In the article Teacher Voice and Ownership of the Curriculum Change, Kirk and Macdonald outline an analysis of two curriculum reform projects known as the National Professional Development Program (NPDP) and Queensland Syllabus Project (QSP) which were undertaken during the course of 1993-1998 (Kirk & Macdonald, 2001). The study is focused on teacher’s rights of curriculum reform conducted on Health and Physical Education in Australia. This study was aimed at responding to four main questions which are mentioned below:-
“1. What are the challenges of large-scale reform?
2. What support, for instance, is required for teacher to engage in curriculum change and sustain good practice once it is in place?
3. How can good practice be institutionalized so that all children across entire school system benefit?
4. How can competing and conflicting interests be reconciled in the educational outcomes schools are seeking to achieve?”
(Kirk & Macdonald, 2001, p. 551)
Furthermore it is significantly mentioned in the article that the study is primarily based on whether “teachers can experience ownership of the curriculum change” (Kirk & Macdonald, 2001, p. 551).
The researchers have exercised various data collection techniques, incorporating three primary methods during the course of the study named “interviews, document analysis and field observations” (Kirk & Macdonald, 2001, p. 551). The requisite data was analyzed using Bernstein’s theoretical framework, academic dissertation. The triangulation process in the data collection permits the prejudice level to remain fairly neutral.
The relevant literature on the subject of teacher’s participation in curriculum reform is lucid in the study. Kirk and Macdonald have included a variety of relevant literature to support their argument. This is in inline with Carl’s assertion that the framework used by the researchers in the study is relevant to determining teacher’s involvement in curriculum reform.
The assertions in this article are magnificently supported by the already existent literature. On the similar topic another expert named Tearle conducted a case study on the implantation of ICT. The study revealed that teacher’s involvement and empowerment through supporting them to develop strategies to manage and implement change are of great significance in any curriculum reform (Tearle, 2004). According to all of these previously mentioned authors; inclusion of teachers in any curriculum reform plays pivotal role in its successful implementation.
As an attempt to understand teacher’s position in the Australian Health and Physical Education curriculum reform, the researchers chose Bernstein’s framework to augment the dependency of the teachers undertaking with various stakeholders and to determine the effectiveness of their role. Kirk and Macdonald have profoundly based their study on a strong framework however it was very difficult to understand and explain the written framework. Even though, the researchers have included a detailed explanation of the framework in the preliminary section, the deficiency of writing it in an understandable manner could result in disregard of complete article by the reader.
As conclusion to all these points it becomes evident that teachers’ participation in curriculum change is important which is the result of many scholars extensive research on the topic. Despite the framework mentioned by Kirk and Machdolad, the contentions reflect previous findings in both literatures included in the papers and relevant material. The contentions reported in the article are indeed transferable to other contexts and situations.
Although inclusion of teachers in curriculum reform seems to be quite logical and simple to implement, the optimal involvement of teachers in the process is rarely seen in educational institutes around the world. For instance, in the recent Kindergarten and Cycle 1 “The New School Model” educational reform in the Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), not even a single teacher was part of the whole curriculum reform system. The Head Quarters Curriculum Division independently developed complete curriculum including all relevant materials. Since then in Abu Dhabi (UAE), the whole process of exclusion of teachers from curriculum reform has been having consequences in terms of resistance from majority of the teachers, administrators and parents. One of the arguments the Abu Dhabi Education Council-Curriculum Division faces on frequent basis is that the English Medium Subjects Curriculum does not fulfill students’ language needs. I strongly believe that the next evaluation of the current curriculum, which will commence in 2013-2014, should include teachers from all subjects, students, administrators, heads of faculty and parents for it to fulfill our students’ needs.