Teachers' Experiences in Curriculum Implementation: General Curriculum, The Arts, and Health and Physical Education

Publication Details

This report is part of the National School Sampling Study, a Ministry of Education initiative to investigate how teachers work with the curriculum, 2002-2003. This is the final report in a series which investigates teachers' experiences in teaching from the New Zealand curriculum.

Author(s): Clive McGee, Ann Harlow, Thelma Miller, Bronwen Cowie, Mary Hill, Alister Jones and Ariana Donaghy, The University of Waikato. Report Prepared for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: 2004

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This report is part of the National School Sampling Study, a Ministry of Education initiative to investigate how teachers work with the curriculum, 2002-2003. The first report in June 2001 outlined how teacher focus group discussions informed the development of national questionnaires. In April 2002 the research team reported on the first round of questionnaires: general curriculum; mathematics; technology; and Māori medium. A subsequent report in April 2003 outlined the results of questionnaires to investigate teachers' experiences in teaching from the New Zealand national curriculum documents in English, languages (Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Samoan), science and social studies.

The major content of this report is the results of another general questionnaire and questionnaires on the arts and health and physical education. The report presents statistical data based upon frequencies and ratios, often organised into school type. Where appropriate, additional comments from `other' categories are presented. Questionnaires included open-ended questions, and results from these are from a sub-sample drawn up for each set of questionnaire responses.

The questionnaires were designed to allow teachers to self-report their curriculum experiences, particularly in using the documents that form a central part of New Zealand's national curriculum: The New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1993), and the statements for the seven curriculum areas which were all relevant to this survey round. Some teachers focused upon the arts or the health and physical education curriculum statements; others on the curriculum generally. Teachers were asked about the documents themselves, professional development, assessment, reporting achievement, school curriculum organisation, the impact of various national curriculum policies, support and resources, and curriculum manageability. They were also encouraged to describe effective aspects of their teaching from the documents, and to reflect upon the impact upon student achievement.

The results show that national curriculum implementation is a complex matter. In general, teachers were reasonably positive about various aspects of their own teaching. Many reported increased confidence in planning, assessment and reporting. The curriculum documents were fairly positively regarded. A number of other factors contributed to teacher confidence such as professional development, resources, review of schools and teachers, and the influence of other teachers. However, there were concerns that need to be taken into consideration in future policy; for example, the quality and type of professional development and resources, curriculum and teacher overload, and teachers' reservations about some aspects of the curriculum documents.