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Local Curriculum Development in Sustainability Education in New Zealand Secondary Schools.
Waikato /NZ
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at The University of Waikato.
Sustainability, though not well understood, is an increasingly important concept in society, and as such has become incorporated in school curricula. In New Zealand, sustainability was added to the national curriculum in 2007 as a non subject-bound thematic link through the values and key competencies associated with student learning. Teachers use the national curriculum, a statement of policy describing educational objectives, to plan their classroom practice with their particular learners in mind, a process referred to as local curriculum development.

Though sustainability education is new to New Zealand teachers, there is a strong history of environmental education where implementation has been successful in many primary schools, in which the curriculum is integrated. In the secondary school setting, the implementation of non subject-bound learning, like environmental education, has proven to be less successful, partly due to the siloed nature of subject specialisation. Sustainability as the interaction between environmental, social and economic perspectives has proven to be particularly difficult to address in such siloed econdary schools.

This study investigates the sense making practices of some English, science, social science and technology secondary teachers as they interpret sustainability in the national urriculum and create local sustainability curricula in their school settings. The research occurred three years after the introduction of the revised national curriculum and at a time when few professional learning opportunities existed to support teacher professional development. The research is founded on sociocultural learning theory drawing on concepts of mediated action, and situated and distributed cognition. Research data was generated over a year-long collaborative action research programme and analysed using Cultural Historical Activity Theory as a tool.

The findings indicate that these teachers were challenged by the siloed nature of curriculum delivery in addressing the holistic nature of sustainability in their local curriculum development. Teachers′ personal sociocultural backgrounds were influential in their sustainability curriculum development practices. These experiences influenced their perspective of sustainability, often limiting their perception of sustainability. These perspectival views of sustainability had direct influence on teacher′s curriculum development, constraining planned learning in sustainability to their perspective. Where teachers worked independently in their school to develop local curriculum their perspectives went unchallenged, resulting in local curricula that addressed only parts of the nature of sustainability.

Teachers′ perspectives of sustainability also influenced their ongoing professional learning choices in a conservative manner. Without intervention, this self-reinforcement of existing perceptions may lead to strengthening curriculum silos and further constrain sustainability education. Where teachers worked collegially across curriculum silos, and had opportunities to negotiate meaning around sustainability and sustainability education in the wider culture of the school, their perceptions of sustainability become more comprehensive, leading to local sustainability curricula which reflected more fully the holistic nature of sustainability.

Meaning making around sustainability and sustainability education, in the culture of the school, includes considering how sustainability is expressed in the national curriculum, what is meant by assessment of learning in sustainability, the role of students in curriculum development and the influence of external stakeholders in local curriculum development.
Inhaltsverzeichnis :
1 Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 Context of the Study
1.2 The Research Opportunity
1.3 The Researcher Position in the Research
1.4 Relevance of the Research
1.5 The Research Problem
1.5.1 Research Question 1: How do secondary teachers 1.5.1 make sense of sustainability?
1.5.2 Research Question 2: How do secondary teachers make sense of sustainability education?
1.5.3 Research Question 3: What are the practices of teachers when developing sustainability curricula in secondary schools?
1.6 Overview of Chapters

2 Chapter 2 A Literature Review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Sociocultural Theorising around Meaning Making
2.2.1 Cultural Historical Activity Theory as a Sociocultural Research Tool
2.3 Curriculum Development
2.3.1 National Curriculum
2.3.2 Local Curriculum
2.3.3 Local Curriculum Development
2.3.4 Teacher Professional Learning
2.4 Sustainability
2.4.1 Environmental Care
2.4.2 Sustainable Development
2.4.3 Sustainable Living
2.4.4 Sustainability Decision Making
2.5 Sustainability Education
2.5.1 Sustainability Education Principles
2.5.2 Education for Sustainable Development
2.5.3 The Aim of Sustainability Education
2.5.4 Sustainability in the National Curriculum
2.6 Chapter Summary

3 Chapter 3 Research Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 A Sociocultural Interpretive Paradigm
3.3 Ontological and Epistemological Assumptions
3.3.1 Objectivism
3.3.2 Constructivism
3.4 Methods
3.4.1 Action Research
3.4.2 Participatory Practical Action Research
3.5 Research Data Generation Methods
3.6 Participant Selection and Ethics
3.7 Research Phases
3.7.1 Phase 1 - Initial Interviews
3.7.2 Phase 2 Focus Group Discussion Days
3.7.3 Phase 3 Classroom Observations
3.7.4 Phase 4 Final Interview
3.8 Data Management
3.9 Data Analysis and Interpretation
3.10 Chapter Summary

4 Chapter 4 Research Findings at South School
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Setting
4.3 Sarah′s Perception of Sustainability (subject)
4.4 Sarah′s View of Sustainability Education (object)
4.5 Sarah′s View of Sustainability in the National Curriculum (psychological tool)
4.6 South School Culture (rules)
4.7 Curriculum Stakeholders (community)
4.8 Curriculum Development Practices (division of labour)
4.9 Sarah′s Local Sustainability Curriculum in South School (outcome)
4.10 Chapter Summary

5 Chapter 5 Research Findings at North School
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Setting
5.3 Wayne′s Perception of Sustainability (subject)
5.4 Wayne′s View of Sustainability Education (object)
5.5 Wayne′s View of Sustainability in the National Curriculum (psychological tool)
5.6 North School Culture (rules)
5.7 Curriculum Stakeholders (community)
5.8 Local Curriculum Development Practices (division of labour)
5.9 Wayne′s Local Sustainability Curriculum in North School (outcome)
5.10 Chapter Summary

6 Chapter 6 Research Findings at West School
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Setting
6.3 Greg′s Perception of Sustainability (subject)
6.4 Greg′s View of Sustainability Education (object)
6.5 Greg′s View of Sustainability in the National Curriculum (psychological tool)
6.6 West School Culture (rules)
6.7 Curriculum Stakeholders (community)
6.8 Local Curriculum Development Practices (division of labour)
6.9 Greg′s Local Sustainability Curriculum in West School (outcome)
6.10 Chapter Summary

7 Chapter 7 Research Findings at East School
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Setting
7.3 Mary
7.3.1 Mary′s Perception of Sustainability (subject)
7.3.2 Mary′s View of Sustainability Education (object)
7.3.3 Mary′s View of Sustainability in the National Curriculum (psychological tool)
7.4 Chris
7.4.1 Chris′s Perception of Sustainability (subject)
7.4.2 Chris′s View of Sustainability Education (object)
7.4.3 Chris′s View of Sustainability in the National Curriculum(psychological tool)
7.5 Jenny
7.5.1 Jenny′s Perception of Sustainability (subject)
7.5.2 Jenny′s View of Sustainability Education (object)
7.5.3 Jenny′s View of Sustainability in the National Curriculum (psychological tool)
7.5.4 Summary of East School Teachers
7.6 East School Culture (rules)
7.7 Curriculum Stakeholders (community)
7.8 Local Curriculum Development Practices (division of labour)
7.9 Mary, Chris and Jenny′s Local Sustainability Curriculum in East School (outcome)
7.10 Chapter Summary

8 Chapter 8 Discussion and Conclusions
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Research Question 1: How do secondary teachers make sense of sustainability?
8.3 Research Question 2: How do secondary teachers make sense of sustainability education?
8.4 Research Question 3: What influences secondary teacher thinking when creating local sustainability curricula in secondary schools?
8.5 Conclusions
8.6 Limitations
8.7 Implications
8.7.1 Implications for National Curriculum Developers
8.7.2 Implications for Regional Curriculum Developers
8.7.3 Implications for School-based Curriculum Developers

9 References

10 Appendices
Appendix A Interview Schedules
Appendix B Participant Selection and Ethics
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