The Learn to Travel Project: a case study of curriculum innovation in primary schools
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This thesis is a case study of curriculum innovation in the primary school at a time of major change during the introduction of the National Curriculum. It involved a small number of primary schools, teachers and children. In particular the processes and impacts of the innovation were investigated. Action research methodology (Carr and Kemmis, 1986 McNiff, 1988) was employed and teachers' plans, classroom activities and children's responses were analysed. The research informs us about the nature and effects of opportunities created and constraints imposed by the National Curriculum. The case study indicates that teachers responded to the innovation as if it were a topic and not a single subject, but they incorporated National Curriculum subjects and themes into it. Geography was the major subject developed, but the teachers tended to view this subject as a body of knowledge, with accompanying skills, rather than a process of learning to be taught and this was related, at least in part, to the nature of the National Curriculum. A number of activities concerned with values and attitudes were developed, despite the lack of obvious links to the National Curriculum. The study shows that these teachers were 'pragmatists' rather than 'progressives' or 'traditionalists' in their use of teaching methods. The research also indicated the problems of the relationships between these teachers and the Project co-ordinator. The case study demonstrated that this Project had local relevance, had significant effects on teachers and children directly involved and reached a wider educational community who gave a generally favourable response, indicating the educational value of introducing work on travel and tourism to the primary curriculum.
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