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Lee, Christine Kim-eng
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This study aims to bring to the fore what we need to know about how teachers engage with and what they do in curriculum planning in the particular context of curriculum reform in Singapore. In this study of a specialised independent school that offers its own diploma programme, its teachers are among the people who play a critical role with their involvement in curriculum. Teachers have the autonomy to plan and design curriculum modules. In the process, they make professional curricular decisions that impact the students’ pursuit of knowledge and learning. Curriculum planning is, however, a complex undertaking which has to be comprehended through the teachers’ own understanding of what they know about curriculum, and through their experience and enactment of the planning process in their actual practice. This has, hitherto, been little explored.

Given the significance of this aspect of teachers’ expanded role in planning, this study employs a qualitative case study method to examine the work of a team of teachers in the mathematics department as they planned and developed the various types of mathematics tasks contained in the module under their charge. The study drew data from observations of the teachers’ team meetings, interviews and the department’s curriculum documents. It examined the teachers’ understanding of curriculum that includes definitions and conceptions of curriculum in general and of mathematics in particular.

This study reveals that the teachers clearly value the opportunity to take a more active role in curriculum work. The findings inform how teachers operate beyond their conventional role as curriculum implementers when they are cast in the role of curriculum planners. The findings of this study could provide the school and its teachers fresh insights into the processes or ways in which the teachers operationalised their planning. It also serves to enable teachers to elicit learning points and have purposeful reflections of their planning and decision making experiences. It is also important to consider the demands and nature of the specific discipline that may shape teachers’ planning processes and deliberations.

In conclusion, this study could contribute to knowledge for policy-making, teacher education, and the professional development and growth of teachers from the perspective of teacher agency and involvement in a wider spectrum of curriculum. It is my hope that the findings of this study could contribute towards further developing and enhancing teachers’ professional competencies that are informed by a greater awareness and knowledge of curriculum theory and planning.
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QA11.2 Tan
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Appears in Collections:Doctor in Education (Ed.D.)

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