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Teachers who initiate curriculum innovations: Motivations and benefits

Emo, Wendy (2010) Teachers who initiate curriculum innovations: Motivations and benefits. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

What explains teacher-initiated curriculum innovation? Sparse but consistent literature in theories of motivation, teacher career development, teacher identity, and change in education shows that teachers value complexity and the opportunity to challenge themselves. Teachers who innovate often were motivated by the desire to effect social change or by the realisation that curriculum presentations could be more effective. How teachers work through self-initiated innovations and how the self-initiated innovations affected their identities was not well defined by the works consulted. To better explain teachers’ self-initiated innovations, the main aim of this study was to explore the views of South Dakota teachers concerning their involvement in initiating curriculum change. Interviews were conducted with 30 teachers of students in grades K-12 (ages 5 through 18) and in a university in South Dakota, United States of America. Interviews were conducted both with teachers who identified themselves as current innovators (Phase 1) and with teachers who learned about, planned, and implemented the Storyline approach to curriculum design (Phases 2 and 3). For Phases 2 and 3, Storyline provided a common context for innovation and the essential elements of flexibility, adaptability, and challenge for the teachers. Teachers’ motivators for innovating included increasing student engagement and compensating for the failure of the textbooks, and to a lesser degree, relieving personal boredom and fulfilling a desire to have fun. Inspiration came from professional development experiences of their own choosing as well as conversations with their own children or with colleagues. Teachers predicted benefits and difficulties and planned accordingly for maximum student benefit. Teachers did not predict the number and nature of the benefits resulting from their innovations, particularly in areas such as personal fun, student initiative, and parent involvement. University teachers found they could adapt the narrative, imaginative teaching method Storyline from K-12 education and discovered the method effective and engaging.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: teachers' lives innovation teacher motivation Storyline teaching
Academic Units: The University of York > Educational Studies (York)
Depositing User: Wendy Emo
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2011 12:26
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1136

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