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ERIC Number: ED533937
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul-20
Pages: 66
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 74
Bringing about Curriculum Innovations. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 82
Karkkainen, Kiira
OECD Publishing (NJ1)
Innovation is essential for the education sector. The ways in which curriculum decision making is organised reflects different implicit approaches on how educational systems pertain to promote innovation in education. Curriculum holds an outstanding place when seeking to promote innovation in education, as it reflects the vision for education by indicating knowledge, skills and values to be taught to students. It may express not only "what" should be taught to students, but also "how" the students should be taught. Curriculum innovations can include new subjects, combinations of old subjects or cross-cutting learning objectives. They may also take a form of new content, concepts, sequencing, time allocation or pedagogy. This paper characterises two contrasted approaches to curriculum decision making and bringing about innovations in education. At one extreme, a prescriptive central curriculum implicitly places the initiative for educational innovations at the level of the central administration. This approach provides strong incentives for schools and teachers to adapt innovations that would not otherwise take place. Innovations, supported by policy measures and informed by research, are brought within the reach of all schools and teachers in an equitable manner. The challenge is then to accommodate local needs and ensure the commitment to and implementation of innovations by schools and teachers. At the other extreme, decentralised curriculum decision making provides schools--and perhaps even teachers--with room to create their own educational innovations. This approach allows for experimentation relevant to individual students and local communities. Innovations are meant to spread through horizontal networks of schools and teachers. The challenge is then to provide incentives for individual schools and teachers to innovate or adapt innovations and ensure that they have equal capacity to do so. The paper provides an overview of various possible approaches linking curriculum policy to educational innovation, it shows that OECD countries can mix these approaches and it discusses elements that can affect those innovations in reality. Focusing on public lower-secondary education, it draws on various OECD and UNESCO data. First, the paper suggests that OECD education systems differ clearly when looking at formal curriculum decision making, although no system relies on a purely central or school-based approach to curriculum innovations. Second, several elements can reduce the "innovation power" of the central curriculum and the "innovation flexibility" of the decentralised curriculum. Third, stakeholders--such as experts, teachers and parents--are able to influence curriculum innovations differently at central and school levels. Innovations in central-level curriculum appear to have widespread possibilities to rely on expert knowledge with consultation with practitioners, parents and the wider public. School level curriculum innovations appear to build mainly on principals and teachers' knowledge with an indirect influence from experts and parents. Annexed are: (1) Emerging Curriculum Themes in OECD Countries; (2) Approaches to Bringing About Competence-Based Curriculum; (3) Central Level Curriculum in OECD Countries; (4) Details on the Implicit Approaches to Curriculum Innovations; and (5) Roles of Parents in Decision Making on Education Policy. (Contains 13 tables, 4 charts, 5 boxes and 20 notes.)
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Austria; Belgium; Canada; Chile; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Luxembourg; Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Slovakia; Slovenia; South Korea; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Scotland); United States