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Seminar by Professor Jim Ryder (University of Leeds) 'Being professional: Accountability and authority in teachers’ responses to curriculum reform'

***Please note venue change*** The school curriculum is a focus of repeated reform in many countries. However, the enactment of such reforms within schools rarely reflects the intended outcomes of curriculum designers. This seminar considers what we know about the experiences and reflections of teachers in the enactment of externally driven school science curriculum reform. ‘Externally driven’ signals a focus on studies of teachers who did not make a proactive choice to adopt a particular curriculum reform initiative. This is a very common experience for teachers in many school systems, and one likely to highlight issues of professionalism and authority that are central to the work of teachers. The seminar draws from a recent review of 34 relevant studies. These include studies of teachers’ experiences of national curriculum reform, and also studies focusing on more regional or local curriculum reform activities. The studies examine individual teacher’s beliefs, practices and reflections associated with curriculum reform, the response of teacher communities to reform (e.g. within school departments), and teachers’ (and other stakeholders’) experiences across school systems. A wide range of factors influencing teachers’ responses are identified. These are characterised in terms of personal, internal and external contexts of teachers’ work. The review also highlights issues of authority, professionalism and the process of meaning-making in response to external curriculum reform. The seminar will consider important areas for future research and give recommendations for the design of curriculum policies that recognise and support the professionalism of teachers.

Event details


Jim Ryder is Professor of Science Education in the School of Education, University of Leeds. His research examines attempts to develop a school science education that supports people’s engagement with science outside of formal schooling. He is currently examining the varying ways in which schools, teachers and students respond to major systemic curriculum reform initiatives. This includes examining the impact of the reforms on teachers’ professionalism, students’ attitudes towards science, and student participation in post-compulsory science courses. He is Director of the Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education (CSSME),  Editor of the international research review journal Studies in Science Education, and a member of Executive Board of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA)

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North Cloisters 12