Curriculum Innovation: Difference and Resemblance

Una Hanley, Harry Torrance

Abstract


How do teachers respond to a mathematics curriculum innovation? This paper
reports some of the findings from a UK Research Council (ESRC)-funded project
investigating how teachers in English secondary schools (students aged 12-16 years)
responded to innovation. A Gatsby Foundation funded program implemented new
materials; the project investigated processes and expectations of implementation. In
this paper, we consider the ‘gap’ between innovation and proposed practice from the
position of the practitioner, employing the work of Foucault (1995) and Deleuze and
Guattari (1998) as a framework for analysis. The paper takes a theoretical position,
arguing that teachers construct individual and constantly changing amalgams of
practice. These are founded on ‘difference’ and understood in ways, which are
shifting, and partial rather than ‘known’ via a sense-making process. Expectations of
a strong correspondence between innovation and teacher response have undermined
alternative perspectives that regard the interruption and re-routing of innovation as
productive of viable outcomes in sites of practice.

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