TEACHERS AS CURRICULUM MAKERS: RETHINKING CURRICULUM EVALUATION

Dr. Juan Yu

This paper makes a case for teachers as curriculum makers and addresses the implications for curriculum evaluation. In China’s educational discourse and practice, curriculum is largely defined as “official syllabi,” “instructional frameworks,” or “textbooks” developed by external agencies. Accordingly, teachers are seen as “implementers” who carry out an externally-developed curriculum in their classrooms. Based on a curriculum making framework articulated by Walter Doyle and Ian Westbury, the study argues that classroom teachers are curriculum makers because they interpret and transform the programmatic curriculum (official syllabi, instructional frameworks, textbooks) into the classroom curriculum in terms of instructional events and activities. In the process of interpretation and transformation, teachers draw on their personal practical knowledge in consideration of curriculum commonplaces—the teachers, the students, the subject matter, and the milieu. How they understand and interpret the programmatic curriculum influence the kinds of educational or curricular opportunities they create in their classrooms. Furthermore, teacher realize their professional identities in and around the classroom curriculum (instructional events and activities). This paper concludes by contending that curriculum evaluation theory and practice must take into account the idea of teachers as curriculum makers and discussing what is entailed in evaluating the classroom curriculum.