Based on a two-year ethnographic study of K-4 teachers, "Teacher Agency and Curriculum Making in Classrooms" grew out of one question: what might transpire if teachers were granted greater authority and autonomy in curriculum matters? The author clearly describes, then analyses, the experiences of four teachers as they create, adapt and revise their own word processing curriculum, but the issues she addresses are far broader. Dr. Paris locates her case studies in their complex physical, historical, interpersonal and ideological contexts. She then demonstrates how the process of curriculum change is neither linear nor predictable, but is recursive, episodic and characterised by individual experimentation, discovery and learning. Concluding that existing models of curriculum change do not portray teachers as active agents, she proposes a model that takes into account the processes she observed, the contexts surrounding them and the meaning perspectives of the participants.
This book suggests that nurturing true agency, as opposed to merely expounding the rhetoric of teacher empowerment, requires attention to the fit between the ideology of agency and the prevailing ideologies of schools. This book is appropriate as a supplemental text in graduate and undergraduate courses on curriculum, teacher education, administration, professionalism, educational policy, computers in the classroom and the writing process. Teacher educators, school district personnel, practitioners and administrators should also find it to be a valuable resource.