Reclaiming professional practice: case studies of teachers collaborating to design learning in the senior years of schooling

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Dolan, Helen (2019) Reclaiming professional practice: case studies of teachers collaborating to design learning in the senior years of schooling. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Despite much policy and research that underscores the need for a greater focus on the professionalism of teachers, including the capacity of teachers to collaborate around curriculum, the historical and contemporary framework of school organisation and practice tends to require individualist approaches to planning and teaching. This study examines the practices of teachers who are collaborating to design interdisciplinary curriculum as part of the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). A collective, purposeful case study is constructed to document collaborative planning practices in three key schools and a group of schools taking part in a professional learning STEM strategy to integrate subjects. To appreciate the demands of interdisciplinary planning the study includes the design and facilitation of workshops with Aboriginal women about Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, to seek alternative narratives to describe the emerging collaborative design cultures in the case study schools. Policy and SACE Authority data are interrogated to demonstrate the ways in which teacher collaboration is both encouraged and made relatively invisible. The study argues that the invisibility of collaboration around interdisciplinary approaches to learning needs to be addressed in policy and practices and exemplars made visible to promote wider take-up of interdisciplinary planning practices. Teachers and school leaders in the case study sites point to the ways in which collaborative design work interrupts routine individual practices and replaces them with more collaborative solutions. The study further finds that teachers embrace opportunities to build professional practices through planning learning discourses around curriculum creation processes. The study concludes with the design of a 'Collaborative Design Framework’ to support teachers to consider more collaborative ways of planning learning and inclusion of Aboriginal planning standpoints in mainstream education contexts.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords teachers; collaboration; professionalism; curriculum; planning; case studies; Australia; STEM; South Australian Certificate of Education; SACE
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