Hui, Sammy King Fai (2008) A study of curriculum leaders' selves and attitudes toward action research in the postmodern age. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
Curriculum leaders are key agents of the recent curriculum reforms in Hong Kong. They are appointed in individual schools and their role is to make sure different reform measures and policies are functioning well and by and large leading to quality school curriculum. To convey these measures and policies to schools and schoolteachers, a key approach recommended by the authorities is to engage in action research as a means of professional and curriculum development. The purpose of this thesis is (i) to explore the attitudes which Hong Kong curriculum leaders have toward action research and (іі) to examine their perceptions of self which are formulated as a response to the education and curriculum reforms, in an era characterized by the term "postmodern". From a postmodern perspective the whole project of reform and its means-end logic can be seen as modernist, for it is assumed there is a "promising” vehicle for whole-person development and emancipation that will deliver predetermined outcomes. However from a postmodern perspective, norms are not to be found in foundations. To curriculum leaders, there is always the conflict between the official expectations of government bodies/policy makers and the actual problems they find in work. Thus, their selves are in danger of getting more and more fragile, more and more fragmented. This thesis provides research evidence not only of the attitudes curriculum leaders have toward action research, but also how they speak, think and act toward the project of education, how they perceive the critiques and merits of the education and curriculum reform, and how they conceptualize and put forth themselves as leaders for curriculum change. Methods used in this thesis include: first a survey research administering the Attitudes Toward Research instrument (ATR) with a large cohort of curriculum leaders who participated in one of the training programmes that aimed for advancing their work, and second an in-depth exploration, through a dialogical method of informal chats and interviews, with five of them. Survey results suggested: (i) curriculum leaders in general favoured using research in their work; (іі) apart from what the policy makers promoted as a "communal" sense of research significance for professional development, practitioners were concerned too with a "pedagogical" sense of research significance (which fits well with postmodern thinking) for providing individual solutions for teaching and learning challenges; and (ііі) policy makers need to have an alternative, wider concept of the purpose of action research, to empower curriculum leaders to believe more their own efforts of understanding and criticizing the present education context and to develop their own approach to reform. Informal chats and interviews suggested: (i) although the five curriculum leaders were very different in their life experience and perceptions of self working as curriculum leaders, they all encountered difficulties in leading curriculum change in schools and classrooms; and (іі) curriculum leadership was difficult. In order to spread leadership practices among the school, it is necessary for school leaders, as well as curriculum developers and policy makers, to disseminate curriculum information to schools and the wider public in terms of free and rich communication. The thesis makes recommendations on how reform policy might be conveyed to schools, curriculum leaders and teachers in a postmodern age.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Education|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||09 Sep 2011 09:57|