Understanding decision making in teachers’ curriculum design approaches

Research Article

Abstract

The goal of this study was to reach a better understanding of the intuitive decisions teachers make when designing a technology-rich learning environment. A multiple case-study design was employed to examine what kinds of factors (external priorities, existing orientations or practical concerns) influence design interactions of teams of kindergarten teachers. This study combines semi-structured interview data on teachers’ existing orientations with analysis of teachers’ design discussions during the design of learning material for a technology-rich learning environment. Three teams of teachers voluntarily participated. Findings on the existing orientations suggest that knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learning related to knowledge and beliefs on technology and early literacy. The analysis of teachers’ discussions revealed that the process could be characterized to a large extent as brainstorms; and that problems are not addressed in-depth. Rather they are resolved through brainstorming, and most argumentation falls in the realm of practical concerns: how to organize learning activities and how to respond to contingencies. The findings of this study suggest that teachers’ explicated design reasoning is mostly influenced by practical concerns, yet their own knowledge and beliefs play an important role at the start of the design process. However, these existing orientations as well as the practical concerns that emerge during the conversation tend to be narrow in scope. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in light of how this study provides understanding of how to support these teachers.

Keywords

Technology integration Qualitative analysis Kindergarten Early literacy 

References

  1. Ben-Peretz, M. (1990). The teacher-curriculum encounter: freeing teachers from the tyranny of texts. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  2. Borko, H. (2004). Professional development and teacher learning: Mapping the terrain. Educational researcher, 33(8), 3–15. doi:10.3102/0013189x033008003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1996). Learning to teach. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 673–708). London: Prentice Hall International.Google Scholar
  4. Buchanan, T. K., Burts, D. C., Bidner, J., White, V. F., & Charlesworth, R. (1998). Predictors of the developmental appropriateness of the beliefs and practices of first, second, and third grade teachers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(3), 459–483. doi:10.1016/S0885-2006(99)80052-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of research on curriculum (pp. 363–395). New-York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Cross, N. (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221–227. doi:10.1016/0142-694X(82)90040-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cross, N. (2004). Expertise in design: an overview. Design Studies, 25(5), 427–441. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2004.06.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cviko, A., McKenney, S., & Voogt, J. (2012). Teachers enacting a technology-rich curriculum for emergent literacy. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(1), 31–54. doi:10.1007/s11423-011-9208-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davis, E. A., Beyer, C., Forbes, C. T., & Stevens, S. (2011). Understanding pedagogical design capacity through teachers’ narratives. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(4), 797–810. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2011.01.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Kock, A., Sleegers, P., & Voeten, M. J. M. (2005). New learning and choices of secondary school teachers when arranging learning environments. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(7), 799–816. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2005.05.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deketelaere, A., & Kelchtermans, G. (1996). Collaborative curriculum development: An encounter of different professional knowledge systems. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 2(1), 16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dorst, K., & Cross, N. (2001). Creativity in the design process: Co-evolution of problem–solution. Design Studies, 22(5), 425–437. doi:10.1016/S0142-694X(01)00009-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Doyle, W., & Ponder, G. A. (1977). The practicality ethic in teacher decision-making. Interchange, 8(3), 1–12. doi:10.1007/bf01189290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. George, J. M., & Lubben, F. (2002). Facilitating teachers’ professional growth through their involvement in creating context-based materials in science. International Journal of Educational Development, 22(6), 659–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grossman, P. L. (1990). The Making of a Teacher: Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Education. New York: Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  16. Handelzalts, A. (2009). Collaborative curriculum development in teacher design teams (PhD Doctoral). Universiteit Twente, Enschede.Google Scholar
  17. Hong, Y.-C., & Choi, I. (2011). Three dimensions of reflective thinking in solving design problems: a conceptual model. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59(5), 687–710. doi:10.1007/s11423-011-9202-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoogveld, A. W. M., Paas, F., & Jochems, W. M. G. (2003). Application of an instructional systems design approach by teachers in higher education: Individual versus team design. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(6), 581–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoogveld, A. W. M., Paas, F., Jochems, W. M. G., & van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2001). The effects of a Web-based training in an instructional systems design approach on teachers’ instructional design behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 17(4), 363–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Horn, I. S. (2010). Teaching replays, teaching rehearsals, and re-visions of practice: Learning from colleagues in a mathematics teacher community. Teacher College Records, 112(1), 225–259.Google Scholar
  21. Jonassen, D. (2000). Toward a design theory of problem solving. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(4), 63–85. doi:10.1007/bf02300500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jonassen, D. (2012). Designing for decision making. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(2), 341–359. doi:10.1007/s11423-011-9230-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kerr, S. T. (1981). How teachers design their materials: Implications for instructional design. Instructional Science, 10(4), 363–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2005). What happens when teachers design educational technology? The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32(2), 131–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koehler, M. J., Mishra, P., & Yahya, K. (2007). Tracing the development of teacher knowledge in a design seminar: Integrating content, pedagogy and technology. Computers & Education, 49(3), 740–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lawson, B. (2004). Schemata, gambits and precedent: Some factors in design expertise. Design Studies, 25(5), 443–457. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2004.05.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lera, S. G. (1981). Empirical and theoretical studies of design judgement: A review. Design Studies, 2(1), 19–26. doi:10.1016/0142-694X(81)90025-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Little, J. W. (2002). Locating learning in teachers’ communities of practice: opening up problems of analysis in records of everyday work. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18(8), 917–946. doi:10.1016/s0742-051x(02)00052-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McKenney, S., & Voogt, J. (2009). Designing technology for emergent literacy: The PictoPal initiative. Computers & Education, 52, 719–729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nelson, H. G., & Stolterman, E. (2012). The design way: Intentional change in an unpredictable world. New Jersey: University Press Group Limited.Google Scholar
  31. Parke, H. M., & Coble, C. R. (1997). Teachers designing curriculum as professional development: A model for transformational science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(8), 773–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rapanta, C., Maina, M., Lotz, N., & Bacchelli, A. (2013). Team design communication patterns in e-learning design and development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(4), 581–605. doi:10.1080/0158791960170103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rittel, H. J., & Webber, M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2), 155–169. doi:10.1007/BF01405730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stempfle, J., & Badke-Schaub, P. (2002). Thinking in design teams—an analysis of team communication. Design Studies, 23(5), 473–496. doi:10.1016/S0142-694X(02)00004-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stenhouse, L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum research and development. New York: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  37. Stipek, D. J., & Byler, P. (1997). Early childhood education teachers: Do they practice what they preach? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(3), 305–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. M. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Turbill, J. (2001). A researcher goes to school: Using technology in the kindergarten literacy curriculum. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 1(3), 255–279. doi:10.1177/14687984010013002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker, D. F. (1971). A study of deliberation in three curriculum projects. Curriculum Theory Network, 7, 118–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Instructional Technology, Faculty of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Center for Learning Sciences & Technologies (CELSTEC)Open University of the NetherlandsHeerlenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Research Institute of Child Development and EducationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Windesheim University of Applied SciencesZwolleThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations