Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Kosunen, T. (1994). Making sense of the curriculum: Experienced teachers as curriculum makers and implementers. In I. Carlgren, G. Handal, & S. Vaage (Eds.), Teachers' minds and actions: Research on teachers' thinking and practice (pp. 247-259). London: Falmer Press.

The purpose of this study was to understand the interpretations of more and less experienced primary-school teachers in Finland concerning the written curriculum and to ascertain how the intended curriculum is related to instructional planning and teaching practices. Some of the experienced teachers had been members of the curriculum planning team that developed the written curriculum. The author used questionnaires, planning simulations, think-aloud techniques, journal writing, and interviews. This book chapter focuses on the curriculum makers, those who were part of the development team. These teachers had internalized the core idea of the curriculum innovation, and used the curriculum as intended by the designers of the national curriculum and by themselves as developers of the local curriculum. They stressed the importance of using the written curriculum as the basis for their instructional planning. They used student-centered teaching methods, long-term planning, and theme-based teaching more often than other teachers in the study. The curriculum makers' role as an alternative to isolated teachers is discussed. They fostered collegiality on their campuses and between schools. Kosunen suggests that by listening to the stories and examining the theories, assumptions, and beliefs of teachers who are curriculum makers, we can learn more about how teachers think and act in terms of curriculum planning and use.

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