The Increasing Standardization of Curriculum and Instruction in Two Central-Iowa Elementary Schools and its Effect on Teacher Autonomy and Creativity
Hood, Angie Palmer
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This qualitative, phenomenographical study investigated the increasing standardization of curriculum and instruction and its affect on teacher autonomy and creativity. Surveys completed by 18 kindergarten through 5th grade teachers, from one central-Iowa, metrodistrict provided initial data. A small focus group conducted in a neighboring metrodistrict provided additional data. Coding and analyzing survey data and the focus group transcription, coupled with documentation reviews from both districts were performed and findings discovered. The two districts’ varied approaches to implementation of curriculum and instruction resulted in teachers’ differing opinions regarding daily teaching, how standards and standardization affected them, and their ability to teach within their own personal teaching philosophy. Results from this study indicated teacher autonomy and the freedom to be creative were adversely affected by increasing standardization of curriculum and instruction. The survey teachers struggled with professionalism, stress, and meeting the needs of the whole child, while the focus group teachers found their opportunities for teacher autonomy and creativity allowed them to teach within their philosophical beliefs and tend to the whole child. Implications and recommendations based on the study’s conclusions were suggested.
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