ERIC Number: ED280849
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Classroom Curriculum: Balancing Autonomy and Obligation.
Hawthorne, Rebecca Killen
This study investigated the influences shaping the curriculum decision-making process of four English teachers in two middle schools in order to identify sources of professional autonomy and obligation in classroom curriculum. These teachers made decisions daily by selecting content, texts and materials, modes of presentation, learning activities, and evaluation methods to construct classroom curriculum. However, they worked within hierarchical public schools that placed highly visible constraints upon their professional discretion. The translation of prescribed curricular policy into the operational curriculum of the classroom occurred through each teacher's individual interpretation of policy. Obligations mediating this process included obligations to the teaching profession, to the organization within which they worked, to students and parents, and to personal values and beliefs. A comparative case study of the sources of influence on the four teachers' curricular choices provided insight into the tensions between autonomy and obligation over the shaping of classroom curriculum. The teachers' curricular choices were documented over a period of two weeks by means of observation and stimulated recall interviews. Factors shaping curricular choices were identified, and the tensions between autonomy and obligation are described. (JD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987).