Faithfully following, adapting, or rejecting mandated curriculum: teachers’ curricular enactments in elementary writing instruction

Sarah J. McCarthey, Rebecca Woodard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The qualitative study shows how 20 teachers from 4 districts in the same state enacted mandated school-wide writing curricula. Analyses of the observations and interviews revealed that 4 teachers were faithfully following the district-adopted curriculum, 4 rejected it, and 12 teachers adapted the curriculum to meet their students’ needs. The teachers who followed the curriculum had positive views of it but were inexperienced or uncomfortable teaching writing and had less access to professional development (PD) than teachers in other groups. Most of the teachers who adapted the curriculum were experienced teachers and felt supported in making changes due to the quality of PD. The teachers who rejected the curriculum were unhappy with the existing curriculum and drew from a number of different resources; however, their writing instruction lacked coherence and an underlying philosophy of writing. The findings show that factors such as policies, PD, and personal factors including previous writing experiences and philosophies influenced teachers’ enactments. While previous studies have found that overarching policies including NCLB increase pressure on teachers resulting in a lack of autonomy, our findings explore the ways that teachers were able to navigate their school contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-80
Number of pages25
JournalPedagogies
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Keywords

  • Writing
  • curriculum
  • elementary
  • instruction
  • teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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