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Tensions in current curriculum reform and the development of teachers’ professional autonomy

Sioned Hughes, Helen Lewis Orcid Logo

The Curriculum Journal

Swansea University Author: Helen Lewis Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1002/curj.25

Abstract

Current curriculum reform in Wales provides an opportunity for teachers to have greater freedom to develop pedagogical approaches that meet the needs of their pupils. The Successful Futures report recommends that teachers should have a greater autonomy in choosing how to deliver the curriculum, and...

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Published in: The Curriculum Journal
ISSN: 0958-5176 1469-3704
Published: Wiley
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa53398
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Abstract: Current curriculum reform in Wales provides an opportunity for teachers to have greater freedom to develop pedagogical approaches that meet the needs of their pupils. The Successful Futures report recommends that teachers should have a greater autonomy in choosing how to deliver the curriculum, and ensuring it is done so in a manner that is meaningful and relevant to their pupils. Strengthening teachers’ agency in relation to pedagogy, however, can sometimes be difficult to achieve because, for example, of perceived issues around workload and accountability. There are many ‘off‐the‐peg’ or ready‐made solutions to the challenges of curriculum reform, and in many cases, schools are responding to such challenges using ready‐made or bespoke approaches. This paper explores the nature of the tensions between the drive to empower professional contributions to curriculum reform, and increase autonomy for teachers, and the existing professional practices. In particular, as an example of the tensions, the paper considers how and why one school selected a commercial mindfulness package to contribute to the newly defined Health and Wellbeing Area of Experience, and the implication of this choice on teacher autonomy and pedagogical practice.
Keywords: curriculum reform; teacher agency; pedagogy; professional development