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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The process of curriculum change : a case study of elementary teachers implementing the art component of the B.C. Ministry of Education fine arts curriculum Fransila, Raya Birgit R.


The purpose of this research was to examine how elementary classroom teachers respond to the task of implementing the 1955 B.C. Ministry of Education Art Curriculum Guide in one urban elementary school. This research examined what motivates teachers to engage in an implementation process. Two questions guided this study: 1. In a setting where conditions appear to be optimum for implementation of the new art curriculum, what significant factors appear to influence the implementation process for the fifteen participating teachers? 2. With respect to the identification and management of factors which might suggest reasons that influence the extent of the implementation process, what similarities and differences appear among the fifteen teachers? The researcher identified information that suggested how and why implementation occurred in this setting, through a case study format using triangulated research methods that entailed the following: the interaction of data from pre- and post-implementation interviews, classroom observations of the teachers' art classes by the researcher, observations of separate art lessons by an independent observer, an analysis by an independent rater of a level of use of the new art curriculum, the principal's diary notes, and school records, . The data gathering time entailed one school year. The data gathering was followed by the analyses of the data to establish patterns and relationships which might suggest what did influence the implementation process for the teachers in this setting. Three groups of implementers emerged from this research: full implementers, partial implementers, and non-implementers. The findings suggest three main reasons that seem to account for the way that teachers coped with the art curriculum implementation. They are: (a) the teachers' philosophical stance as to why art education is important, (b) the teachers' sense of personal efficacy, and (c) the synergy among the implementing teachers. The teachers who implemented shared a common philosophy as to why art education is important, one which was compatible with that in the new art curriculum guide. They also shared a sense of personal efficacy directed towards the implementation and a form of synergy that encouraged cooperative planning and a sharing of ideas. The major conclusion is that to increase the likelihood of full implementation, the implementation process must do more than simply address the factors identified by the teachers as being crucial to successful implementation. The art curriculum implementation process needs to have as its focus a rationale for elementary school art, the "why of art education" as well as ways to increase the synergy among the teachers and the sense of efficacy among the individual teachers. The research suggests that implementation is incremental and therefore that to increase the likelihood that more teachers will implement, the implementation process needs to be extended to two years for the partial implementers and three years for those who tend to be non-implementers.

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