Details of Thesis

Title Transforming Teachers’ Temporality – Futures in Curriculum Practices
Author

Bateman, Debra

Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2009
Abstract There is much rhetoric around the notion that schools educate for the future. This research is an interrogation of the ways in which explicit futures time perspectives exists within school practices. This study investigates the ways in which these perspectives appear within curriculum documents and do/do not influence the ways that teachers think about, and plan for, student learning. Moreover, through ongoing and supported professional learning, this research identifies the ways in which teacher practice and student learning is transformed through increased temporal consciousness. This study has sought to identify and examine the ways in which futures and temporality influence schools and school curricula and the ways in which schools and school curricula influence teachers’ perceptions and enactment of futures and temporality. It was framed within the contexts of: Invisible fields of study within mainstream educational practices: futures education and futures studies; Psychological understandings about how human capacities of temporality and time perspectives develop; Curriculum documents which demonstrate temporal bias in the ways they are traditionally oriented towards the past, yet simultaneously claim a role in educating for the future; A school with a time machine which did not go to the future (Wooranna Park Primary School). This research is based on an individual case study undertaken at Wooranna Park Primary School, Dandenong North, Victoria, Australia. It incorporates the perspectives and experiences of six teachers situated within the Grade 5/6 Autonomous Learning Unit [ALU]. In this study, the participant action researcher facilitated two types of targeted professional learning to increase the teachers’ futures consciousness and understandings of how futures studies could occur within a learning environment. In the first instance, through directed Professional Development [PD] the teachers were introduced to the field of futures studies. Through this PD they participated in focused activities intended to raise their futures consciousness and in turn their capacity to reflect upon their teaching through these increased futures perspectives. In the second instance, the teachers participated as a professional learning team [PLT]. With ongoing support, as a PLT the teachers collaboratively planned and reflected upon what occurred as they enacted their futures learning within their classroom practices. They also participated in cyclical action research and evaluative interviews in identifying the ways in which futures time perspectives affected their curriculum practices. Analysis of the data in this research has been undertaken through analytic brackets which identified the ways teachers spoke about the future (discourse‐in‐action), in comparison with the ways in which they ‘did’ the future within their work (discursive practices). It is clear from this research that, prior to the commencement of this study, the teachers had given little thought to the ways in which they ‘educate for the future’. Further, amongst the 25 key findings which have emerged from this research, there can be little doubt that the introduction of futures time perspectives within the classroom curriculum was transformative. This research suggests many directions for further research, much of which has not been undertaken previously. Most of the research previously undertaken in regard to futures education has been completed by people from outside the school environment noting what should be done. In contrast, this study draws upon practitioner as well as theoretical understandings in order to explore what can occur in educating for futures.
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