CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
In the previous chapter, the literature review was presented. The chapter covered description of the types of curriculum, models of curriculum development, the global view of curriculum reforms, and challenges facing curriculum implementation around the globe. This chapter presents the theoretical framework that guides the study. Theoretical frameworks have become a very important component and common norm in research. According to Kombo and Tromp (2013:56), “a theoretical framework is a collection of interrelated ideas based on theories”. Further, they say that a theoretical framework is a reasoned set of propositions, which are derived from and supported by data or evidence. Using theoretical frameworks strengthens research as it helps to make strong connections between the current study and what has been developed already. Research finds a theoretical framework as a backbone or a pole on which to lean on and gain support. Vinz (2015) observes that a theoretical framework provides the scientific justification for an investigation. In this regard, this study does not stand in isolation. It derives its support from several theories and models. However, the Deliberative Curriculum Theory was adopted to guide this study.
THE DELIBERATIVE CURRICULUM THEORY
This study adopted Kridel’s (2010) theory of curriculum development. Kridel (2010:204) observed that curriculum development has a component that deals with issues of implementation and deliberation. Good implementation requires the main agents of the curriculum to be in general agreement with the normative tasks at hand and to have resources, time and the insight to complete their work while also understanding that their work is rooted in an ongoing evaluative effort to improve the school experience.
Group deliberation is the emphasis in curriculum development. In this arrangement, participants in the operation of the school are involved in ongoing discussion and debate over what needs to be done. This theory is supported by age old philosophies of curriculum theory propounded by Pinnar (2004), an American philosopher and scholar, and Schwab (1978, 1983). Schwab proposed school-based curriculum development through a deliberative and inquiry approach. He contended that curriculum revision called for collaborative groups of different disciplines and experiences which include learners, teachers, subject matter and milieu, and the curriculum specialist. The curriculum specialist has a coordinating role while the other groups set their own goals, methods and resources and should not be bound to centralised authorities. Interesting, in Schwab’s model, is the combination of stakeholders in CDP. Coming out of this model is that the teacher is acknowledged together with the learner, for whom the content in the curriculum is planned.
Pinnar (2004:249) philosophically explains
The point of public education is not to become ‘accountable’, forced through ‘modes of address to positions of ‘gracious submission’ to the political and business status quo. The point of public education is to become an individual, a citizen, a human subject engaged with intelligence and passion in the problems and pleasures of his or her life, problems and pleasures bound up with the problems and pleasures of everyone else in the nation, on this planet.
To sum up, every individual, however they may be involved with the curriculum, needs to be engaged intelligently in the development of it. An imposed curriculum does not produce competence in teachers to execute their duties. Should a curriculum be imposed, it denies the teacher the autonomy and flexibility to modify learning especially for LSENs. In an imposed curriculum, teachers feel accountable to some higher authority and not that they are teaching because they are responsible. They teach to satisfy some ‘higher god’ somewhere. The implication of such a curriculum, (the imposed curriculum) is that there is a connotation of mistrust in the teacher. This threatens quality implementation of the curriculum. Since the teaching of LSENs continuously produces new challenges, experimental curriculum implementation helps teachers to discover weaker areas of the curriculum and recommend patches to such areas. In a restricted curriculum or rather a curriculum that teachers have not been involved in devising, it is difficult to make any modifications unless the owner or the originator is consulted. Such bureaucratic arrangements derail quality education delivery especially for LSENs. The ideal situation is that the originator of the curriculum should be the teacher. In this case, the teacher would be in charge of the decisions that affect and influence the curriculum.
According to UNESCO-IBE (2013:24), “curriculum development is a social debate process that involves different stakeholders in the community at the local, regional and national levels”. Main stakeholders in this social debate and deliberation are expected to talk over issues of concern about the curriculum and if differences occur, debate is regarded as healthy and directed toward a common goal. Among these main stakeholders, in an ideal world, the main CDP participants are teachers. Teachers need to engage in the curriculum debate and digest the rationale for change and what should be involved in the change. Since teachers implement the curriculum, at no level should they be omitted in the process of curriculum development. Carl (2012) observes that teachers’ direct involvement in CDP will determine the level of success and such involvement explains the need to be partners and not passengers or onlookers. They are very important decision-makers who should not be ignored in curriculum development. Teachers need to have knowledge and the resources relevant for curriculum implementation. Curriculum should not be made for them so that they responsible only for implementation. This has serious implications for success. The sense of ownership is likely to dwindle as the implementer meets regular challenges. Tyler (2013:126) says “if a school wide program of curriculum reconstruction is undertaken, it is necessary that there is widespread faculty participation”. When teachers are engaged in the CDP, they would know what materials to develop for the curriculum designed for the learners. There would be a serious disjuncture if the one who designs the curriculum is someone else, the one who develops teaching and learning materials is another and the one to implement the curriculum is then the teacher. In school curriculum reform, Tyler (2013:126) notes:
unless the objectives are clearly understood by each teacher, unless he is familiar with the kinds of learning experiences that can be used to attain these objectives, and unless he is able to guide the activities of students so that they will get these experiences, the education program will not be an effective instrument for promoting the aims of the school. Hence every teacher needs to participate in curriculum planning at least to the extent of gaining an adequate understanding of these ends and means.
Teachers’ active participation in CDP has many advantages for curriculum implementation. Where deliberation prevails, curriculum is becomes connected to the peculiarities of the local situation. Group deliberation also supports democracy and gives the curriculum the benefit of drawing ideas from multiple perspectives. When such a culture is embraced, key players in the CDP would be teachers and they would take ownership of the school curriculum because their part in determining it is identifiable. From this theoretical understanding of curriculum development, the teacher is a critical and crucial stakeholder in CDP. Teachers are at the centre of not only designing the curriculum but implementing it as well. It therefore calls for teachers’ serious involvement in the curriculum process (Kridel 2010).
Furthermore, the strength of a good curriculum relies on evaluation. Evaluation is an activity that checks the strengths and weaknesses of certain practices employed in the implementation process. In many cases, the design may look acceptable. However, gaps may emerge during the implementation period. When teachers are engaged at all stages of CDP, they would be able to provide insight into certain aspects they could have overlooked during the planning stages. Teacher engagement in CDP allows for them to continuously evaluate the curriculum they are implementing. In deliberative curriculum theory, teachers draw “all their effort” together, their “brains and skills” to engage in a debate on what could have gone wrong that affects the quality of education. With the deliberative effort, together, they would come up with suggestions and eventually solutions to identified problems. This would lead to improvement in the curriculum. The challenges in SE call for a deliberative effort to evaluate the curriculum on an ongoing basis and to improve pedagogy.
As has been observed in most African nations, CDP is characterised by a top-down approach. Technocrats drive the change and impose the implementation. Where CDP is viewed as a technocratic process, the curriculum product acts as a manual for instructions written by agents outside the school community and the educational situation. In the Zambian situation, the CDC is by law mandated to drive curriculum change. This is opposed to the centre being a facilitator for change.
In this chapter, the theoretical framework was presented. The theoretical framework used in this study emphasises that curriculum development requires stakeholders to be in agreement, to have resources, time and insight into curriculum implementation. Further, ongoing evaluation is advanced as a very important practice for effective curriculum implementation. The next chapter presents the research design and methodology for this study.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.3 MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY
1.4 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 AIMS OF THE STUDY
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.8 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
1.9 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.10 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.12 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS IN THE STUDY
1.13 OUTLINE OF THE STUDY
1.14 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF CURRICULUM
2.3 MODELS OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
2.4 DEVELOPING AN INCLUSIVE CURRICULUM
2.5 CURRICULUM REFORMS: THE GLOBAL VIEW
2.6 STRATEGIES FOR CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION IN SE
2.7 CHALLENGES OF CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION
2.8 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.2 THE DELIBERATIVE CURRICULUM THEORY
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
4.2 RESEARCH PARADIGM
4.3 RESEARCH APPROACH
4.4 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.5 POPULATION AND SAMPLING
4.6 RESEARCH TOOLS AND PROCEDURES FOR DATA COLLECTION
4.7 RATIONALE FOR THE CHOICE OF INSTRUMENTS
4.8 PILOTING OF INSTRUMENTS
4.9 DATA ANALYSIS
4.10 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF RESULTS
4.11. CREDIBILITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS of the findings
4.12. HOW THE USE OF MIXED METHODS ENRICHED THIS STUDY
4.13 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.14 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: PRESENTATION, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND FINDINGS
5.2 SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS’ INVOLVEMENT IN CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
5.3 HOW THE CURRICULUM WAS BEING IMPLEMENTED
5.4 CHALLENGES FACED BY TEACHERS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2013 CURRICULUM
5.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FROM TEACHERS
5.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.2 THE GAPS IN COLLABORATION and THE IMPACT ON CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION
6.3 HOW THE STUDY LINKS TO THEORY
6.4 CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE BODY OF KNOWLEDGE
6.5 IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.6. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS
6.7 CONCLUDING REMARKS
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION FOR LEARNERS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: THE CASE OF SELECTED INCLUSIVE AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS IN ZAMBIA