BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) is the most important policy outlined to support and facilitate quality education for the Maldives. In order to provide quality education, intensive change to the curriculum has been brought by the government of the Maldives in the year 2014. A number of education policies, aimed at transforming the education in Maldives have been introduced. The change has started with the introduction of the Outcome Based Curriculum (OBC). The vision statement of the new curriculum: “EVERY CHILD IS PREPARED” reflects where the country is heading. The eight principles of NCF, that is; Practicing Islam, Identity and culture, Human rights, Democracy and Justice, Holistic Development, Personal Excellence, Inclusivity, Preparation For Life And Relevance address the key concerns that are unique to the Maldivian context.
The NCF contains policy statements for learning and teaching for each key stage in terms of objectives, outcomes and assessments standards. The National Curriculum Frame work comprises Subject Statements, each containing a definition, purpose, scope, educational and career links, learning outcomes, assessment standards and subject competence descriptions per grade, content and contexts for attaining the assessment standard.
As Asebiomo (2009) has said, “no matter how well formulated a curriculum may be, its effective implementation is a sine qua non toward achieving the desired goals of education”. Therefore the effectiveness of the new curriculum depends on the effectiveness of implementation.
Curriculum implementation involves the daily classroom activities that the teacher is involved in, that monitor students’ progress and evaluate the performance of the students. Teachers are responsible for implementing the newly introduced curriculum and deciding if it is having the desired effect on students learning. According to Forbes and Davis(2010),to perform the assigned tasks teachers rely upon the curriculum materials, the teaching methodology, content knowledge of the curriculum and their experiences.
Ornstein & Hunkins(2004) has said “ Learning is influence by teachers” . This shows how important teachers are to the process of curriculum implementation. Therefore ,it is important for the teachers to understand the content included in the curriculum and to know the best practices in its delivery to the students.
The National Curriculum Frame Work gives guidance to the teachers on what they must teach to the targeted learners. In this instance, Grades 1 to 3 (key stage one) learners are the target group.
The primary purpose of the National Curriculum for key stage one, which comprises of Grades 1-3 is, “to create a love for learning and to provide a foundation of skills for lifelong learning.” (NCF, 2014. page -23) The curriculum also aims to provide a basis for further studies in Higher Education, to lay a foundation for future careers, and to develop learners who are productive and responsible citizens and lifelong learners.
This study looks at the factors which make implementation of the New curriculum, which was introduced in 2014 by Maldives government (National Curriculum Frame work ) a challenge for the teachers of key stage one of Lh .Atoll education centre.
REASON FOR IMPLEMENTING A NEW CURRICULUM
The traditional system of education that has developed for centuries composed of three types of institution: Kiyavaage, Makthab, and Madharsaa. Unlike Kiyavaage, Makthab and Madharsaa had a formal curriculum in which simple Arithmetic, Dhivehi, Arabic, and Qur’an recitation were practiced. The first western-style school in the Maldives was established in 1927.
Curriculum Development began in 1976, while Teacher Training began in 1977. A new national curriculum for primary and middle schools was designed and introduced in 1984 which incorporated Environmental Studies, Science, Dhivehi language, Mathematics, English language, Fine Arts, Physical Education and Calligraphy.
In Maldivian context, most of the assessments are carried out in the form of Assessment of learning (AOL) in which written tests are given. They often test memory more than understanding and encourage surface learning but not a complete picture of a student’s performance and lack feedback (Murphy, 2009). In addition to this, it avoids the failed students and they are not given an opportunity to succeed. This can be tackled by giving clear guidance and practice to the students to use self and peer assessment procedures especially for the lower grades. Also, peer assessment works best when students are asked to provide formative and qualitative feedback rather than simply grading or giving a score to peers since this often makes students uncomfortable (Price, Pierson and Light. 2011).
According to the article no: 36 of Maldivian constitution, Primary education is compulsory for all children. As of 2002, the President’s Office claimed that universal primary education has almost been achieved and the literacy rate had improved from 70 percent in 1978 to 98.82 percent. (1998 – 2010 THEMALDIVES.COM | Maldives)
According to Rose (2008) education should prepare learners for life after school, allowing them on completion of their basic education to function and compete in the work environment, preparing them to join the work force
Academic and non-academic competitions held in Maldivian schools are intended to bring out the talent, confidence and the leadership of the students, but what is practiced in the Maldivian context is unhealthy in many ways.
Therefore to avoid such things, the Education system of Maldives has undergone a dynamic transitional period.
Since the National Curriculum is defined as an educational programme that society desires for the future generation, educators are emphasizing on reforming the curriculum for the changing world. As a result of the hard work done by the educators of the Maldives, the implementation of the new curriculum took place in the year 2014 and had brought a dynamic change in the education system of Maldives.
Curriculum developers have designed programs in the new curriculum focusing on the national level, which might be suitable for all the regions of Maldives. Various academic and non-academic activities are organized in schools. For the students who might not be academically successful, they have the potential to participate in other activities such as sports and clubs to exercise their capability. The aim of these activities is to deviate their attention from the negative impact they might come across through the society and at their home. Furthermore, vocational programs such as Polytechnic, BTEC, STVET are introduced to students.
According to the current policy of Ministry of Education, these programmes would provide secure job opportunities in various fields upon completion of Secondary School especially for the low achievers. (Ministry of Education, PPT 2014)
With the change in the National Curriculum, it is believed by everyone that the teachers also should be able to walk side by side with these changes. However, this change is not seen from the selected school teachers. For example, even with the emphasis given on the importance on building skillful leaners through active learning in the new curriculum, most of the teachers are not familiar with this context and the methodology that should be applied. And also teachers struggle a lot in producing learning materials that are important to carry the lessons out. Hence, it would be a challenge for those teachers to implement the New Curriculum. Moreover, currently, the teachers lack the updated information, which according to them are restricted because of the lack of available resources at school, professional development programmes and not having time to search for the needed information.
According to Alade(2011), the main reason for the failure of the well formulated curriculum is the lack of understanding about the changes by both the experts outside the schools and teachers inside the school system . Therefore, successful implementation of curriculum requires understanding the roles and the responsibilities of individuals in the school system.
Mezieobi(1993), conceptualized the term implementation as process of putting an agreed plan, decision, proposal, ideas or policy into effect. The word curriculum in a formal setting is the planned learning experience offered to the learner in a school by teachers.
At Lh. Atoll Education Centre, most primary teachers have been trained in Dhivehi medium. Moreover, many do not feel competent enough to teach about. Thus, is often not covered very well in practice despite the development of National curriculum in 2014.
The global study carried out by the UNESCO (2006), whose findings state that curriculum is under-utilised due to teachers in competence on curriculum due to lack of training on curriculum and discomfort in using sensitive materials.
Therefore the aim of this study is to investigate the factors which make the implementation of New Curriculum in the mentioned school a challenge for teachers.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The vision of the new curriculum is, ‘every child is prepared for life’. That means, all the children who are attending to the school must achieve the eight key competencies in the new curriculum or the newly introduced outcome-based curriculum in order to be ready for life.
Therefore, to achieve the vision of the curriculum, it is a must for the teachers to fulfil their roles effectively. To carry out the roles effectively, the teachers must have the required knowledge and skills. Teachers need to be familiar with the design and the underlying principles of the curriculum. There should be a well-developed procedure for professional development programmes, monitoring and evaluating the work of the teachers especially during the implementation.
According to Esu, Enukoha and Umoren(2004) curriculum is a learning experience a child has under the guidance of a teacher. It is therefore the teacher who has to understand the appropriate pedagogical strategies and methods to implement the new curriculum effectively. Of course, a curriculum may be beautifully planned but will be of no use if it is not implemented effectively.
The study is therefore designed to investigate factors which make curriculum implementation a challenge for teachers’ of LH. Atoll Education Centre in relation to learning resources, professional development workload of teachers and support from management. This study focuses on those teachers who are teaching in key stage one of Lh. Atoll Education Centre.
RATIONALE AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
My interest to the topic stems from my own experience in the classroom and due to challenges experienced by me and my colleagues in implementation of the new curriculum. The New Curriculum brought a significant change to the culture of teaching and learning in Lh. Atoll education Centre. Teachers were struggling to go along with the Curriculum due to the changes in it.
The successful implementation of the New curriculum depends how prepared the teachers are. The teachers are the key players in making the classroom learning as outcome-based learning.
Currently, some of the teachers in the selected school are contract teachers who were not trained or not have attended any orientation programmes. In addition, some of the local teachers who are currently employed as primary teachers are not oriented on the implementation of the NCF and most of them are trained in Dhivehi medium. Therefore those teachers did not want to accept the New Curriculum.
Therefore, I believe that it is really essential to investigate the factors which make the implementation of new curriculum a challenge.
Through the qualitative research design to explore factors which exist in making the curriculum implementation as challenge, I believe the research will reveal some necessary information for school leaders, policy makers and teacher educators about the process of curriculum implementation. The recommendations included in the plan generated from this research can be used to assist other school teachers who are experiencing similar circumstance.
The study provides an understanding of the NCF and the challenges laid upon it, especially with regard to key stage one and how those challenges are handled by teachers.
The study explores experiences of key stage one teachers of Lh. Atoll Education centre in the process of newly introduced curriculum implementation and the factors that make it a challenge for the teachers in the process and also their opinion with regard to the coping of those affected factors.
The study increases knowledge with regard to National Curriculum and its implementation. Also it helps understand the actual causes of the challenges.
According to Bruner’s theory (1966), what is taught should be kept with the learners’ cognitive structures and understanding. As far as possible, new materials should have a bearing on what learners already know. Following the Bruner’s theory, the teacher should present specific information to the learners with a problem; thereafter, s/he should play the role of facilitator in an inductive inquiry process, starting with and continuing with step-by-step discovery.
Therefore, this study will help teachers bringing a shift in teaching methods: in order to make the new curriculum relevant, content which should be taught should relate to the immediate environment of the learners. At the same time the study will guide the teachers to overcome the doubts and understating to face the enormous challenges in implementing the new curriculum.
THE ROLE OF THE RESEARCHER AND RESEARCHER ASSUMPTIONS
Planning the research and preparing tools and instrument for collecting data for the research are solely the responsibility of the researcher. Obtaining permission from higher authority to conduct the research and to get access to the teachers as participants of the research also lies on researchers head. Collecting data, analysing and reporting the findings will be done by the researcher.
The result and the findings of this study completely depend on the response from participants. The chance of misleading the interpretation of the data will not occur in this study because the researcher herself collects the data by interacting with the participants.
- To investigate factors which make the process of curriculum implementation a challenge for teachers of the selected school
- To find out teachers’ opinion about the factors which make the process of curriculum implementation a challenge for them
The study accomplishes by answering the research question; that is, “What are the factor that make implementation of the new curriculum a challenge for key stage teachers of Lh. Atoll education centre?”
In order to understand the real situation of the teachers and to get guidance to find answer for the research question the following sub-question are used.
- How teachers have adopted to the curriculum changes along with the methods they employed to deal with the changes brought to the teaching curriculum?
- Were the teachers workload increased due to the changes to the curriculum?
- How do the teachers get the access to the needed resources for implementation of the new curriculum?
- Were the teachers provided with the necessary training and resources for the implementation of the new curriculum successfully?
- How often do they attend professional development programs in relation to curriculum implementation?
The research focused on the implementation of the NCF to Key stage one in the Lh. Atoll Education Centre. For this reason the research is confined to only those teachers who teach in this particular school.
The main purpose of the research is to determine challenges facing teachers in implementing the NCF for key stage one students of a particular school. However, the study had certain limitations. The research is limited to Lh. Atoll Education Centre because the researcher is familiar with the teachers as she resided and worked in the school. Limited resources, time and financial constraints restricted the researcher to study one school in the Atoll. Because the study choice fell on a qualitative research approach based in one school with interviews conducted with the participants and an observation. The study is designed to be exploratory and descriptive in nature.
In the process of educational research, ethic plays a very important role because it involves people. According to Wellington (2000,p.56) the ethical protocols for every aspect of the research must be clear. Obtaining informed consent is necessary so that all interviewees know what the research is about and what is involved in being a participant.
The study is to find out the factors which make the implementation of the new curriculum a challenge for Key Stage One teachers’ of Lh. Atoll education Centre. The aims of the new curriculum for key stage one are, providing a basis for continuing learning, to lay a foundation for future careers, and to develop learners who are productive and responsible citizens and lifelong learners.
If challenges experienced by teachers in schools, such as inadequate resources, lack of training and information about the curriculum are not addressed, this will have far-reaching consequences not only for the school but also for the whole society of the particular island in producing the type of skilled learners that is needed for the development of the society. Hence, the teachers’ voice about the new curriculum and the experiences of them at implementation stage has to be explored and understood and it should be attended thorough proper mechanism.
ORGANISATION OF THE DISSERTATION
In Chapter one, the research was introduced by outlining the background to the study and the purpose of the study. That is to investigate factors which make implementation of the new curriculum a challenge for teachers of key stage at Lh. Atoll Education Centre. The rationale of the research explained the reason of choosing the topic and the worthiness of the research.
The very next chapter, chapter two, focused on the available literature which are related to the topic. This chapter includes the theoretical and conceptual frame work of the study.
Chapter three, Research Methodology follows the research design, discussing the techniques of data collection. The data collection techniques, Semi-structured interview and classroom observations are discussed in detail in the chapter.
Later, Chapter four includes presentation of the data generated in the forms of participants’ narratives.
Chapter five provides discussion on the data analysis and findings of the study
Chapter six comprises the conclusion and recommendation that emerged from the study.
According to Rockler-Gladen(2008) literature provides precious and vital information on a relevant topic. It reviews theoretical foundations, which are important to s specific subject, and gives significant summery and assessment. This means the literature review should provide different opinion of available information. Randolf (2009:2 ) shares a similar view, stating that literature review is “ information analysis and synthesis focusing on findings and not simply bibliographic citation, summarizing the substance of the literature and drawing conclusion from it.”
OVERVIEW OF THE FACTORS WHICH MAKE IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW CURRICULUM CHALLENGING
Introducing new curriculum, Maldives moves from emphasis of learning content to specific outcomes and from memorisation (rote learning) of fact to the demonstration skills. According to a study done by Spady and Marshall(1991: 68) a number of factors affect teachers in implementing the new curriculum and make it challenge for them. In their findings they have mentioned the shortage of resources, teacher training programmes and lack of support from the management and workload of teachers. In addition, the training of the managers to manage the transition to the new curriculum also affects teachers and makes it a challenge for teachers.
The main focus of this study is to find out the factors which make implementation of a new curriculum a challenge for teachers of Lh. Atoll Education Centre.
Therefore, here the literature review focuses on the previous studies conducted by researchers internationally to find out about the factors which make implementation of a new curriculum a challenge for teachers.
The literature that are available at present show that a significant amount of studies had been conducted on the educational changes and the affecting factors that make the change possible or impossible . According to Waugh and Punch (1987) and Newton (1990) educational change is multidimensional and complex process. Therefore, it can be said that it is a system of varying activities involved in translating curriculum design in to classroom activities and changing pupil’s attitude to accept and get involved in these activities .However, as curriculum implementers, teachers faced many barriers which hinder the successful implementation of the new curriculum.
Bennie and Newstead( 1994:4) feel that introducing Outcome-Based Curriculum has lot of demands on teachers.
In the Maldives and some other countries like South Africa Australia, teachers previously concentrated on classroom teaching but due to the change brought to the curriculum, they are loaded with non-teaching duties like attending meetings and co-curricular activities. Therefore the increased duties affect implementation of the curriculum and make it challenging.
The finding of the study on implementation of Outcome Based Curriculum done by Erden(2010:36 ) shows that teachers of South Africa feel that the new teaching method causes excess and unnecessary work for the teachers.
In the research which was conducted in Australia by Dixon Scot and Dixon(2008), it has been mentioned that teachers were affected by time. Teachers almost stop doing any research to add content and make their lesson interesting; hence lack of time was affecting factors for the teachers in implementing a curriculum effectively. Furthermore in the same research they have said that teachers are unable to produce work of high quality and improve their teaching and produce professional material due to the non-formal activities.
The statement made Okello and Kagoire( 1996) shows that quality and quantity of the staff to meet the expectations of pupils and the society are weaknesses in implementing a curriculum . Teachers are the most important human resources in curriculum implementation since they are the ones who adopt and implement the ideas and aspirations of the designers. This suggests that success of the curriculum depends on the teachers. Appropriate supply of trained teachers is therefore, is a factor that makes the implementation of the curriculum a challenge for the teachers.
The above reference made it evident that the following are the factors which make the implementation of the new curriculum a challenge for teachers in most of the countries.
- The shortage of teaching and learning resources,
- Lack of in-service training on new curriculum to teachers and staff development methods,
- Lack of support from the management.,
- The training of the managers to manage the transition of the new curriculum,
- Workload of teachers,
- Methods of teaching,
- Shortage of time and the content of the curriculum,
- The quality and quantity of the teachers.
- Teacher and student readiness to accept the teaching approaches on new curriculum
- Overcrowded classrooms.
According to Tamir (2004) the curriculum implementation is the process of placing ideas and materials into practice. Ornstein & Hunkins,( 2004) state that, Curriculum implementation is one of the six phases involved in the curriculum development process. Implementation is an interaction process between those who have created the program and those who are charged with delivering it
Based on the above statement made by Tamir (2004) and the reviewed dependable literature for this study, it clearly indicated that the factors which make implementation of a new curriculum a challenge for teachers, can divided into three broad categories. Those are:
- Factors which have direct relation on the process of implementing a curriculum ; such as teachers’ heavy workload, teachers’ inadequate understanding of the reform, readiness of teacher for the change,
- Factors which are mostly related to the Procedure of the curriculum implementation or System related factors such as formulating policies related to curriculum, communicating the change with the stakeholders, producing necessary learning materials,
- Factors related to the production of the curriculum or Student related such as content of the curriculum, readiness of the students for the change.
Zais (1976) comments that:
The curriculum provides direction for classroom instruction, but does not consist of a series of lesson plans. It is the teachers’ privilege and responsibility to interpret and translate the curriculum document in terms of her own and her students’ experience. (p. 13)
Since objectives of the study are to examine factors which make implementation of the new curriculum a challenge for teachers’ of one particular school, the researcher focuses only on factors which align with process of curriculum implementation: that is teacher related factors.
The teacher is the most crucial factor in the process of the curriculum implementation. They bring their expertise, knowledge and experience to the classroom teaching. There is the existence of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that can hinder curriculum change by teachers. These extrinsic factors identified are adequacy of resources, time, school ethos and professional support. The intrinsic factors are professional knowledge, professional adequacy and professional interest and motivation.
For the purpose of examining the factors which make implementation of new curriculum a challenge for key stage one teachers’ of Lh. Atoll Education Centre, the Instructional Theory which was advocated by Bruner (1966) is applied and the researcher incorporates information derived from the existing literature to establish a theoretical frame work for conducting the study.
Bruner’s (1966) Instructional Theory has direct implication on the factors which affect teachers in curriculum implementation. According to the Instructional Theory, the instruction must be clear and facilitate the learning process.
THE CONCEPTUAL ASSUMPTION OF THE STUDY
In the qualitative research it is not very common to have a conceptual framework; mostly it is based on an assumption made by researcher on a phenomenon. The main conceptual assumption of this study is based on the following three factors. They are:
- Time for preparation and the workload of teachers makes curriculum implementation a challenge for teachers.
Teachers do well in implementing a curriculum where they are able to get enough time for the preparation. Teachers’ workload has significant effect on academic achievement of students since it determines effectiveness in teaching. Erden (2010:6) states that teachers complained that much more time is needed for preparation. Planning and preparation is the main dilemma that teachers experienced. According to Ngwar (1994) the teaching load in primary schools in some parts of the world has been highly affecting the performance of teachers.
Oliver and Venter (2003:190) are of the opinion that previously teachers had homogenous learners in their class, now they teach more heterogeneous group. This means that leaners of different abilities, backgrounds and ethical are placed in one class and the teacher has to spend more time with the weak pupils. So the time they spend on is affecting them. Dixon Scott and Dixtion (2008) carried out a research in Australia, in which they mentioned that lack of time was the worst problem in putting curriculum in practice. It is because this does not do any research to add to content and makes the lesson more interesting. (Scot and Dixon : 2008)
The two researchers , Nwikina and Nwanekezi cited in Osagie and Okafo(2012) concluded that teachers’ workload was one of the factors that inhibits learners’ academic achievement. So it shows that the increase of work load has negative impact on curriculum implementation.
- Teachers’ role in the classroom. Obviously the successful implementation of a new curriculum depends on the role played the teachers.
Teachers’ knowledge and ways of delivering lesson allow learners to make choice through learning interaction. Therefore, the teacher is required to be well equipped with content and prepared well for the pupils and also should know the suitable methodology for the learning atmosphere. And also teachers should be aware of the changes brought to the teaching curriculum and the assessment method as well as teaching methodology..
According to Mhkhwanazi (2007:17) professional development is the method by which teachers re-evaluate, update and broaden their responsibilities as transformation managers for the purpose of teaching . Through the programmes conducted to expand their knowledge, skill, attitude and values, upgrading teachers should be an ongoing process to enhance their teaching skill and knowledge so that they will be able to teach learners more successfully.
Ono and Ferreira (2010:60) commented that professional development is carried in the structure of “workshop ,Seminar, Conference, or courses”.
In the finding of a research conducted by Chisholm and Leyendecker (2008:202) have stated that South Africa and Namibia have similar problems regarding curriculum reform. Teachers were unfamiliar with the content and they were in a state of confusion.
Therefore, it can be said that there is a global agreement about the significance of teachers who are well trained produces high standard result.
As theorist Fould(2002) state that if the curriculum changes, teachers need to be professionally developed.
According to a policy paper revealed in 2008 on teacher Education in Europe, teaching is a challenging profession which needs massive requirements placed on teachers and they are supposed to have all the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise. Teachers are expected to handle complex and private issues of individual learners. Therefore, lot of responsibilities are assigned to teachers to take inside and outside of the classroom.
According to Lombard (2002:Xviii) many studies had been carried out in America regarding professional development of teachers and the results have shown that learners show better results when they were taught by teachers who are on continuous development programmes.
- Adequate facilities and resources are the prerequisites for successful implementation of the new curriculum.
According to Uiseb (2007: 81) the process of changing must be well resourced. The shortage of resources has harmful effect on teaching. Teachers cannot dispense information to learners if they themselves do not have enough support materials to offer to the learners. The opinion put forward by Bogliaccini (2007:685) reveals that teachers in many countries experience many hurdles if there is shortage of resources like text books, furniture and study materials. The progress of learners hinders and teachers struggle a lot when changes are made to the curriculum without sufficient resources. According to Mulaudzi ( 2009:7) and Raselabe (2006:3-4) without appropriate resources like teachers guide and learning materials anxiety and stress level of the teachers increases. Due that teachers are unable to implement the curriculum successfully in the classroom. Teachers who are not able to get access to the necessary resources materials feel completely ill-equipped and they do not have motivation to implement the newly introduced curriculum.
The literature has explored relevant information to the study. It clearly describes factors which make the implementation of curriculum challenging to the teachers. Drawing the factors, which are worldwide common in curriculum implementation process, helps build the conceptual frame work for the study. Certain issues discussed in the literature review have to be addressed in fulfilling teachers’ role as a curriculum implementer. The workload of the teachers, developing the teachers based on the intended curriculum, producing instructional and learning materials play a crucial role in the implementation of the curriculum.
In this chapter a series of aspects relating to research process is discussed. It is the narrative of the research method employed, the sampling procedure, how the researcher gained access to the to the research site, the method of collecting data and how the ethical issues are addressed.
In choosing a research method, the researcher must be aware of the difference between a qualitative research and quantitative research. This research used qualitative methodological approach in the practice of semi- open face to face interview and observation.
Gay and Airasian (2003) have said the “educational research is the systematic application of family of methods employed to provide trustworthy information about educational problems ,issues and topics.” (p.3)
According to Yin (20107, p, 34), a research methodology or design is essentially the logic that links the data to be collected and the conclusion to be drawn to the initial research question.
Since the selection of research approach is influenced by the study being undertaken, the philosophical framework and conceptual assumption of the study fall under the qualitative approach.
RATIONALE FOR THE RESEARCH APPROACH
The design of the research gives indication of the preparation of the research process and how the researcher is going to get verification on the answer to the research question. It illustrates how the work is organised, what emerged with the participants and the tools that are used to collect data. And also it shows how the data are evaluated.
From the two research methods, quantitative and qualitative, qualitative research approach has been chosen for this study. The narrative inquiry approach is utilised concentrating on narrating the real classroom experience of teachers, allowing an understanding of the challenges they faced due to the changes to the curriculum. According to Clandinin & Conneelly (2002) the narrative inquiry is the approach which allows theresearcher to hear the stories of experiences. The reason for choosing the narrative inquiry as method depends on the nature of this study.
The aim of the study is to find out the factors which make the implementation of new curriculum a challenge for a set of teachers. The chosen method, Narrative inquiry approach encourages and allows teachers to communicate their stories about the factors in their point of view.
Bruner (1986) claimed that narrative knowledge (that is, knowledge derived from stories) was as essential as paradigmatic knowledge (knowledge gained from science) in enabling people to make sense of the world.
THEORETICAL FOUNDATION OF NARRATIVE INQURY- AS RESEARCH APPROACH FOR THE STUDY
According to Fullan (1992), the factors affecting implementation of curriculum do not operate in isolation. Rather they interact in constantly varying manner as the process of change take place.
“Change is a journey, not a blue print” (Fullan,1993,p:24) adds to this the fact the researcher is dealing with mix of people interacting in a given place and time at various stage of dealing with change which feeds and influences further change. Therefore as researcher, I found that the relevant rhetorical framework that best fits for this study is narrative, with a qualitative approach. As Lucas (1997) has stated, a narrative may, thus, be ‘any extended segment of talk in which an interviewee is telling a story’. However, narrative analysis can be applied to any form of textual data, such as those provided by diaries, journals, or written accounts of critical incidents, in addition to data generated from interviews
In the handbook of qualitative research by Denzin and Lincoin (2005) describe qualitative research as involving, “an interpretive naturalistic approach to the world” (p,3). This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense in terms of the meanings people brings to them.
As the aim of the study is to investigate the factors which make the implementation of curriculum a challenge for teachers, it is going on in the natural school setting as it is related to an ongoing process.
Therefore, through the qualitative method the objectives can be achieved. According to Ross (1999), qualitative approaches to research are based on “world view” which is holistic and has the beliefs like;
– There is not a single reality.
– Reality based upon perceptions that are different for each person and change over time.
– What we know has meaning only within a given situation of context.
Since the study is to determine and distinguish reason of significant happenings from teachers point of view, the researcher asked lots of open-ended questions which permitted the participants to air their views on the challenges facing them with changes to the curriculum.
Denscombe (2003:267) states that qualitative research gains its uniqueness through the approach to the collection and analysis of data
TECHNIQUES OF DATA COLLECTION AND SAMPLINGS
The focused area of the study is key stage one teachers’ point of view with regard to the factors which make curriculum implementation a challenge for them in the mentioned school. Teachers’ views are explored through data collection techniques which are semi-structured interview and observation.
The sampling method used for this study is purposive sampling. In this sampling method elements are chosen based on purpose of the study. According to Ploeg (1999) purposive sampling decisions organises the selection of the participants, settings, events and activities for data collection. McMillan and Schumacher (2001:433) explain that purposeful sampling is a plan to choose a small group of people who have the essential information and appropriate facts. In the situation of this study, the teachers of the selected school are those affected by curriculum changes and the associated challenges. Choosing Purposive sampling allows the researcher to choose the participants according to the information and knowledge they possess. Therefore, for the study participants are carefully selected.
PROCEDURE FOR GAINING CONSENT
Prior to beginning the study, approval was attained from the Maldives National University. Only after receiving formal approval from university my interviewing and observation in the school could begin.
Since one particular school was selected to carry out the study, that is Lh. Atoll education Centre, initially a letter is sent to the principal (Appendix—–) requesting permission to conduct the interview and observation. After granting permission from the principal in written form (Appendix——-) a letter is sent to teachers of key stage one (Appendix——) asking to attend a meeting .
In the very first meeting with participants, the relevant information is explained and communicated. Information regarding the research project, the topic and the reason for the research are relayed. After getting verbal approval of willingness to be involved in the interview, each participant is given a set of questions that is to be asked in the interview and a “Consent Form’ (Appendix—) so that they could go through and have clear understanding of it prior to my arrival to conduct the interview. According to Almadhour (2010:30), participants may observe that an inversion of privacy is happening, and may sometimes be ashamed or embarrassed and may also have to give information that they did not intend to. Therefore the participants have to be purely voluntary and complete description of the anticipation of the research is clearly outlined. Each participant has to sign the ‘Consent Form’ (Appendix—) before the interview began. Venue for interviews is chosen carefully so that the participants would feel comfortable and the discussion would remain confidential. Time is given for the interviewees to ask any questions and at the end participants are asked if they wish to make any further comments.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to keep the whole process extremely private and confidential. No one has the right to get access to any information collected during the interview and observation process.
PROCEDURE OF COLLECTING DATA
For this research the chosen technique are semi-structure, face-to-face, individual interview and observation. I, as researcher, visited the schools where the participants work, allowing me to gather comprehensive information about the candidates’ operational environment, considered a vital component of this particular research. The interviews attempted to encourage expanded and detailed answers from teachers about the factors which make implementation of the curriculum a challenge and stresses they face regarding curriculum reform. Also the educators were observed in the classroom which aided in understanding and expanding the information already received from the interview.
The population for the study includes all the teachers who were teaching to key stage one of the selected school that is 10 in number and the leading teacher of those particular grades.
Participants’ profile will be included hereafter completing the process of obtaining permission and consent from the higher authority and teachers.
OVERARCHING RESEARCH QUESTION
Why do teachers at Lh. Atoll education Centre consider that implementation of the new curriculum is a challenge?”
Sub-questions which help to manipulate answer for the overarching question are:
- How have teachers adopted to the curriculum changes along with the methods they employed to deal with the changes brought to the teaching curriculum?
- Were the teachers workload increased due to the changes to the curriculum?
- How do the teachers get the access to the needed resources for implementation of the new curriculum?
- Were the teachers provided the necessary training and resources for the implementation of the new curriculum successfully?
- How often do they attend professional development programs in relation to curriculum implementation?
SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEW AS INTRUMENT
Initially, the teachers of the sample are given semi-structured interview form which has a set of predetermined, guided questions but some questions allow the teacher to respond freely. And also it includes information regarding the time, date and setting and room for observer to have descriptive and reflective notes. The interview form is gaining information based on the research sub-questions of this study. (Appendix—) It allows the selected teachers to have clear identification of the factors which affect them in implementing the curriculum.
Punch (2005) stated that interviews are one of the most essential ways of gathering data for qualitative research. Mothata (2000:89), Henning et al (2005:53) and Walliman (2001:240) concur that interviews are essential data gathering tools and techniques. If the interview instrument is used correctly and accurately, the information obtained from the interviewee should be precise and indicate sincerity. The main purpose of an interview is to figure out what is “in and on someone else’s mind” (Patton,1990:278).
The researcher conducts interviews to determine concerns that cannot be directly observed and which are personal, differing from individual to individual. The interviewer is able enter into and better understand the interviewee’s perceptions, insights, perspectives and state of mind (Patton, 1990:196).
The researcher requests interviewees’ permission to use a voice record during the interview. The voice recording ensures that all the data are captured correctly. The researcher presents individually the transcripts of the teachers’ responses in the interview. Participants are asked to check and ensure all the information are correctly present.
OBSERVATION AS INSTRUMENT
The observations that are done by the researcher while they were in the classroom are used to validate and support what is mentioned in the interviews. Prior to observing the participant in the classroom, the researcher made telephone calls to check when she could visit the participant. The visits are based on observation schedule to avoid interruption of smooth running of the teachers scheduled work.
According to Kumar(2011), “Observation is a purposeful ,systematic and selected ways of watching and listening to an interaction or phenomenon as it takes place.”(p.140)
The researcher may notice what the participant says, and what happens in reality may differ. Observation as a method of data collection offers a reality check. Due to time constraints observation at school was conducted just once, which was pre-arranged with the participant.
According to Cohen et al (2007:396) observation as a research instrument lets the researcher to collect “live” data from a natural venue and the researcher can see exactly what is happening. Bless and Achola (1990) further point out that observation is the tracing of experiences as it is seen by another person. There is the possibility that when a person is being observed they may change their behaviour. Observation is directed by the fact that it must be properly planned, with the researcher knowing exactly what to observe and how to observe it. The observation must also be documented in an orderly and standardized manner.
In this research, the observations are done on the field with notes being taken that are narrative.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATION AND TRUSTWORTHINESS
The validity and reliability is not a very important issue in qualitative research. This research addressed the concern of trustworthiness by looking at what Guba (1981) mentions as the criteria vital to ensuring that qualitative research is trustworthy.
The research method used in this research was well documented in the literature. The researcher is well known by school management and the participants with whom she worked. However, the finding of the dissertation is no way partial. Participants are informed that they can withdraw from the study at any time. Only the participants who have shown interest in taking part are included. Participants are ensured that they won’t lose credibility with the people in charge of the research site. Iterative questioning i.e. probes and re-articulated certain questions are used. Intercalation with colleagues is made throughout the study.
It is always important in qualitative research that whether the data are correct in all respect. This is guaranteed in the research by asking the participants to read the information they shared and checking the data to see if it is constructed correctly and allowing them to validate the information.
Adequate information about the data are communicated allowing the reader to have a good understanding and to make evaluation and comparison. The name of the school where the research is conducted and the number of participants involved are mentioned. Data collection techniques and the research procedure are discussed in detail.
Dependability goes repeatability — if the study is replicated with the same participants in the same environment, with the same techniques, will it yield the same result? Credibility and dependability are closely correlated.
The result is related to information given by the participants, not the researcher.
As Mertens (2005) states, ethics need to be a fundamental part of the complete research package and not just added on. Ethical consideration cannot be an additional extra one because for research to be truly ethical those consideration need to be built in from the whole process.
Since the study is a qualitative research, it involved several steps: the identification of the research population, selection of the sample, procedure of gaining consent, data collection instrument, data collection. This chapter explains how the steps were followed in order to get the answer for the research question and to achieve the objectives of the study.
Asmal, K. 1999. Call to Action: Mobilising Citizens to Build South African Education and Training for the 21st Century. Statement by Professor Kader Asmal, Minister of Education, 27 July 1999.
Adams, J., Khan, T.A., Raeside, R., & White, D. 2007. Research Methods for Graduate: Business and Social Science Students. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Alamu, A. 2010. Teacher Beliefs, Knowledge, and Reported Practices Regarding Numeracy Outcomes in the Solomon Islands. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Babbie, E., & Mouton, J. 2006. The Practice of Social Research: South African Edition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
Bantwini, B.D. 2010. How Teachers Perceive the New Curriculum Reform: Lessons from a School District in the Eastern Cape Province. International Journal of Educational Development. 30 (1):83-90.
Rose, J. 2008. The Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum. Final Report.
Performance. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg.
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