession research-based that differs professional education
o Has the goal that all teachers are completely prepared and have proper certification in agreement with the professional information and principles
o Teaching is a knowledge-based profession that is built on formal education that is research based. A governing body licenses teachers Example: Ontario College of Teachers and must educate according to standards for professional practice

What does it mean to treat the teacher ed. curriculum as a text?
Two Issues: Interpreting the science of
reading controversy as a political text
Chronicle of Higher Education – Wilson
- Teacher education programs looked at curriculum from a social justice aspect. It was noted that some students quit the education program for they felt the curriculum and testing should be on knowledge and learning to teach children versus learning about political and social factors
- Social justice curriculum controversy is related to politics and the purpose of teacher education
Teacher Education In The United States: Curriculum Variation
Ziechner’s Four Paradigms (p. 264)
1. Behaviourist
– emphasizing the improvement of and emphasized the development of preset teaching skills in teacher candidates
2. Personalistic
– based on future teachers personal growth and mental maturity
3. Traditional-craft
– teaching considered as an art that is passed down by expert teachers to future teachers
4. Inquiry Oriented
– Assisting future teachers in development of capability for ‘reflective action’

Tom’s developed a framework

- with 3 dimensions that got at differences among inquiry-oriented approaches

The arena of the problematic
– ranges from the spotlight on teacher learning process to the interrelation of education with other societal establishments
The Model of Inquiry

– “Tom’s Models of inquiry continuum ranged from commonsense approaches that offered the least guidance to teacher educators and separated knowledge from action to discipline based approaches that offered the most guidance for teacher educators and attempted to link knowledge and action The arena of the problematic – ranging from a focus on the teacher learning process to one on the interrelation of education and other societal institution” (265).
The ontological status of educational phenomena

– educational phenomena were stable, collectively created events held together by a specific time and space.
Tom's Findings
“Within the inquiry oriented approach there were ideological epistemological, ontological, and structural differences that were not necessarily compatible with a critical perspective. It was possible to have different forms of inquiry-oriented teacher education that were complementary with other paradigms or conceptual orientations” (265).

Teacher Education as a Bridge?
Unpacking Curriculum Controversies

- Found curriculum concerns related to the racial issues rooted in it at the time
- Proposed to analyze the curriculum to uncover the messages/stories that were being told about race and racism, the assumptions being made, points of view, what was omitted, valued, and devalued
Curriculum as Racial Text
Castnell and Pinar
The Deregulation
o Knowledge and familiarity on pedagogy has no importance on student success
o Favours different teaching routes – teacher candidates are familiar with the subject matter that they are teaching however, are not prepared in pedagogy, teaching, learning, and assessment
o “Questions related to the teacher education curriculum are basically irrelevant since it is assumed that any bright young person who knows subject matter can teach, picking up other information
while on the job” (269).
John Furlong
Social Justice and Power
Two Fundamental Matters
Schwab's descendents
1 -->
Has to do “with science, including disputes about whether there is a science of reading” (272).

2 -->
Has to do “with the control of teachers’ work and with current attempts to shift control of teacher preparation away from a higher education” (272).
- Assumptions are consistent with the evidence-based education movement
More on evidence-based teaching:
- “Divisions about teaching and assessing student’s learning were rightly made, not by teachers but at a larger school and national levels” (272).
- The approval of this idea ended ‘an era’ when original teacher education had been at the centre of national policy debates. This ideas was also demoted ‘to the back waters’ where at the present time it still is

- a government intervention in initial teacher preparation occurred
o Those who were in higher education with a focus on theory were noted to be more connected with conventional forms of professionalism that focus on prioritizing individual knowledge, autonomy, and responsibility
o What was needed?
• A more practical component to teaching emphasizing training
instead of education
the conservative era:
1. ”Assumed dichotomy between social justice and knowledge” (273).

2. “Relationship between curriculum and ideology” (273).
- Non-supporters of the Social justice aspect of teaching feel knowledge is not a focus and teacher’s role is to be pleasant and children feel worthy.
- “Knowledge shaped by interest and it reflects the social, economical and political relationship in society” (273).

- Power is the underlying issue with social justice approach to education. An organization that is opposed to social justice approach to education is called National Association of Scholars
- Their stance is that teacher education programs not be based on ideology and the focus to be on neutral viewpoint and core knowledge
- Opponents of social justice agenda feel that education should not be about ones values rather should be based on common sense, being neutral, using objective evidence and not be interested or involved in politics

Cochran-Smith, M., & Demers, K. E. (2008). Teacher education as a bridge?. In F. M. Connelly, M. F. He, & J. Phillion (Eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction (pp. 261-281). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Craig, C. J., & Ross, V. (2008). Cultivating the image of teachers as curriculum makers. In F. M. Connelly, M. F. He, & J. Phillion (Eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction (pp. 282-305). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Clandinin, D. J. (1985). Personal practical knowledge:
A study of teachers’ classroom images. Curriculum Inquiry, 15(4), 361-385.
What is the article about?
This article discusses
a study
based on research concerning how a teacher’s image of her own teaching practice is reflected in her actual teaching practices, as well as her personal life. Clandinin gathered this research through participation in classroom episodes over a two year period with two primary teachers.
Why was the study undertaken?
Clandinin (1985) believes that the image concept is important from the standpoint of curriculum because of widespread disillusionment concerning the work of curriculum implementation (Fullan and Pomfret, 1977). Clandinin states that part of the problem with the implementation was that teachers were expected to “facilitate someone else’s intentions”. (p.362). Also, it was a common belief that teachers do not possess a “body of knowledge (p.362) separate from their subject matter knowledge.
Clandinin’s study focuses on
the special knowledge a teacher
possesses which is a blend of
both theoretical and practical
knowledge, in addition to the
unique characteristics each
teacher possesses and which are expressed in specific contexts.
Why was the concept of teaching “image”
chosen for this study?
“The idea of ‘image’ is one form of personal practical knowledge, the name given to this special practical knowledge of teachers” (Clandinin, 1985; Connelley and Dienes, 1982).( Clandin,1985,p.361)
Clandinin (1985) believes that this image is reflected in the individual teachers’ practices, whether conscious or not, and includes not just the teaching act itself, but any connected actions such as planning and evaluation. The image is an embodiment of each teacher’s personal narrative and encompasses “emotionality, morality and aesthetics”. (p.362)

The theoretical knowledge encompasses “ learning, teaching and curriculum” (p.361).
Clandinin (1985, p. 362 ) also contends that: “The phrase ‘personal and practical knowledge” is not new and “has been discussed in detail elsewhere”. (Connelly and Clandinin , 1984,1985).

Methodology of the Study
The two primary teachers participating in the study were Aileen and Stephanie.

An early Childhood Education teacher, Aileen has had 12 years of experience in kindergarten to grade 3. During the research period. She taught Junior and Senior kindergarten, being the only staff teacher using what she terms, “play-based approach” to teaching”. (Clandinin, 1985, p. 365). Stephanie teaches elementary classes and has 12 years teaching experience in inner-city schools. “During the research period, she taught a split Grade 1 and 2 class the first year and a Grade 1 class in the second”. (p.365)

The researcher spent three half days per week in Stephanie’s class from April 1981 to February ,1982, and the equivalent of one week in February and March,1982 in Aileen’s class.
The researcher gathered information through notes and interviews with both teachers.
How Each Teacher’s Image of the Classroom was
conceptualized by these teachers
Stephanie’s image of her classroom as ‘home” emerged gradually over the course the study. Her personal memories and experiences impacted on the choices she made about how the classroom should look and feel. This image was reflected in the view she had of her class as “family” where everyone was supported and cooperating,
yet allowed to be themselves.
Stephanie’s “image of classroom as home” connected her personal private life and her professional life, and included both emotional and moral dimensions. The combined entity formed her personal practical knowledge.

Stephanie’s “home” image was also reflected in the organization of class activities, the warm and supportive relationships she had with her students, her opening and closing class routines and how she incorporated themes she identified with “home” into the curriculum; for example, a Halloween theme, and baking and planting themes.

Aileen's Image
Aileen’s image of “language is the key” was reflected in her play-based kindergarten program, her graduate level study in a combined Early Childhood and Language Education program, and her tendency of equating children’s development cognitively with their language development.
The emotional dimension embodied aspects of relationships such as closeness and cooperation. The moral dimension was revealed in her verbal language about how a classroom should be a place where people can be “treated as individuals and humans”. (S.W.2, 63)”( Clandinin,1985,p.368).

There is a dialectic between the two purposes of the study: the practical understanding of each teacher, and the theoretical notion of personal practical knowledge, particularly image, as a language and perspective for inquiry. ( Clandinin, 1985, p.382).
Conclusion (cont'd)
There are at least two practical consequences of the research.

One is that the personal practical knowledge is viewed as both a language and perspective from which to view practices within schools. This stance attaches value and credit to the knowledge teachers possess.
The second consequence is that it provides a different perspective as to how schools might be improved, namely, by working with teachers instead of against them.
Thank you
for reading!
We look forward to hearing your ideas!
Schulman & Carnegie
's 10-year interdisciplinary study linking different professions (US)
International Conference on Reflective Practice
(UK) attended by delegates from over a dozen nations (last one was 2013); Reflective Practice journal http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/crep20/current
Narrative Matters Conference
(http://www.conferences.uvic.ca/confinfo/narrativematters/NM2016-Callforsubmissions.pdf) (Canada) Held bi-annually; explores the significance of narrative across a broad range of disciplines
Critical Friends Group (CFG)
- group of 8-12 educators who meet with a trained coach monthly for 2 hours
The National Reform Faculty
in Indiana http://www.nsrfharmony.org/
where teachers publish articles about their classroom practices
Teachers Helping Teachers
Cases for Teacher Development:
Preparing for the Classroom: 13 cases prepared by Ontario teachers with probing questions and a reading list

Silent No More: Voices of Courage in American Schools:
Teacher essays on teachers in literacy projects; narrated by 10 teachers who challenged the status quo.
*More on what Action Research is:
To get an idea, here's how to develop an effective teaching portfolio:
Here's an example of
a personal narrative by a teacher:
How to overcome
the dualistic perspective
teaching & curriculum:
Full transcript