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Teachers’ Experiences of the Updated Pedagogy within the Scope of the Curriculum Reform: A Case Study of Two Mainstream Schools in Kazakhstan

Amir Azhmukhambetov Master of Science

In

Educational Leadership

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education June, 2020

Word count: 21655

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NUGSE RESEARCH APPROVAL DECISION LETTER

53 Kabanbay Batyr Ave.

010000 Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan 1st November 2019 Dear Amir Azhmukhambetov

This letter now confirms that your research project entitled, ‘Teachers’ experiences of the updated pedagogy within the scope of the Curriculum reform: A case study of two mainstream schools in Kazakhstan’ has been approved following the revisions you have made recommended by the Graduate School of Education Ethics Committee of

Nazarbayev University.

The changes recommended by the reviewer have been addressed and the proposed study now complies with all of the requirements of Nazarbayev University.

You may proceed with contacting your preferred research site and commencing your participant recruitment strategy.

Yours sincerely Prof Naureen Durrani On behalf of Elaine Sharplin

Chair of the GSE Research Committee Professor

Graduate School of Education Nazarbayev University

Block C3, Room 5006 Office: +7 (7172) 70 9371 Mobile: +7 777 1929961

email: elaine.sharplin@nu.edu.kz

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CITI training certificate

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Acknowledgement

Foremost, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr.

Naureen Durrani for her valuable guidance, generous support, professionalism, immense knowledge and patience. Without your constant and constructive feedback, I would not be able to complete my thesis writing.

Also, I would like to express my thanks to NUGSE staff and faculty members for giving me an opportunity of being a student who enjoyed this two-year journey full of invaluable knowledge and experience.

I want to thank my beloved wife, Laura, and adorable son Alikhan, for believing in me in all my endeavours. Special thanks go to my parents and younger brother Akhmetbek for their love and support throughout my life.

Another word of gratitude goes to my uncle Gumar, his wife Elvira and son Ali for their hospitality while I was staying during intensive sessions. I want to thank my friends and groupmates who helped me immensely on this route.

Last but not least, my deepest gratitude goes the staff of Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Kostanay, especially the English department for kind support and understanding.

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Abstract

During the early period of independence, the school education in Kazakhstan experienced various difficulties, such as ineffective curriculum and assessment practices inherited from Soviet times, as well as traditional teaching and learning approaches that formed overall teachers’ pedagogy. The State requested The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to review the curriculum of secondary school.

The OECD reported that the school curriculum was mostly teacher-centred, and students obtained factual knowledge without knowing its practical implication. Therefore,

Kazakhstan initiated the most drastic and far-reaching reform in secondary school education called the Updated Curriculum.

This study aimed to obtain a detailed insight into the teachers’ actual experiences of the updated pedagogy within the scope of the curriculum reform in one urban and one rural mainstream school. The study employed a qualitative case study research design. The interview method was applied to answer the central research question: “How do teachers experience the pedagogic shift associated with the Updated Curriculum?” Eight teachers, four teachers from a rural and four from an urban mainstream school in Kostanay region were interviewed to explore teachers’ experiences of the updated pedagogy thoroughly.

The findings of the study demonstrated that teachers in both schools had gained rich experiences of implementing the renewed pedagogy advocated by the reform. Most of them have positive attitudes and perceptions, although some teachers possess a negative attitude toward the Updated Curriculum. Nevertheless, teachers attempt to deliver the renewed curriculum, apply the updated assessment practice, and rely more on student- centred teaching approaches in their contextual realities. However, there are specific limitations such as issues with the updated subject programmes, discrepancies in some textbooks, big-class sizes, insufficient technical facilities and resources, and a lack of

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continuous support from reform officers. These constraints are also an integral aspect that sustains teachers’ overall experiences of the Updated pedagogy.

Keywords: Updated Curriculum, curriculum reform, teachers’ experiences.

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Оқу бағдарламаны реформалау аясында мұғалімдердің жаңартылған педагогиканы бастан өткізу тəжірибесі: Қазақстанның екі орта білім беру

мектептерін кейс-стади əдісі арқылы зерттеу Аңдатпа

Тəуелсіздіктің алғашқы жылдарында Қазақстанның орта білім беру жүйесі əртүрлі қиындықтарға кездесті. Мысалы, Кеңес Одағынан қалған оқу бағдарламасы мен бағалау тəжірибесі, сондай-ақ мұғалімдердің жалпы педагогикасын

қалыптастырған оқытудың дəстүрлі тəсілдері еді. Мемлекет «Экономикалық ынтымақтастық жəне даму ұйымына» (ЭЫДҰ) орта мектептердің оқу

бағдарламасын қайта қарауды өтінді. ЭЫДҰ хабарламасы бойынша, мектеп бағдарламасы негізінен мұғалімдерге бағытталғанын, ал оқушылар білімді

қаншалықты практикада қолдану мəні бойынша түсінігі жоқ екенін айтып өтті. Сол себептен Қазақстан «Жаңыртылған білім беру бағдарламасы» атты білім беру жүйесіндегі ең түбегейлі жəне алысқа апаратын реформаны бастамақшы болды.

Бұл зерттеу оқу бағдарламасын реформалау аясында бір қалалық жəне бір ауылдық жалпы білім беретін мектептерде жаңартылған педагогика мұғалімдерінің нақты тəжірибесі туралы толық түсінік алуына бағытталған. Зерттеуде кейс стади зерттеуінің сапалы дизайны қолданылды. "Мұғалімдер жаңартылған оқу

бағдарламасына байланысты педагогикалық өзгерісті қалай бастан өткереді?" деген зерттеудің басты сұрағына жауап алу үшін сұхбат əдісі қолданылды. Мұғалімдердің жаңартылған педагогиканы қолдану тəжірибесін мұқият зерттеу үшін əр мектептен төрт мұғалім қатыстырылды.

Зерттеу нəтижелері бойынша қалалық жəне ауылдық мектептердің

мұғалімдері реформа арқылы енгізілген жаңартылған педагогиканы бастан өткізу мол тəжірибе жинақтағанын көрсетті. Олардың көпшілтерінің көзқарастары оң,

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алайда кейбір мұғалімдердің жаңартылған оқу бағдарламасына теріс көзқарастар бар екені аңғарылды. Дегенмен мұғалімдер жаңартылған оқу бағдарламасын іске

асыруға, бағалаудың жаңартылған тəжірибесін қолдануға, оқушыларға бағытталған оқу тəсілдеріне көбірек сүйенуге тырысады. Алайда жаңартылған пəндік

бағдарламалар бойынша кейбір оқулықтардағы сəйкессіздіктер, сыныптардағы оқушылар санының көптігі, техникалық құралдардың жетіспеушілігі жəне

ресурстардың жеткіліксіздігі, сондай-ақ реформа енгізушілер тарапынан тұрақты қолдаудың болмауы сияқты шектеулер бар. Бұл шектеулер жаңартылған

педагогиканы бастан өткізудің жалпы тəжірибесін қалыптастырудың ажырамас аспектісі болып табылады.

Тірек сөздер: жаңартылған оқу бағдарламасы, оқу бағдарламасын реформалау, мұғалімдердің тəжірибесі.

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Опыт обновленной педагогики учителей в рамках реформирования образовательной программы: кейс-стади двух общеобразовательных школ

Казахстана Аннотация

В ранний период независимости школьное образование в Казахстане сталкивалось с различными трудностями, такими как неэффективные учебные программы и практика оценивания, унаследованные от советских времен, а также традиционные методы преподавания и обучения, которые формировали общую педагогическую практику. Государство обратилось к Организации экономического сотрудничества и развития (ОЭСР) с просьбой пересмотреть учебную программу средней школы. ОЭСР сообщила, что школьная программа была, в основном, ориентирована на учителей, и учащиеся получали фактические знания без четкого представления о практических последствиях. Таким образом, Казахстан

инициировал самую радикальную и далеко идущую реформу в сфере среднего школьного образования, которая называется Обновленное содержание образования.

Это исследование было направлено на то, чтобы получить подробное представление о фактическом опыте преподавателей в области обновленной педагогики в рамках реформирования образовательной программы в городской и сельской общеобразовательной школе. Использовался качественный подход исследования. Метод интервью был использован для сбора данных с целью получения ответа на центральный исследовательский вопрос: «Как учителя испытывают изменения в педагогической практике, связанные с обновленным содержанием образования?» Было проведено интервью с четырьмя учителями из каждой школы для тщательного изучения учительского опыта применения обновленной педагогики.

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Результаты исследования показали, что учителя как в городских, так и в сельских школах приобрели богатый опыт применения обновленной педагогики, внедряемой реформой. У большинства из них позитивное отношение и восприятие, хотя некоторые учителя негативно относятся к обновленному содержанию

образования. Тем не менее, учителя пытаются применять обновленные учебные программы, обновленную практику оценивания, больше использовать личностно- ориентированные подходы к обучению в своих контекстных реалиях. Однако существуют определенные ограничения, такие как проблемы с обновленными предметными программами, расхождения в некоторых учебниках, большое количество учащихся в классе, недостаточные технические средства и ресурсы, а также отсутствие постоянной поддержки со стороны лиц, внедряющих реформу. Эти ограничения также являются неотъемлемым аспектом, который формирует общий опыт обновленной педагогической практики.

Ключевые слова: обновленное содержание образования, реформа учебной программы, опыт учителей.

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Table of Contents

Author Agreement……….…ii

Declaration………...….…iii

NUGSE Research Approval Decision Letter………...……….……iv

CITI training certificate………..v

Acknowledgement………vi

Abstract ………...…vii

Table of Contents ………...……xiii

Chapter One: Introduction ………...1

1.1. Introduction.………1

1.2. Policy implementation……….………....3

1.3. Statement of the problem……….………...…….6

1.4. Purpose of the Study ………...…7

1.5. Research Questions.……….7

1.6. Definitions of Central Phenomena……...………....…...8

1.7. Significance of the study………..…....……8

1.8. Outline of the study………..9

Chapter Two: Literature Review………..10

2.1. Introduction………...10

2.2. Defining the concept of Curriculum………..10

2.3. Implementing a change in curriculum……….……..13

2.3.1. Power-coercive strategy of curriculum change………....15

2.3.2. Empirical-rational strategy of curriculum change……….………..16

2.3.3. Normative re-educative strategy of change………...………..16

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2.4. Teachers’ engagement and experiences in the process of curriculum

implementation………..18

2.5. The challenges on the way to sustain teachers’ positive experiences of curriculum innovations………..21

2.6. Summary of the chapter………..……..25

Chapter Three: Methodology ………..………26

3.1. Introduction ……….………..…………..…26

3.2. Research design……….……….………..…26

3.3. Site and Sampling……….………29

3.4. Data Collection Tools……….……….…….30

3.5. Data Collection Procedures……….………..…...31

3.6. Data Analysis……….………..…34

3.7. Ethical Considerations……….…..………..…34

3.8. Summary of the chapter……….………..…35

Chapter Four: Findings……….………..………..36

4.1. Introduction……….………..…36

4.2. Teachers’ overall experiences of the Updated pedagogy…….………36

4.3. Teachers’ experiences of the updated assessment practice………..………41

4.4. Teachers’ experiences of the Updated pedagogy……….…45

4.5. Factors that influence the positive shift to the updated pedagogy and curriculum………...…..…50

4.6. Factors that prevent teachers from a complete shift to the Updated pedagogy and curriculum………..…53

4.7. Summary of the chapter………..……..57

Chapter Five: Discussion………..59

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5.1. Introduction……….………..59

5.2. The implementation of the Updated Curriculum………...……..59

5.3. Teachers’ experiences of the curriculum reform and updated pedagogy………...……..60

5.4. Teachers’ experience of the updated pedagogy………...….…..61

5.5. Summary of the chapter………...………..……….…66

Chapter Six: Conclusion……….………..………67

6.1. Introduction……….………..………67

6.2. Revising research questions……….………….………67

6.3. Research implications……….………..………71

6.4. Research limitations……….………..………...…72

References……….………...…74

Appendices……….………..……81

Appendix A……….………...………..…81

Appendix B……….………..86

Appendix C……….………..…92

Appendix D………..………..…..…93

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A List of Tables

Table 1. The schedule of the Updated Curriculum implementation…….…….……….…...5 Table 2. The characteristics of interview participants………...………..….…30

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Chapter One: Introduction 1.1. Background

Education has played a vital role in humanity’s development since ancient times, as the significant explorations and breakthroughs in many spheres around the globe were completed thanks to people with excellent knowledge and creative mind. Therefore, various societies, communities, and scholars make considerable efforts day by day to improve and develop education in order to facilitate progress and overall achievements.

Kazakhstan, as an independent state is not an exception. The country has faced numerous challenges since gaining independence, and the State has always had the intention to accelerate the educational sphere, especially school education by the continuous renewal of the content and curriculum (Bridges, 2014). In the process of educational development, Kazakhstan has launched various reforms. One of these policy initiatives implemented in secondary school education is called the Updated Curriculum. Mainstream schools have never faced such drastic curriculum reforms before. Therefore, it captures meticulous attention due to its broad scale and profound impacts.

There were substantial reasons for initiating such a massive curriculum reform in the history of independent Kazakhstan’s education. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the traditional curriculum represented a model inherited from the Soviet education curriculum with minor reorganisations that Kazakhstan launched in the early period of independence as introducing Kazakh-oriented programmes and increasing instructional hours on Kazakhstani history and Kazakh language (Kissane, 2005). However,

international studies criticised the model sharply due to its consistent focus on factual knowledge and memorisation that prevented students from acquiring the skills of the new century such as critical thinking, creativity and collaboration and developing the ability to implicate the knowledge practically in real life (McLaughlin et al., 2016, Yakavets, 2014;

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OECD, 2014;). To illustrate, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was among these studies commissioned by the State to review the content of the secondary school curriculum. After careful examination, it proved that the curriculum remained mostly teacher-centred, and students obtained strong subject knowledge without a precise idea of practical application (OECD, 2014). In addition, the OECD (2014) found:

“this narrowly academic, heavily theoretical curriculum must be particularly unrewarding for the less academic students, who must spend almost all their school time on activities they are not good at and for which they can see limited practical use” (p. 93). The

following characteristic describes the congestion of the traditional curriculum by academic subjects and the exclusion of non-academic courses such as music, dance and art after 7th grade, which made the learning of less-able students less engaging. As a result, slow learners experienced a lack of interest and motivation to study due to the inaccessibility and complexity of the content that further caused gaps in students’ academic achievements (OECD, 2014).

Furthermore, Kazakhstan took participation in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009 and gained mediocre results in mathematics, reading literacy and science (Breeding, Trembley, & Rogers, 2013). The low results were a negative consequence of teaching ineffective curriculum, developing solely theory-based knowledge without functional literacy and applying out-of-date teaching approaches in learning (Fimiyar, 2014; Yakavets, 2014). Therefore, the implementation of the Updated Curriculum had become an inevitable step to reform secondary education to address those limitations indicated by abovementioned international studies.

Taking into consideration all recommendations, the State set a high priority on improving the quality of education at school context. Thus, it has initiated a far-reaching reform called “obnovlennoe soderzhanie obrazovaniia” (transliteration of the Updated

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Curriculum). There are many variants of the term in use including upgraded curriculum, new curriculum, renewed curriculum and Updated Curriculum. The study finds the term

“Updated Curriculum” relevant to use further in the chapters. The principal purpose and philosophy of the Updated Curriculum is to preserve the most excellent traditional teaching practices and integrate the world’s best practices to secondary school context throughout the Republic.

1.2. Policy Implementation

The Updated Curriculum was developed within five years and launched in 2016- 2017 academic year. Before that, the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) network first approbated the Updated Curriculum. NIS schools have become leading educational institutions in Kazakhstan headed by Autonomous Educational Organisation ‘Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools’ (AEO NIS). The First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev set a priority goal for AEO NIS to become “an experimental platform to develop, monitor, study, analyse, pilot, implement, and realise modern educational programmes: primary (including the pre-school level), lower secondary and upper secondary” (AEO NIS, 2018 p. 3). In addition, the State issued the special Law ‘On the Status of Nazarbayev University, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, and Nazarbayev Foundation’ that regulates and supports NIS schools functioning in the sphere of education in Kazakhstan. The fulfilment of particular objectives and further development of NIS schools has led to the emergence of the new aim to disseminate NIS experience to

mainstream context, which was emphasised in the President’s January 2012 address Socio- economic Modernisation: The Main Vector of Kazakhstan’s Development. Therefore, NIS’s approbated curriculum has become a model-base that provides a transition to the Updated Curriculum outlined legally in the 2016–2019 State Programme for Development of Education and Science (AEO NIS, 2018).

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The NIS curriculum became the core source of policies and approaches necessary for updating the curriculum of mainstream schools. It integrates “the best national and international experience” and organises the content in a spiral structure, which implies in- depth learning of a subject from grade to grade (AEO NIS, 2018 p. 5). In addition, the Updated Curriculum renews the traditional teaching approaches ensuring teachers shift from teacher-centred pedagogy towards learner-centred pedagogy in order to develop students’ critical thinking, problem-solving and research skills.

Alongside curriculum dissemination, NIS offers substantial methodological support to mainstream schools in the process of implementing the Updated Curriculum. The

President has bestowed NIS network with the status of regional methodological centres, which facilitated the branches of NIS in provinces to organise many professional development courses, workshops, seminars and training throughout the country. The National Center for Professional Development “Orleu” and the Center of Excellence (CoE), the affiliated branch of Autonomous Educational Organisation “Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools” conducted The Multilevel Programme Courses for teachers from 2012 to 2015 (MoES, 2016). By this period, the CoE has developed 81 educational programmes within the Updated Curriculum reform, trained 253 579 teachers, 4 174 school administrative staff members within the scope of the current reform initiative (AEO NIS, 2018).

In addition, the former Minister of Education and Science in Kazakhstan, Yerlan Sagadiev reported that in 2018, additionally, 73,000 teachers attended courses. Around 205 thousand teachers (67%), who teach based on the Updated Curriculum, had their salaries raised by 30% in accordance with the decree of the State’s President (Malakshinova, 2018).

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To support the implementation, there has been developed the route map of realisation of the current reform in mainstream schools of both urban and rural area

(MoES, 2016). The implementation process was launched in the 2016-2017 academic year from the 1st grades in accordance with the transitioning schedule (MoES, 2016). The schedule of the transition demonstrates the precise time frames. The transitioning route of the Updated Curriculum is working and demonstrating results in the country.

Table 1. The schedule of the Updated Curriculum implementation

Time frames Grades

September 1st, 2016 2016-2017 academic year

Grade 1 September 1st, 2017

2017-2018 academic year

Grade 1, 2, 5, 7 September 1st, 2018

2018-2019 academic year

Grade 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 September 1st, 2019

2019-2020 academic year

Grade 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

The Updated Curriculum has introduced essential amendments in the following areas of school education:

- A significant revision of subject programmes emphasizing the content that will help students to obtain knowledge and apply it in practice, as well as develop the twenty- first-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. The curriculum has gained a spiral feature when the content is repeatedly learnt in-depth from grade to grade. Also, the Updated Curriculum introduced brand-new textbooks written under revised subject programmes.

- Implementation of the criteria-based assessment which changes assessment procedures completely. Instead of traditional 5-scale grading, teachers conduct a formative and summative assessment in accordance with developed criteria and descriptors.

- A shift from traditional teacher-centred to learner-cet red teaching approaches and strategies, which means that teachers do not merely teach the content but facilitate and

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encourage students’ independent learning. Teachers apply active teaching, group work, project-based learning and Information and Communications Technology (ICT ).

- Introduction to the concept of trilingual education. Science subjects, as biology, chemistry, physics and ICT are taught in the English language at upper secondary school.

Geography and Kazakhstani history are taught in Kazakh, World history, physical

education and ICT at lower secondary school are taught in the Russian language regardless of the language instruction (Ixanova, 2017).

These are the significant changes that have been implemented from the 1st grade to 10th grade in a very short time. Also, the reform put into action the reduction of workdays, lesson duration from 45 minutes to 40 minutes, the amount of students’ home tasks and paperwork for teachers.

The above-mentioned amendments constitute the Updated Curriculum and its purposes. Alongside, the MoES develops methodical guidelines and recommendations, textbooks, digital resources and conduct continuing professional development courses to support teachers and educators of mainstream schools (MoES, 2016). These numerous activities are planned to complete the transitioning in time and to fulfil all the aims and objectives of the Updated Curriculum in terms of improving secondary school education in Kazakhstan.

1.3. Statement of the problem

Despite the ongoing process of the Updated Curriculum implementation, there appeared concerns from the vast majority of parents and the whole society about various limitations appearing within the reform implementation processes. In addition, one of the important group of stakeholders, which is teachers, might struggle immensely at the workplaces trying to understand and work in accordance with the curriculum reform. The main difficulties are teachers’ experiences of the updated pedagogy, new assessment

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system, teaching science subjects in English at upper secondary school and applying the new teaching methodologies in practice.

Moreover, many schools in regions and rural areas are equipped insufficiently, which might be a severe barrier for teachers to reorganize their work within the scope of the Updated Curriculum. The named novelties promoted by the reform requires modern equipment like computers, interactive whiteboard, as well as growing number of

stationaries which is hardly found in rural areas which include many ungraded schools but even at urban mainstream schools. As a result, teachers have to cope with many

inconveniences that can affect their attitude to the reform in a negative way. Thus, this study will make efforts to investigate teachers’ experiences of the updated pedagogy within the scope of the curriculum reform, as well as attempt to check the effectiveness of the reform implementation from the teachers’ perspectives. The outcomes of this research might serve as a source of knowledge for the improvement of the implementation process.

1.4. Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the current qualitative study is to investigate teachers’ experiences of the updated pedagogy of teachers within the scope of national curriculum reform in one urban and one rural secondary school in Kostanay region, Kazakhstan. Teachers are an essential element in the educational process and having known insights into their experiences whether it is positive or negative can help policymakers to rationalize the process of implementation of the reform.

1.5. Research Questions

Creswell stated (2012) “the central question is the overarching question you explore in a research study” (p. 132).

The following research question is formulated in this study:

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Central Question: How do teachers experience the pedagogic shift associated with the Updated Curriculum?

Sub-question #1: How do teachers understand their expected role and that of their students within the revised pedagogy?

Sub-question #2: What do teachers say they do in order to shift their pedagogy according to the Updated Curriculum?

Sub-question #3: What constraints do teachers experience in shifting their pedagogy, and how could they be supported in the shift from a teacher- to a learner-centred pedagogy?

Sub-question #4: How do teachers see the impact of their revised pedagogy on themselves and their students?

1.6. Definitions of Central Phenomena

The central phenomenon is teachers’ actual experiences of the updated pedagogy within the scope of implementing the Updated Curriculum in Kazakhstani mainstream context.

In addition, the Updated Curriculum revises the model of secondary school education, its curriculum, subject programmes, textbooks, as well as introduces a completely new assessment practice and facilitates a shift to learner-oriented teaching approaches.

1.7. Significance of the study

The current study is significant as it can make a valuable contribution to research on the Updated Curriculum implementation. The Updated Curriculum has become the most radical policy initiative ever experienced in Kazakhstani school education. Therefore, this research might produce significant implications for the field based on exploration of teachers’ actual experiences of the imposed changes at schools. Teachers can benefit from the study finding an excellent opportunity to share experiences and voice their concerns.

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Policymakers, in turn, can address those concerns in order to rationalize the process of implementation.

1.8. Outline of the study

The paper consists of six chapters. Chapter One: Introduction outlines the

educational context of Kazakhstan that preceded the Updated Curriculum, overview of the changes promoted within the reform, research purpose, research questions, and discusses the significance of the study. Chapter Two reviews relevant literature on the topic of research touching such aspects as curriculum definition and change, the role of teachers’

experiences and engagement in the process of curriculum policy implementation. Chapter Three describes the research methodology including research design, the research site and sampling, data collection procedures, data analysis and ethical considerations of the current study. Chapter Four presents and discusses the findings. The results of the study are

discussed with reference to research questions and reviewed literature in Chapter Five. The final chapter concludes the study by analyzing the results and revisiting research questions, as well as it presents the recommendations and discusses the limitations of the study.

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Chapter Two: Literature Review 2.1. Introduction

This research aims to explore teachers’ experiences of the updated pedagogy within the scope of national curriculum reform in one urban and one rural secondary school in Kostanay region, Kazakhstan. The study strives to answer the central research question:

How do teachers experience pedagogic shift associated with the Updated Curriculum?

This section represents an overview of the relevant literature related to this research.

This chapter discusses four major topics: (a) the definition of the concept “curriculum”; (b) implementing a change in the curriculum; (c) teachers’ engagement and experiences in the process of implementing curriculum reform; and (d) challenges in sustaining teachers’

positive experiences with curriculum innovations.

2.2. Defining the concept of Curriculum?

It is highly important to arrive at a comprehensive definition of the concept,

“curriculum”, even when “defining the word curriculum is no easy matter” (Marsh, 2004, p.3). The word originated from the Latin word meaning a ‘racecourse’ that all students have to overcome during their period of schooling - acquiring sufficient knowledge and useful skills. Another theorist describes “the curriculum is the first criterion by which a school is judged” (Morris, 1955, p. 152). Many scholars expanded the term throughout the twentieth century and attempted to articulate a clearer and more precise interpretation of the notion (Marsh, 2004). Therefore, there are various definitions suggested by different scholars.

Morris (1955) explains curriculum as “a series of experiences through which we wish children to go in order to emerge with attitudes, feelings, understandings, skills which we deem it important for them to have” (p. 154). These series of experiences or reality acquire the nature of being graded in which learners interact, react and behave (Morris,

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1955). In addition, Egan (1978) stated that a “curriculum is the study of any and all educational phenomena” (p. 71)., Egan (1978) figures out some important definitions of the term based on the interpretations of ancient philosophers Cicero and Rabirious in their works. Thus, the term “curriculum” was described using the statements as the temporal space or container people live in, as well as shift the focus on the content. These interpretations were further connected to the metaphorical extension of the curriculum, when the “racecourse” was full of obstacles that have to be overcome. These obstacles represented the things that have to be contained in an intellectual curriculum (Egan, 1978).

During the Ancient and Middle Age periods, the definition maintained between the two views of “a container or contained”. These circumstances facilitated the curriculum designers and scholars articulate immensely important questions that construct the

fundamental component of curriculum: “What should the curriculum contain?” and “What content should be used to exercise the Mind” (Egan, 1978, p. 66).

These discussions surrounding the meaning of the curriculum has led to the emergence of various approaches to the notion. Ornstein (1987) mentions:

A curriculum approach reflects a holistic position or a meta-orientation, encompassing the foundations of curriculum (the person's philosophy, view of history, view of psychology and learning theory, and view of social issues), domains of curriculum (common and important knowledge within the field), and the theoretical and practical principles of curriculum. An orientation expresses a viewpoint in relation to how curriculum is developed and designed, the role of the learner, teacher, and curriculum specialist in planning curriculum, the goals and objectives of the curriculum, and the important issues that need to be examined (p. 208).

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The foregoing highlights the importance of approaches to curriculum and their influence on definitions. In addition, Ornstein suggested several definitions: 1) action plan or formal document that outlines strategies and approaches to achieve aspired goals; 2) experiences of learners within and out of school contexts; 3) viewing the curriculum with regard to the subject matter (Mathematics, History, etc.) and by grade levels (elementary, secondary etc.) (Ornstein, 1987).

Having become acquainted with various scholars and their interpretations of the concept “curriculum,” it is possible to figure out common explanations of the term that is sufficiently understandable in a broader context of education. Therefore, ‘curriculum”

represents specific educational policies, content, practices, principles, approaches, and requirements for organizing teaching and learning processes within various subjects and grade levels in the school contexts. At the same time, it embodies specific settings, experiences, interactions, and philosophy for teachers and students that fulfils the collective aims to obtain the required knowledge and content.

Many developed states have begun to implement various curriculum reforms in order to improve the quality of education. As a result, various policy documents represent

individual explanation of the definition “curriculum”. For example, the United Kingdom introduced the National Curriculum in 1988, which established a number of core and foundational subjects. This enactment serves as one of the definitions, which means that the curriculum represents itself in the form of permanent subjects, such as reading, logic, mathematics and others. Another explanation states that the curriculum has to contain subjects that are most advantageous in modern society. In addition, all planned learning within school environments can also be attributed to the curriculum. At the same time, some scholars see the curriculum as the dominance of learning experiences to obtain skills and knowledge within different learning sites. In contrast to the interpretations as

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mentioned above, others claim that the curriculum has gained a modern characterization which means that students construct meaning from computer technologies. A further definition implies the questioning of authority and seeks for deeper meanings of human circumstances. Generally speaking, definitions of the curriculum vary, as there are problems posed by them (Marsh, 2014).

The field of curriculum studies is a vibrant scientific sphere that is still being developed in parallel with educational changes in modern times. Scholars, policymakers, educators, teachers and other people across countries understand, look and analyze the curriculum differently. Scholars attempt to see distinct “curriculum texts in context of the different approaches and definitions to curriculum” (Ornstein, 1987, p. 208). Therefore, the field of curriculum theory, planning and development studies facilitate improvements and best practices in the implementation of the curriculum within various social, economic and educational settings. In addition, the complexity of the curriculum implies the foundational aspects as definitions, characteristics, concepts and types of the curriculum. Historical views on psychological and learning theory, theoretical and practical principles, as well as goals and objectives are equally important while the curriculum is developed and designed in order to successfully implement it in a school context (Ornstein, 1987).

2.3. Implementing a change in the curriculum

Many countries around the globe are working hard to facilitate improvements in the sphere of education by introducing various reforms. Those reforms require huge

investments, as it is believed that successful outcomes of the educational initiatives will not only improve students’ knowledge and academic achievement but will contribute to the development of the whole state and economic growth (Oijambo, 2009). Therefore, over the past decades, many nations launched important education reform movements to facilitate

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positive changes and improve the level of education that will meet further the needs of the modern generation and society (Henson, 2015).

The curriculum plays a vital role in educational reform. To illustrate, Henson

mentioned (2015) “curriculum is the primary vehicle for achieving the goals and objectives of a school, a focus on curriculum planning and development is naturally a top priority of education reform” (p.7). In this regard, Qiquan and Liya (2013) pointed out that “most of the large-scale worldwide educational changes began with curriculum” (p. 13). Therefore, reforming school education should inevitably start with changes in the curriculum.

Curriculum change within the structure of the education system is a standard process due to dramatic social changes and technological advances that our community

experiences nowadays (Kelly, 2009). Kelly asserts (2009) that the education system has to provide continuous development and proper response to various changes in modern society and to increasing understanding of the educational processes (p. 5). Likewise, Henson (2015) contends that to “remain effective, the curriculum must be designed and modified to reflect the changes in society at large” (p. 8). In addition, Qiquan and Liya (2013)

maintain: “Curriculum change is the core of education development (p. 13). Therefore, making changes to curriculum is a necessary process for education to meet the demands of the modern community, provide continuous improvement in the rapidly changing world, and maintain our understanding of educational processes.

First and foremost, it is essential to define the types of change and their distinctive characteristics. Newton and Tarrant (1992) popularized ‘reactive’ and ‘proactive’ change.

Authors related both types of change directly to people as they are “the most important resource in any organization” and “that is the case in schools” (p. 11). Reactive change represents the situation when people at schools implement changes or innovations by devising and applying responses to others. In this case, changes are implemented to meet

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the requirements of policymakers, administrators, change agents and other responsible people who call for systematic changes at schools. People do not produce changes but adapt to them by implementing the directives of authorities. Proactive changes mean that people do not adapt to changes but initiate them to their practices within workplaces for themselves because they see the urgent need for changes and have a strong desire to improve the current states of affairs. In educational organizations, some enthusiastic teachers can become proactive in order to balance the objectives provided by superiors and implement necessary alterations. To illustrate, Newton and Tarrant stated (1992) that “the path to proacting are the allocation of time and the decision about objectives” which shows that people do not become discouraged due to emerging circumstances but devote

sufficient time for careful planning and implement purposeful changes (p. 11). Exploring both types of change helps to develop an understanding of prerequisites of teachers’

reactions to changes at schools, especially when they are exposed to such dramatic ones as curriculum change.

Another critical point to discuss is that curriculum change can be framed in accordance with specific change strategies and types of change. Chin and Benne (1976) suggested three common strategies for change: power-coercive, empirical-rational, and normative-reeducative (as cited in Quinn, 2004). Those strategies represent specific organizational structures that could be established in school contexts. For example, centralized institutions apply power-coercive and empirical rational change approaches, while decentralized institutions manage to use normative-reeducative strategy (White, 1988 & Markee, 1997 as cited in Quinn, 2004). Discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy would help to develop a better understanding of what strategy would

effectively drive successful change in various contexts, including educational institutions.

2.3.1. Power-coercive strategy of curriculum change

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The power-coercive strategy of curriculum change is commonly used in school education around the world. This strategy is put into action when a decision to initiate changes are managed by policymakers and external education department administrators. It means that outside change agents order decisions that do not include consultations with teachers and students who are directly associated with the curriculum. Organizations with explicit hierarchal structures without low-level staff participation employ this top-down approach to change. However, this strategy does not lead to individual initiatives of teachers who become “passive recipients” as they cannot make their contributions to curriculum improvement (Quinn, 2004, p. 97).

2.3.2. Empirical-rational strategy of curriculum change

This approach is similar to the power-coercive strategy of change due to functioning within centralized hierarchal structures. Policymakers, administrators and governmental bodies hold the knowledge and manage control over decisions, while teachers’

participation is reduced. The focus is on enhancing stakeholders’ knowledge of the reform, emphasizing the benefits of implemented curriculum changes. Among administrators of change, there are researchers who conduct valuable studies to find out research-based evidence which is necessary to justify changes (Quinn, 2004). By contrast, the advocates of power-coercive “use authoritative tactics to induce change instead of sharing information and justifying decisions with concrete evidence” (Quinn, 2004, p. 97). Nevertheless, both strategies have some shared drawbacks and limitations which include a lack of innovation and lack of staff participation (Quinn, 2004).

2.3.3. Normative re-educative strategy of change

This strategy puts emphasis on staff participation and collaboration. Markee (1997) stated that change is based on teacher action research and they can become change agents within their organisations who implement changes and identify potential areas for

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improvement in the process (as cited in Quinn, 2004). In contrast to the preceding two approaches, the normative re-educative strategy can provide long-lasting change and considerably higher adoption rates. This is because it is more humanistic, as it positions teachers as central to the change process. In addition, according to Kennedy (1987), teacher participation facilitates teacher professional development, and their interest in the change and further innovations (as cited in Quinn, 2004). However, this approach might be

“time-consuming and difficult”, as it demands a higher level of expertise from teaching staff (Quinn, 2004, p. 99). Not all teachers can initiate action research studies that would articulate issues and further formulate suggestions and improvements to the process of change in their organisation.

Another well-known specialist in the field of education, Fullan has discussed the educational change in his numerous works. Fullan (2007) represented educational change as a multidimensional entity consisting of three components or dimensions which are (1) the possible use of new or revised materials; (2) the possible use of new teaching

approaches; and (3) the possible alteration of beliefs (p. 30). Three aspects or components should work jointly toward the common objective of implementing a particular educational change. Any educational change, including curriculum innovation, introducing updated teaching and learning practices or any other reforms inevitably state and imply all those three dimensions (Fullan, 2007). The importance of applying three aspects of change is simply explained by the fact that any change and innovation as a set of materials and resources is noticeable because it can be employed with fewer efforts while changing teaching practices and beliefs take longer time but extend more profound influence and lead to essential changes (Fullan, 2007). McLaughlin and Mitra (2001) supported this conclusion by their research that studied how to implement “deep” changes. They

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introduced the concept of a “theory-based change” and highlighted an obstacle to the implementation of innovations. McLaughlin and Mitra (2001) found the following:

The problem for implementation is not only one of teachers “learning how to do it,”

but of teachers learning the theoretical percepts upon which participant structures and activity structures are based. Absent knowledge about why they are doing what they’re doing, implementation will be superficial only, and teachers will lack the understanding they will need to deepen their current practice or to sustain new practices in the face of changing contexts (p. 307).

Therefore, all three dimensions – materials and resources, teaching approaches and beliefs play a vital role when they complete one another toward achieving the common goal to implement a specific change. The challenge is to establish a relationship between those aspects, address emerging issues and make changes relevant in terms of personal use and efficiency (Fullan, 2007).

All of these strategies are in practice in various school contexts. However, the normative re-educative approach is preferable as it promotes involving teachers who play a vital role in the curriculum change. Other approaches might lead to surface change, but change should happen in teachers’ beliefs and attitudes first in order to sustain meaningful and useful changes in school contexts. Therefore, the next sub-section will explore

teachers’ engagement and experiences in the process of curriculum reforms.

2.4. Teachers’ engagement and experiences in the process of curriculum implementation

Teachers are the primary stakeholders who implement and deliver changes both at the school and classroom levels. According to Ornstein and Huskins (2013), curriculum developments must happen with the direct involvement of teachers, because they enact innovations and alterations of the curriculum, attempt to modify or fully renew their beliefs

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and practices in accordance with requirements that policymakers prescribe in the process of educational reform implementations. Likewise, Taba (1962) maintains that “changing the curriculum also involves changing individuals” (as cited in Obara & Sloan, 2009, p.

363). Priestley et al. (2012) confirm these ideas by the argument drawn from the data generated in the process of researching a secondary school in Scotland about the key role of teachers and their agency in viewing and efficiently enacting a change. Thus,

policymakers should always put significant emphasis on the importance of teachers’ role and engagement in the process of any policy implementation.

Furthermore, the teacher’s role or engagement is characterized by teachers’ overall experience of implementing any policy innovations in their contextual realities. Teachers’

experiences imply the way teachers “translate and implement educational reforms” and extend “a considerable personal influence on implementation process” (Ben Peretz, 1984 as cited in Niemi, 1987, p. 310; Luk Fong & Brennan, 2010). These experiences emerge when teachers deliver revised curriculum materials and employ the updated teaching and learning approaches in their daily practices to fit the reform’s pedagogical requirements.

Thus, change planners must monitor how teachers respond to curriculum reforms and extend broad and continuous support while teachers adjust their instructions and practices to enact prescribed curriculum materials. Leander and Osborne (2008) support this

statement indicating that policymakers must become aware of how teachers form their positionality and construct their voices to undermine in interventions while the reform agendas are implemented at their work sites. Therefore, policymakers need to ensure that teachers further gain useful experiences of the updated pedagogies.

Teachers’ positive experiences of the curriculum reform in schools will ensure considerably more effective implementation of revised content and what is more important - a successful shift to the updated pedagogic principles and classroom practices. This shift

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is related to Fullan’s (2007) third dimension of change which means initiating a change in teachers’ beliefs systems and views about the teaching practice. Alteration of an existing set of beliefs and internalising the new ones is a complex and sensitive process for teachers’ professional identities (Ryder & Banner, 2013). This complexity can be

explained by the fact that modern educational innovations and reforms in many countries have introduced the updated teaching practices that promote the ideas of learner-centred pedagogy and outcome-based education that imply using active and interactive methods of teaching, developing critical thinking skills, employing communicative approach, and facilitating students’ collaborative and independent learning (Cedefop, 2010). Those ideas advocate a paradigm change which entails a constructivist theory of teaching and learning that focuses on facilitating students’ active involvement in the process of implementing new concepts into existing knowledge (Faraday at al., 2011). In addition, Carney concurred (2008) that those reforms “aim to shift the focus in schooling from the transference of knowledge to students’ active engagement in shaping learning opportunities in ways that can be called upon throughout their later life” (p. 42). Therefore, these innovations mean a completely different experience for teachers as they have to abandon their traditional teaching practices toward the new trajectories of teaching the renewed curriculum content that indeed challenges them in their contextual realities. To illustrate, Finland (Niemi, 1984), sub-Saharan African countries (Chisholm & Leyendecker, 2007), Tibet (Carney, 2008), Hong Kong (Luk Fong, 2010), Estonia (Kesküla et al., 2012) and many other countries including Kazakhstan implemented education reforms aimed to implement pupil- centred teaching and learning in different periods of 20th and 21st century. Those countries exposed teachers to change their traditional teacher-centered teaching patterns and exam- oriented educational philosophies toward innovative learning approaches (Carney, 2008;

Luk Fong, 2010). Indeed, teachers in those countries, whether they resist or follow reform

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initiatives, gained their unique experience of interpreting and implementing curriculum policies, as well as the specific way they put an outward policy and teaching practices in a dialogue.

For that reason, policymakers should extend ongoing assistance and improve the awareness about contextual realities where teachers are developing their experiences of policy implementation. These measures will serve as an efficient mean to reach Fullan’s (2007) multidimensional entity of change – (1) instructional resources; (2) new teaching approaches; and (3) alteration of traditional and outdated beliefs about the practice which in combination will lead to an entirely successful implementation of any curriculum reforms (p. 30). The following example can show how it works in practice. If teachers continuously enact the updated curricular materials by implementing learner-centred pedagogy at their classrooms possessing adequate and timely support from change planners and gain a sustained positive experience of imposed reforms within sufficient time, then teachers will be able to fulfil a paradigm shift in their pedagogies and belief systems.

The next subsections will describe in detail the challenges teachers might face while they experience or engage with significant reform initiatives.

2.5. The challenges on the way to sustain teachers’ positive experiences of curriculum innovations

One of the most initial challenges is that teachers do not always receive sufficient attention and support from reform officers while they develop an understanding of what the new curriculum objectives mean for their practices at classrooms (Wedell & Grassick, 2018). Harris and Graham (2019) concurred with Mutch (2012) that sometimes change planners do not count on teachers and position them as an impediment for reforming without expressing any concern about their attitudes, beliefs and values. Policymakers

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expect that teachers approach a new curriculum as just “curriculum transmitters” rather than “curriculum developers or curriculum makers” (Shawer et al., 2009) which implies that teachers enact curriculum without making any sense of innovations, although they should ascertain if teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and views on teaching are in line with the reform guidelines or not (Harris & Graham, 2019). Then, based on this knowledge, they should develop effective strategies to derive continuous support to minimize tensions and teacher reluctance. The example of this negative tendency is seen in secondary schools of Kenya and Philippines as they implemented radical top-down initiatives with mandated changes and strong accountability measures while curriculum officers and policymakers disregard teacher’s role and input (Okwara et al., 2009 as cited in Okoth, 2016; Ongong’a, Okwara & Nyangara, 2010; Waters & Vilches, 2008). However, only teachers with their proactive engagement with the policy can sustain a fidelity of reform initiatives and deliver innovations as policymakers initially intended. That is why ignoring the role of teachers’

attitudes and beliefs and positioning them as “neutral implementers” (Niemi, 1987) might be a severe challenge to implement any significant educational reforms.

In addition, in some cases, policy officers have limited awareness of contextual realities where teachers experience local difficulties while they accommodate reform requirements. Among these problems, Fullan (2007) and O’Donnell (2005) mentioned that there might be a substantial lack of resources and facilities, big-class sizes, school

stakeholders’ averse position and insufficient knowledge of imposed curriculum changes.

Also, Grassick and Wedell (2018) introduced the notion “technical failures of

implementation” to describe this kind of contextual issues and also included “ineffective textbooks and limited teacher’s capacity” (p. 248).

Grassick and Wedell (2018) carefully discussed the issue of challenges within essential three interconnected themes as time, contextual confusion and risk. Proper

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understanding of time is of great importance for policymakers who often underestimate how much times is needed while planning and implementing any reforms. Grassick and Wedell (2018) called it also as “temporal dissonance” that represents policymakers’ lack of understanding of time divided into three phases of time as historical time, time for

planning and time for learning (p. 248).

Historical time entails becoming aware of dominant teaching and learning traditions, beliefs and views that are embedded in the context of curriculum introduction. However, policymakers underestimate difficulties that emerge while teachers move away from their personal core beliefs on education. As a result, reform officers do not devote sufficient time for effective planning of implementation procedures, taking into account teachers’

traditional education norms and assumptions that are different from outward changes.

Further, this superficial approach to monitor teachers in the process lead to the lack of time for learning which is hardly given to teachers. Thus, in bureaucratic and hierarchical schools, teachers cannot afford some meaningful time to accept and accommodate changes and their messages into their teaching realities (Grassick & Wedell, 2018).

Contextual confusion is a particular challenge which has two visible forms emerging directly from teachers’ experiences of change initiatives. Aside from change planners and teachers, there are other stakeholders such as school principals, parents, community

members and supervisors who have a severe impact on teachers’ experience. They can also face a lack of proper understanding of what curriculum innovations imply in terms of teaching and learning practices in contextual realities, as well as share with teachers embedded traditional views and beliefs regarding pedagogy. Thus, headteachers, parents and supervisors possess a limited capacity to support teachers and expect teachers’ usual behaviour and style while they enact an already Updated Curriculum. Also, teachers

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experience stress and anxiety as they are obliged to maintain a balance between policy requirements and local community expectations (Grassick & Wedell, 2018).

The second visible form of contextual confusion is called as “systemic incoherence”

(Grassick & Wedell, 2018) that imply implementation of some curriculum materials like textbooks, professional development courses and high-stakes examinations which to some extent contradict objectives and promoted pedagogies of the initiated reforms. As a result, teachers become overloaded trying to manage these systemic inconsistencies in an

effective practical way within their local practices and cope with stress and anxiety. To illustrate, China and countries in Central Asia have an existing culture of judging school and teachers’ effectiveness by the state’s high-stake examination. In these contexts, it is difficult to abandon traditional pedagogies that work well to achieve annual highest results on exams and instead to employ updated teaching approaches due to the risk of being a low-performing professional. The same fear of failure is common for school leaders and local education departments as well. That is why teachers return to preceding practices is justified (Grassick & Wedell, 2018).

The preceding set of challenges are interrelated. The relationship between temporal dissonance and systemic incoherence is maintained in the sense of risk, which is the last theme to be discussed in detail. Renewed curriculum policies imply significant pedagogical changes, including enacting Updated Curriculum materials, applying new teaching

approaches and changing the views about education which can potentially cause a threat to teachers’ professional image. O’Donnell (2005) states that teachers “have too much to lose personally and professionally to embrace change” (p. 313). Teachers gain experience of uncertainty, stress and anxiety while they redress the emerging imbalance between policy requirements and their day-to-day practices. In addition, teachers become exposed to a

“culture of compliance” (Yin et al., 2014) which implies a lack of trustworthy relationship

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with those who fulfil support functions in reform implementation and have a higher

hierarchal position in the system. As a result, teachers seem isolated as they do not have an opportunity to voice their concerns and release emotions on their experiences of changes (Grassick & Wedell, 2018).

Concluding this subsection, it is essential to note that difficulties always emerge in the process of any curriculum reform implementation. The challenges mentioned above are the most common, based on the experience of countries that have already undergone reform initiatives. However, those issues have a shared characteristic referenced to the importance of teachers’ role, engagement and experience while curriculum innovations are in place. Lambert and Biddulph (2015) stated that “teachers do not just ‘deliver’ a pre- packaged curriculum, instead they are the ones who give life and meaning to the curriculum, which requires a complex understanding of students, the subject and pedagogy” (as cited in Harris & Graham, 2018, p. 44). Therefore, successful reform implementation will always need teachers’ proactive engagement (Ha et al., 2004;

Priestley, 2012).

2.6. Summary of the chapter

This chapter has reviewed information from relevant scholarly sources about the curriculum and its definition, the nature of educational change and its types and strategies for implementing curriculum reforms at schools. The primary focus was given to the role of teachers, their engagement and experiences of pedagogical shifts in the process of curricular reform implementations. Also, the chapter had a careful look at potential

challenges that can emerge while teachers enact curriculum. The next chapter will outline a methodology of the study.

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Chapter Three: Methodology 3.1. Introduction

This chapter provides a detailed explanation of the methodology employed in the current study. In order to gain an in-depth understanding of mainstream school teachers’

experiences of the updated pedagogy within the scope of the current curriculum reform, it is relevant to gather data in this study based on a qualitative approach. This study presents the research design that was used to answer the central research question: How do teachers experience pedagogic shift associated with the Updated Curriculum? The chapter discusses the research design, sampling, data collection tools, procedures and analysis, as well as ethical considerations.

3.2. Research Design

It is important to offer a rationale for the selection of a particular research design.

First of all, it is crucial to define ontological (the nature of reality) and epistemological (the nature of knowledge) assumptions that underpin a study (Creswell, 2013). The Updated Curriculum entails multiple realities that include policymakers, authorities, school stakeholders and society. The current study explores mainstream school teachers’ reality where they experience the enactment of the imposed curriculum changes. Within

epistemological assumptions, the study cognizes the knowledge based on exploring participants’ subjective experience in their contextual realities (Creswell, 2013). In terms of a research paradigm, the study is based on phenomenology, which represents a

theoretical view about the experience (Cohen et al., 2018). The noticeable feature of phenomenological viewpoints is that they highlight the significance of documenting and exploring person’s experiences and consciousness related to the various meanings of the specific phenomenon (Cohen et al., 2018, Padilla-Diaz, 2015). According to Padilla-Diaz (2015), the most suitable data collection tool is in-depth interview. Therefore, the usage of

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phenomenology helped participants to express their experiences of a particular phenomenon thoroughly (Padailla-Diaz, 2015).

My positionality as a researcher in this study is an insider. I am looking to participants as to myself because I work as a teacher at an NIS school and I disseminate experience related to the work within the scope of the Updated Curriculum as a member of NIS experimental platform. As a researcher, I am well aware of myself as an intentional agent, who conducts the research and describes the teachers’ experience toward the implementation from an insider's position. Also, I as a teacher of NIS school, have

experience of the Updated Curriculum dissemination. Thus, I was interested if my position and relationship to the curriculum is different than teachers from mainstream schools.

Before I discuss my research design and methodology, it is important to figure out a common definition of research design. Yin & Campbell (2018) stated “the design is the logical sequence that connects the empirical data to a study’s initial research questions and, ultimately, to its conclusions” (p. 60). Creswell (2009) further expanded the description of the research design: “research designs are plans and the procedures for research that span the decisions from broad assumptions to detailed methods of data collection and analysis”

(p. 3). Based on these statements, it can be concluded that research design represents a broad scheme of selected and appropriate research methods and data collection activities aimed at answering research questions.

In this study, a qualitative approach was employed to gather relevant data. Creswell (2014) stated that in qualitative research, a researcher aims to investigate a research

problem in which he/she does not know the variables and is required to probe them. Also, it is necessary for a researcher to know more about the phenomenon of the study exploring participants because relevant literature might have insufficient information (Creswell, 2014). In addition, a qualitative approach is found the most relevant because as Dawson

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(2009) stated: “qualitative research explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences through such methods as interviews or focus groups. It attempts to get an in-depth opinion from participants” (p. 14-15). Therefore, based on this research design, there was an opportunity for the research to obtain deep insights into teachers’ lived experience of the updated pedagogy and in-depth understanding of the curriculum changes in the process of implementing the Updated Curriculum in their contextual realities.

The study employed a collective case study design within the scope of a qualitative study. The reason of applying this technique is t

Сурет

Table 1. The schedule of the Updated Curriculum implementation
Table 2. Characteristics of interview participants

Ақпарат көздері

СӘЙКЕС КЕЛЕТІН ҚҰЖАТТАР

The adoption of the Land Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan marked the stabilization of the legal framework of land relations, has opened a new stage of land reform

The foundations of the study of a particular problem of social pedagogy (the foundations of socio- pedagogical research (cognition) and practice) are their own

For Kazakhstan participation in the study of PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS is dictated by a number of factors that lead to the need for reform of the control and the evaluation of

This led to the con- clusion that to bring the structure and content of the Kazakhstan education in line with international standards and in the context of integration into

NURKATOVA Lyazzat Tolegenovna, Doctor of Social Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Almaty,

It was announced that the constitutional reform in Kazakhstan was coming. While speaking at the XVI “Nur Otan” party congress the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan,

Keywords: Central Asia, corruption, courts, independence, judges, judicial reform, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.. 1 The full text of the

The White Paper on Education and Train- ing in a Democratic South Africa (1995);the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996;the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability