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Struggles for Curriculum Reform: A Case Study on an English Subject Leader's Change of Emotions and Professional Identity
School-based curriculum development
|Issue Date:||2020-08-03 18:32:52 (UTC+8)|
Concerning teachers’ involvement as a critical role in the recent curriculum reform—New Curriculum Guidelines of 12 Year Basic Education, the case study attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of a Taiwanese English subject leader’s survival in school-based curriculum development. The purpose of the study is to explore the teacher-participant’s emotions and perception of her professional identities, including her interpretation of these emotional experiences and her view on subject leadership in curriculum design.
Data was generated through her online journals, the researcher’s notes, semi-structured interviews and oral narratives over a six-month period with a female in-service English teacher in a junior high school located in the capital city of Taiwan. Her accounts were reconstructed to give snapshots of how a teacher struggles to manage feelings of nervousness, worry, anxiety and stress on a daily basis. As the eight narratives offer a glimpse into each unique moment in which she was emotionally provoked, events are interwoven with one another and there emerges the dynamic interaction between emotions and professional identities. The findings illustrate a burned-out teacher undergoing a massive reform has experienced multiple emotions in a process of change. Additionally, her stories present a chronic tendency from a positive state to a negative one. In particular, the interpretations of them elicit more negative emotional terms rather than positive ones; that exemplifies teachers’ persistent struggles in all aspects. On the other hand, the stressed teacher also encountered problems, such as enduring excessive workload, having difficulties to meet the principal’s expectations or identifying with the set goals. Struggles with these conflicting situations elevate the level of anxiety, which made her fall into a trap of dreary cycles. However, from struggle to strength, the novice subject leader has survived the bad stories and grown into a proficient master of multi-tasking towards her journey’s end.
The research provides implications for the complex nature of teacher emotion and professional identity in the context of curriculum reform. First, opportunities should be present for teachers to articulate internal emotional experiences in various situations that evoke their strong feelings. Second, better coordinating efforts towards effective implementation of educational reform are required to improve teachers’ task perception and support them go through the period of adopting new ideas. Lastly, the transformational leadership style of school principals determines the tremendous effects of building positive school climate, which enhances teachers’ well-being and hence has profound influence on the success of achieving fundamental curriculum changes.
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