Reforming the middle years curriculum in an international school: a naturalistic inquiry

Masters Thesis

Scagliarini, Richard. 2008. Reforming the middle years curriculum in an international school: a naturalistic inquiry. Masters Thesis Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.

Reforming the middle years curriculum in an international school: a naturalistic inquiry

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorScagliarini, Richard
SupervisorDorothy Andrews and Bryan Connors
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages360

This dissertation reports on the experiences of a small group of teachers and administrators as they endeavoured to reform the middle years curriculum of an international school in Japan. This single case study is based primarily upon the observations of the researcher, a middle school teacher at the school and a key participant in the reform process. This study is positioned in the naturalistic paradigm which allows for the accumulation of sufficient knowledge to lead to a holistic understanding of middle years curriculum reform within this context.

Reforming the middle years of schooling has received renewed attention in recent years. A new paradigm is emerging about the nature of schooling in this significant stage of life that is now recognised as crucial to the formation of attitudes, values, and habits of mind that shape the individual‘s identity and development as an adult. Despite the growth and status of international schools, very little is known about the nature and processes of middle years curriculum reform in this context. The central aim of this study was to provide a detailed and authentic account of the process of curriculum reform that can validate, guide and extend the current body of knowledge on middle years curriculum reform and is meaningful and useful to educators in the international school context.

Three dimensions of reform emerged in this study: the process of reform, identified as a multidimensional and interconnected process that ventured through six identifiable phases; the product of the reform, the Humankind Curriculum, was found to have its core features grounded in shared understandings of effective middle schooling; and the dynamics of change, which revealed a professional learning community as the catalyst for change, with the interplay of relational trust, leadership, interpersonal relationships and collaboration as empowering the capacity for reculturing the middle school. While the findings contribute to the current body of knowledge on middle school reform in the international school context, they also provide direction for further discussion, exploration and research.

Keywordsmiddle school; middle years; curriculum; Japan
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390199. Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified
390304. Primary education
390306. Secondary education
Byline AffiliationsNo affiliation
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