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Implementing a new curriculum: Reflection of a physical education teacher

Dissertation
Author: Matthew D. Madden
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the reflections of a physical education teacher after the first year of new curriculum implementation. Data were collected from formal and informal interviews based on field notes of prior classroom observations, documents, and artifacts. Data were analyzed using two distinct yet overlapping processes of analysis derived from a grounded theoretical perspective: open and axial coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Analyses highlighted initiated changes on three factors: past experiences, changes to materials and practices, and the perspective of the teacher. The teacher's past experiences indicated that three aspects during the years leading up to implementation influenced the process: the ability to overcome barriers, lack of resources, and being a part of the curriculum development team. Next, the teacher's adoption of different teaching practices also changed with the implementation of the new curriculum. Two dimensions of change were planning and assessment. Finally, two aspects reflected the teacher's perception of the experience: support and student response. The findings of the current study determined that multiple forms of support were significant influences during the implementation process. Support was viewed as the "players involved" and "how they supported implementation". The individuals included in the process were student teachers, the professional learning community (PLC), significant others, and an instructional coach. Each played a different role but essentially supported her efforts on an instructional level. The final perception as important to implementation was how students responded to the "new" curriculum. Student response was classified as student behavior and learning transfer. The teacher's perception was that the older students just wanted to play large-sided games and therefore were a barrier to change. Alternatively, the teacher's perceptions were that the less-skilled students (younger) benefited from the instructional approach. This benefit was related to the transfer of cue from one activity to another. Overall, the study viewed the role of the teacher as the change agent throughout implementation. To understand change is to understand the teacher. Specifically, the study's results indicated that previous knowledge has an impact on implementation. The teacher changed her teaching approaches and practices on multiple levels. Finally, the teacher perceived support in one form or another as necessary for teacher change to occur (Dyson & O'Sullivan, 1998). This study reinforces the importance of understanding the teachers as they adopt new strategies, and change their teaching approach.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter Page

I INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................1 Purpose of the Study ....................................................................................4 Research Questions ......................................................................................4 Significance of the Study .............................................................................4

II LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................................6 Theoretical Framework ................................................................................8 Initiation .......................................................................................................9 Implementation ............................................................................................9 Characteristics of Change ..........................................................................10 Local Factors ..............................................................................................12 External Factors .........................................................................................14 Continuation ...............................................................................................15 Defining Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Effectiveness ..................16 Curricular Change ......................................................................................20 Characteristics of Change and Physical Education Research ....................25 Need for Change ........................................................................................26 Clarity of Innovation ..................................................................................27 Complexity of Change ...............................................................................27 Role of the Teacher ....................................................................................28 Teacher Knowledge ...................................................................................29 Teacher Practical Knowledge ....................................................................29 Teacher Professional Craft Knowledge .....................................................31 Teacher Knowledge Framework ...............................................................32 Teachers’ Professional Learning................................................................37 Professional Learning Communities ..........................................................38 Mentoring as Learning ...............................................................................39 Reflection ...................................................................................................43 Reflective Summary...................................................................................44

III METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................46 Case Study Design .....................................................................................47 Participant ..................................................................................................49 Entry to Site ...............................................................................................53

viii Chapter Page Researcher’s Perspective ...........................................................................53 Data Collection ..........................................................................................55 Field Notes and Documents .......................................................................56 Interviews ...................................................................................................56 Data Analysis .............................................................................................58 Trustworthiness ..........................................................................................60 Credibility ..................................................................................................61 Dependability .............................................................................................62 Transferability ............................................................................................64

IV RESULTS ..............................................................................................................67 Context .......................................................................................................68 PEP Grant...................................................................................................73 Student Teachers ........................................................................................75 Implementation ..........................................................................................77 The Meeting ...............................................................................................77 First Days of Implementation ....................................................................80 Student Teacher Units ................................................................................84 Significant Units ........................................................................................86 Putting it all together ..................................................................................89 Stephanie’s Perceptions .............................................................................91 Aspects of Change .....................................................................................92 Instructional Approach...............................................................................93 Teaching Skills...........................................................................................97 Not Planning in the Shower .......................................................................97 Assessed like Crazy ...................................................................................99 Re-Visiting Reflection .............................................................................104 Curriculum Knowledge ............................................................................105 Support ....................................................................................................107 Student Teachers ......................................................................................107 Planning ...................................................................................................108 Assessment ...............................................................................................110 Reflection .................................................................................................112 Talking Shop ............................................................................................114 Significant Others as Forms of Support ...................................................118 He Did Not Do My Job ............................................................................120 Student Response .....................................................................................122 Behavior ...................................................................................................122 Oh You Need a “Flat Paddle” ..................................................................125

V DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................129 Discussion ................................................................................................129 Past Experiences ......................................................................................129 Changes in Materials and Practices .........................................................134 Perceptions ...............................................................................................138

ix Conclusions ..............................................................................................145 Limitations and Recommendations..........................................................148 Implications..............................................................................................151

REFERENCES ....................................................................................................154

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APPENDIX

A. Curriculum Toolkit .........................................................................................177

B. Toolkit Project Timeline .................................................................................218

C. Internal Review Board ....................................................................................220

D. Informed Consent ............................................................................................225

E. Data Analysis...................................................................................................228

F. Interview Guides ..............................................................................................233

G. Five Finger Contract .......................................................................................239

H. Developmental Analysis of Content (DAC) ...................................................241

I. Interactive Journal ............................................................................................245

xi

LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page

1. Interactive Factors Affecting Implemetation ................................................ 11 2. Summary of Study Design ............................................................................ 66 3. Discussion Framework................................................................................ 130

CHAPTER I

INTODUCTION Improving teacher effectiveness as a part of educational reform efforts has gained a tremendous amount of attention in recent years (Fullan, 2007; Sharratt & Fullan, 2006; Slavin & Madden, 2001). The publication of A Nation at Risk, in 1983 (National Commission on Excellence in Education [NCEE]), initiated the most recent reform movement in the United States. The negative implications of A Nation at Risk motivated legislation to outline efforts to ―fix‖ American schools (Goals 2000: Educate America Act [U.S. Congress, 1994]). The Educate America Act was one of the first attempts to produce change in schools; it gained momentum in the 1990‘s, then ―burst open‖ with the enactment of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Olsen & Sexton, 2009, p. 9). The combined overriding premise of these educational reform efforts was to provide public school accountability and standardization in selected subject areas across the nation. Ultimately these education reform initiatives require teachers to attempt new pedagogical methods including instruction and new curricular approaches to learning (Borko, Davinroy, Bliem, & Cumbo, 2000; Fullan, 1991; Richardson & Placier, 2001; Richardson, 1992; Rosenholtz, 1989). Although the educational reform efforts have focused largely on the areas of literacy, math, and science education all curricular areas have been impacted. Physical education teachers and researchers want to be involved in the process, but its classification as a non-core subject has resulted in limited recognition

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(Bechtel & O‘Sullivan, 2007). However, reform and physical education teacher and curricular change efforts have been studied (e.g., Bechtel & O‘Sullivan, 2007; Cothran, 2001; McCaughtry, Martin, Hodges-Kulinna, & Cothran, 2006; Patton & Griffin, 2008; Pope & O‘Sullivan, 1998; Ward, Doutis, & Evans, 1999; Wirszyla, 2002). Results have indicated a need for effective curricular change (Cothran & Ennis, 2001; Rink & Williams, 2003; Ward, 1999; Ward & O‘Sullivan, 2006). While the need for curricular change is well documented, what is less apparent is the choice of instructional strategies, methods, and pedagogy teachers utilize to implement curriculum (Cohen & Ball, 2001). Teachers are the ―most important factors for successful curricular change‖ (Ha, Lee, Chan, & Sum, 2004, p. 430). In particular, teachers are the central figures in the process of translating curriculum into classroom practices (Day, 1999; Guskey, 2002). The teacher‘s individual greatest contribution is to direct change in their schools‘ physical education curriculum. Implementing effective curriculum in physical education can transform practices that support student learning, provided the teacher implements it appropriately. However, they are often unprepared and do not recognize the complexity of implementing new strategies (Ha, Wong, Sum, & Chan, 2008). To implement curriculum effectively teachers need support, guidance, knowledge, and encouragement to adopt and adapt the initiative to meet the needs of their students (Fullan, 2001; McLaughlin & Zarrow, 2001). Physical educators attempting change require the previously mentioned tools to be effective but are often inhibited by large class sizes, lack of time, and inadequate facilities (Faucette, 1987; Sparkes, 1991). One avenue to address these concerns and provide effective curricular change process examples is the

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use of professional development as a support mechanism for successful implementation (Ha, et al., 2004; Ward, 1999). Professional learning opportunities are crucial to curriculum change and enable teachers to examine outcomes and strategies for student learning. There is a growing awareness that student learning may only occur if improvement is made in the quality of teachers‘ career-long professional learning (Armour & Yelling, 2007). Evidence supports, that no single approach to professional learning will be effective for all teachers all of the time and that a variety of learning experiences are required (Guskey, 1995; Klingner, 2004). However, even if approaches to professional learning vary the goal must be to teach teachers how to implement curriculum effectively, including the employment of current standards and authentic assessments which are the catalysts presently driving curriculum change. Current educational standards and accountability for student learning outcomes across subject areas were framed utilizing the original educational reform documents and are major components of the current curricular reform movements. Reform efforts for physical education are no different. In fact, researchers and/ or teacher educators fear that if physical education cannot demonstrate observable outcomes, the field risks becoming ―an area that can be reduced or eliminated‖ (Rink, 1993, p. 5). In an attempt to guide learning and provide accountability in physical education, national standards, Moving into the Future: National Standards for Physical Education were developed in 1995 and revised in 2004. The national standards have been used to frame curriculum development and are therefore an influential component of implementation.

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Overall, three concepts must be addressed for teacher change, and ultimately, curriculum implementation effectiveness. First, the teacher must be recognized as the change agent and therefore receive appropriate guidance. Second, forms of professional learning must be present to assist in starting and maintaining the attempt. Third, a standards based curriculum should be utilized as the framework to implement an innovation effectively. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine the reflections of a physical education teacher after the first year of new curriculum implementation. The case study design employed provided a meaningful way to examine a physical education teacher in her unique real-life situation. Data were collected to provide a detailed description of the teacher‘s perspectives and reflections after being engaged in curriculum implementation. Research Questions A case study design was selected because of the nature of the research problem and the question being asked. Three research questions guided the study: Q1 How did the teacher‘s previous experience influence decisions during implementation?

Q2 How did the teacher change her teaching materials and practices during the process?

Q3 What were the teacher‘s perceptions of her experience of implementing a new curriculum?

Significance of the Study The teacher plays a central role in determining the success or failure of any change (Fullan, 1991; Sparkes, 1991). For decades, the destiny of educational reforms

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has been determined by a variety of factors at different times, but one thing stands out, the gap between policy intentions and their implementation is still unfilled (Penney & Chandler, 2000; Penney & Jess, 2004). One of the common reasons for success or failure of innovations is how teachers perceive the change to maximize the learning outcomes of students (Ha et al, 2008). Meanwhile, few studies have provided insight into the implementation of curriculum in physical education and the influences it has on students (Doutis & Ward, 1999). Additionally, what physical education teachers believe related to curricular implementation is largely unknown (Bechtel & O‘Sullivan, 2007; Cothran, 2001; McCaughtry et al, 2006; Patton & Griffin, 2008; Pope & O‘Sullivan, 1998; Ward, Doutis, & Evans, 1999; Wirszyla, 2002). Therefore, this study‘s findings have the potential to extend what the profession understands as change and provides an example of one teacher‘s attempt. The current study focuses on one teacher‘s perceptions of curriculum change while examining the implementation of a new curriculum at the elementary level. Specifically, it evaluated decisions the teacher made during the implementation or delivery of curriculum. The results may assist teacher educators in better understanding factors that promote the implementation process in physical education. By understanding the factors that lead teachers to change, educators and teacher educators may gain insights into how to enable and promote change to occur in other settings.

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CHAPTER II

LITERATURE REVIEW Trials and tribulations of educational reform projects have been well documented in educational research (Olsen & Sexton, 2009). For decades, it has been suggested that the implementation of educational reform is its own active force (Berman & McLaughlin, 1978; Fullan & Pomfet, 1977; Olsen & Sexton, 2009; Sarason, 1982; Theriot & Tice, 2009). Implementation is not a simple, lifeless process of putting into practice some chosen curriculum change. Instead, it influences and affects the interrelationships developed within the context of the teachers implementing it (Olsen & Sexton). Fullan (2007) notes that change can occur at many levels including the classroom, school, district, or state. At any time changes can occur in curricular materials, teaching practices, and knowledge and beliefs of curriculum and learning practices. Curriculum implementation is the active means to making improvements to the three levels of change and therefore must be examined (Fullan). To successfully examine the notion of implementation it is important to understand change in terms of both educational reform and curriculum change. Therefore, the chapter is divided into four sections: theoretical framework, curricular change, teachers‘ professional learning, and role of the teacher. The first section introduces Fullan‘s theoretical framework of educational change and explores its dynamics using the three broad phases of initiation, implementation, and continuation.

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Additionally, the section introduces the aspects of change: characteristics related to change, local factors (i.e., school system), and external factors (i.e., government and other agencies). The section concludes by defining curriculum, instruction, and teacher effectiveness. Following the overview of theoretical framework and its main components curricular change is examined. Specifically, the overlapping constructs and research findings in educational change commonly examined in physical education research, curricular approach, and teacher change are described. The section combines the characteristics of change and physical education research. Multiple factors of educational reform have impacted change in physical education. Although these factors are tangential to the main purpose of the study, it is important to understand the potential impact these factors have on the individual teacher. Therefore, the factors need for change, clarity of innovation, and complexity of change are described. In section three, theories of professional teacher learning are examined. Two specific models of reform-based teacher development efforts are professional learning communities [PLC‘s] and mentoring as professional learning are explained. Moreover, the models will exemplify the importance of teacher development when implementing new curriculum. Additionally, characteristics of successful examples of professional learning in education and physical education will be outlined using curricular implementation factors as the frame Finally, the role of the teacher is explained. Most educational reforms and change initiatives require teachers to gain new knowledge and professional development to carry out their (teachers‘) role (NCEE, 1983). Researchers exploring these tenants have largely

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focused on the two main categories of teacher knowledge and professional development. Educational researchers have recognized the role of teachers‘ knowledge ―because it plays a critical role in what and how they teach‖ (Rovegno, 2003, p. 295). Therefore three theories (practical, craft, pedagogical content knowledge [PCK]) of teachers‘ knowledge are discussed for the purpose of trying to uncover ways that research has identified knowledge through the role of the teacher. The section concludes with the role teacher reflection plays on teacher learning. Overall, using Fullan‘s (2007) theoretical framework, role of the teacher, teachers‘ professional learning, and curricular change is the central focus of the chapter. Theoretical Framework Understanding educational change is complex. The complexity of educational change stems from it not being a single entity (Fullan), but a theory which includes multiple interacting components. As Fullan suggested, ―educational change is technically simple and socially complex‖ (p. 84). Though there are several theories which investigate the complexity of change, when considering a framework for examining the implementation of a new curriculum for change, Fullan‘s perspective was the most appropriate and relevant in grounding this study. Fullan identified three broad phases of the change process: initiation, implementation, and continuation. Initiation refers to the adoption of a new innovation and the process that leads up to and includes the decision to proceed with a change. Implementation or initial use (usually the first two or three years of use) involves the first experiences of attempting to put the innovation into practice. Continuation refers to whether the innovation becomes an ongoing part of the program or system. Each phase is

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described for the purpose of this review; however, attention will be paid to the implementation phase, since it ties more directly to the scope of the study. Initiation Initiation is the process that leads up to and includes a decision to adopt or proceed with implementation of an innovation. Multiple variables influence whether an innovation is initiated, Fullan identifies eight factors influencing the initiation process: (a) the existence and quality of innovations, (b) access to information, (c) advocacy from administration, (d) teacher advocacy, (e) external change agents, (f) community pressure/support/opposition/apathy, (g) new policy and funds (federal/state/local), and (h) problem-solving and bureaucratic orientations. The eight factors imply that change will be initiated from a variety and combination of sources. However, in many ways it matters less who initiates the change and more about the ―quality of the change process‖ being proposed (p. 81). Initiation is when an individual or group, for whatever reason, begins or promotes a certain program or direction of change (Fullan, 2007). Initiation decisions occur all the time and come from a variety of sources in education. It is important to build an effective foundation during the initiation phase of a new innovation. Implementation Implementation follows the decision to initiate an innovation and refers to the ―process of putting into practice an idea, program, or set of activities and structures new to the people attempting or expected to change‖ (Fullan, 2007, p. 84). Fullan suggests that the implementation phase is the most crucial for ―real change‖ to occur (p. 84). It is

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critical because it is the means of accomplishing the desired objectives that have been discussed and written during the initiation phase of the innovation. The idea of implementing a new innovation that has been successfully documented may seem like a simple task. However, where the implementation fails or succeeds is determined by factors influencing the dynamic nature of the process. The nine critical factors that influence the implementation are organized in three main categories relating to the characteristics of the innovation or change project, local roles or characteristics, and external factors (Figure 1). The list of characteristics is simplified, but the ―unpacking‖ of the factors is complex (Fullan, 2007, p. 87). Each factor is explained by describing how it relates to the overall category. Characteristics of change. The characteristics of change refer to and define four factors of implementation which include: need, clarity, complexity, and quality or practicality (Fullan, 2007). First, the implementers must see a need for change. Need defines the perceived relevance of change in a given context. If teachers do not recognize a need for change to their program then implementation will be difficult. If however a teacher feels that change is relevant then the innovation objectives must meet the educational beliefs of the teacher. Additionally, an innovation or program proposed by the school district must be considered appropriate by the school in order to have positive efforts towards implementation. Second, clarity refers to the teachers‘ understanding of the innovation and how it should be implemented. For example, in curricular change, clarity is needed regarding objectives and strategies for the implementers to understand what is to be accomplished. Even when there is agreement that some kind of change is

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needed, the adopted innovation may not be at all clear about what teachers need to do differently. Third, complexity refers to the difficulty and extent of change required.

Figure 1. Interactive Factors Affecting Implementation (Fullan, 2007; p.87) CHARACTERISTICS OF CHANGE

Need

Clarity

Complexity

Quality/Practicality

LOCAL FACTORS

District

Community

Principal

Teacher

EXTERNAL FACTORS

Government and other agen cies

IMPLEMENTATION

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Complexity generally increases the difficulty of the change and can be examined with regard to difficulty, skill required, and extent of alterations in beliefs, teaching strategies, and use of materials (Fullan, 2007). Less complex changes are often easier to implement, although may not make much of a difference while more complex changes are more beneficial but require more effort and failure receives more attention. Fourth, quality and practicality are two factors that relate to the characteristic of change and are often used interchangeably. Quality refers to the combination of the three previous factors (need, clarity, and complexity) of change. Practicality relates to the readiness or ability to make change. The failure to produce quality and practicality to change is usually apparent when the adoption of the innovation happens too quickly and there is a lack of preparation and resources or ―adoption is more important than the implementation‖ (p. 91). Local factors. The second interactive constructs impacting change are the local factors. These factors are ―the social conditions of change; the organization or setting in which people work; the planned and unplanned events and activities that influence whether or not given change attempts will be productive‖ (Fullan, 2007, p. 93). Within Fullan‘s model, local factors or roles include (a) the school district, (b) the community, (c) the principal, and (d) the teacher. First, school districts often adopt new innovations with mixed results and unfortunately, many attempts seem to fail. More times than not, failed attempts are due to the lack of adequate follow-up or initial development. A lack of success often produces negative feelings among the implementers, resulting in less enthusiasm or even apathy towards the next idea proposed. However, if the implementers feel that a change has been

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successful and beneficial then they become more willing to give effort and attention to something new because ―success can beget more success‖ (Fullan, 2007, p. 93). The support of the district administration has also been identified as crucial to the success of implementation within the educational research (Campbell & Fullan, 2006; Fullan, Hill, & Crevola, 2006; Sharratt & Fullan, 2006; Supovitz, 2006). District level support is only effective when administrators show active knowledge and understanding of the complex nature of the specific change. There are examples of successful implementation attempts within individual schools and classrooms, but without central administrator support, district-wide change will not happen (Fullan, 2007). Second, the school board and community play an integral role in change. The school board can indirectly affect implementation by hiring or firing the schools district superintendent. Conflicts may occur between the community and the innovation implementation proposed by the district especially if immediate results are not apparent. There are examples where the school board and the district are actively working together and improvement has been achieved (Campbell & Fullan, 2006). Simply stated, communities and school boards must be involved to some extent, or at least supportive, for district-wide change to be successful (Fullan, 2007). Third, the principal must be a leader or facilitator of change and take actions to legitimize it. The principal is in the middle of the relationship between the teachers and external ideas and people. There are several studies of school leadership across different countries and that provide consistent and clear messages (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Day, Harris, Hadfield, Toley, & Beresford, 2000; James, Connolly, Dunning, & Elliot, 2006; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005).

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The results indicated that principals shared four qualities: (1) an inclusive, facilitative leader of orientation, (2) institutional focus on student learning, (3) effective management, and (4) combined pressure and support (Fullan, 2007, p. 160). These four factors are major influences to effective implementation. Qualities listed are important to provide successful support for teachers implementing change. Fourth, the role of teachers is the most important consideration when implementing any type of change. Fullan (2007) stated, ―Educational change depends on what teachers do and think‖— (p. 129). Both individual teacher characteristics and collective or collegial factors play roles in determining implementation. Therefore, two notions influence the teacher‘s role when implementing change, teacher knowledge and how professional learning efforts occur. External factors. The last set of factors that influence implementation places the school or school district in the context of the broader society (Fullan, 2007). In the U.S., the main external authorities consist of state departments of education and federal agencies. Agencies such as regional research and development laboratories and centers, philanthropic foundations, and other external partners also attempt to support educational implementation. The department of education has an influential role in the implementation of change that is sometimes not recognized and more recently though greater standardization and accountability have had direct influence on accomplishing specific learning outcomes (Fullan, 2007). However, the lack of role clarity and communication has been a deterrent of implementation. In the past, relationships between schools and government agencies have been categorized separately because the value of education

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was perceived as different. More recently, government agencies have become increasingly aware of the importance and difficulty of implementation. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to require resources to clarify standards of practice, assessments, established implementation units, support for professional development and monitoring of policies (Fullan) when attempting implementation. Successful implementation depends on the combination of all the factors (need, clarity, complexity, and quality/practicality), local characteristics (district, community, principal, and teacher), and external factors (government and other agencies) described. The nature of the change, the makeup of the local district, the character of individual schools and teachers, and the existence and form of external relationships interact to produce conditions for change or non-change (Fullan, 2007). Therefore, implementation is very complicated and requires the alignment of multiple factors for success, and continuing the process can be equally challenging. Continuation The final phase is continuation or institutionalization and refers to whether the change becomes an ongoing part of the system. The majority of change efforts do not make it to the continuation phase because of factors such as a lack of interest, lack of money for teacher development, teacher turnover, and lack of support from the central office (Fullan, 2007). These factors individually or combined are what contributes to the demise of 75% of reform attempts. In short, the broad aspects of the initiation, implementation, and continuation processes have several related components. Effective innovations depend on the combination of all factors and characteristics described in this section. To bring about

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more effective change, reform efforts need to be able to explain not only what causes success, but how to influence those causes. Significant educational change results in changes in beliefs, teaching style, and materials which can come about only through teacher knowledge and development (Fullan, 2007). Acknowledging the complexity of the dynamic process of change Fullan (2007) and Sparkes (1990) have identified three dimensions to the change process. The first dimension refers to the potential change of materials, equipment, and/or the adoption of a curriculum package. The use of different materials and equipment are referred to as surface level, or superficial change (Sparkes, 1990). The second dimension of change includes the use of new skills, teaching approach, instruction, and strategies. Implementing change to one‘s teaching practices are more difficult (Fullan). Third, is the transformation of beliefs, values, and perspectives. The dimensions describe on a continuum the difficulties of change. Defining Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Effectiveness Actions or processes that influence the dimensions are described as phases of curriculum implementation. Change can occur on multiple levels and involve numerous aspects of education. Therefore, curricular change is one example of significant change. Educators use the term curriculum to describe a range of educational experiences associated with student learning (Ennis, 2003). A curriculum may refer to the content taught in a subject area, such as physical education, or the topics covered in one lesson, one unit, or one course. Additionally, curriculum may be defined as the knowledge, skills, and learning experiences that are provided to students within the schools program (Lund & Tannehill, 2005). The curriculum plan facilitates learning, asks questions of

Full document contains 260 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the reflections of a physical education teacher after the first year of new curriculum implementation. Data were collected from formal and informal interviews based on field notes of prior classroom observations, documents, and artifacts. Data were analyzed using two distinct yet overlapping processes of analysis derived from a grounded theoretical perspective: open and axial coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Analyses highlighted initiated changes on three factors: past experiences, changes to materials and practices, and the perspective of the teacher. The teacher's past experiences indicated that three aspects during the years leading up to implementation influenced the process: the ability to overcome barriers, lack of resources, and being a part of the curriculum development team. Next, the teacher's adoption of different teaching practices also changed with the implementation of the new curriculum. Two dimensions of change were planning and assessment. Finally, two aspects reflected the teacher's perception of the experience: support and student response. The findings of the current study determined that multiple forms of support were significant influences during the implementation process. Support was viewed as the "players involved" and "how they supported implementation". The individuals included in the process were student teachers, the professional learning community (PLC), significant others, and an instructional coach. Each played a different role but essentially supported her efforts on an instructional level. The final perception as important to implementation was how students responded to the "new" curriculum. Student response was classified as student behavior and learning transfer. The teacher's perception was that the older students just wanted to play large-sided games and therefore were a barrier to change. Alternatively, the teacher's perceptions were that the less-skilled students (younger) benefited from the instructional approach. This benefit was related to the transfer of cue from one activity to another. Overall, the study viewed the role of the teacher as the change agent throughout implementation. To understand change is to understand the teacher. Specifically, the study's results indicated that previous knowledge has an impact on implementation. The teacher changed her teaching approaches and practices on multiple levels. Finally, the teacher perceived support in one form or another as necessary for teacher change to occur (Dyson & O'Sullivan, 1998). This study reinforces the importance of understanding the teachers as they adopt new strategies, and change their teaching approach.