Changing Times: Problematising Social Science Curriculum Implementation

Stefanie Biancotti, Kelsey Halbert


By 2016, all schools across Australia will have transitioned from state-based to national curricula. Given the current dynamic period of curriculum change that schools are undergoing, there is a need to investigate how this change is implemented by and impacts on teachers. This research investigates the implementation of Australian History and Geography curriculum initiatives by a junior secondary school department (Years 7-10) in North Queensland. It systematically and critically reviews the Australian curriculum implementation processes and outcomes, within one Social Science department, through a case study methodology (Koshy, 2010; Yin, 2003). Actor Network Theory (ANT) (Fenwick & Edwards, 2010) will be utilised as the theoretical framework for this research. The Actor Network theoretical framework will identify the actors (including lead researcher, teachers, administrators and objects such as Curriculum into the Classroom (C2C) materials) in the curriculum translation network and how the interactions between them shape the network and its processes. This article explores the historical context of curriculum change, maps the network of History curriculum actors and then details some of the implications that have emerged such as redefining the place of the History and Geography disciplines, the place of particular actors and the enabling and constraining factors in actors’ engagement and agency during the implementation. Researcher observations, interview and survey data provide insights into the ways in which teachers shape their own professional practices in response to curriculum change.

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