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Volume 26Number 1 publication date:Jun. 2013
Addressing Challenges in Teacher Collaborative Curriculum Design: An Activity Theory Framework
    Author:Fei-Ching Chen, Ying-Shiou Lin, & Shu-San Hsiau
Research Article


The purpose of this study is to identify the difficulties encountered when teacher teams collaborate in designing school-based integrative curriculum units. Conventionally, teachers are used to accomplish tasks by dividing things into subtasks instead of doing them together. Therefore, it is expected that they encounter difficulties while working on curriculum design collaboratively. Using Activity theory as a framework, this study aimed to identify disturbances and inner contradictions in teacher collaborative curriculum-making. Instead of relying merely on interview or observation data, dialogical data were collected in regular team meetings in a junior high school in New Taipei City. Two teacher teams, the green fair unit team and the classroom electricity device unit team, were examined using the framework of activity theory. Three contradictions were discovered: first, the meaning-making of team meetings: effective versus fatigue; second, individual responsibility versus collective ownership; and third, flatter hierarchical structure of division of labors: explicitness versus ambiguity. The complexity of boundary crossing among teachers in junior high school was also discussed.

Keywords: activity theory, collegiality, contradiction, disturbance, teacher collaboration

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