Given the complex relationships between formal curricula, political power, and the social order, what influence do classroom teachers have in enacting curriculum?

After finishing the reading and attending class this week, I have been learning many new things about curriculum. One thing that I have learned is that curriculum is political. The education system has a minister of education, a ministry of education, technocrats, educators, and school boards, which are all equally important in the education system.

Another valuable piece about curriculum that I have been learning about in class is that the stakeholders who are knowledgeable are responsible for creating the curriculum. These knowledgeable stakeholders are the curriculum developers, researchers, governments and teachers. Each of these play a role in creating the curriculum, but teachers actually have the least amount of power when it comes to creating the curriculum.

The teachers are given the curriculum to teach, which has specific outcomes that they are expected to teach their students. The indicators are written beside the outcomes as guidelines to make sure that the students learn the outcomes. The government mainly decides what is taught even though they are not the ones who will be teaching it and the teachers are then allowed to use the indicators in any way that they want so that they can get the outcomes set in stone. One way that my Professor Mike Cappello described the curriculum was that the “outcomes are written in stone and the indicators are written in sand”. This means that the teachers have the power to shift the “sand” or indicators around so that the outcomes can be set in stone as the students learn what is important.

What I found interesting this week was that as the teachers educate their students, they are allowed to teach what they want and that technically there is no punishment if they do not follow the curriculum. What I find even more interesting is that I’ve heard of teachers who did not teach about Treaty education and they have not been punished or told to change the way they teach. I think that this is one topic that should not be left out of the curriculum and I think that we as future educators need to educate ourselves about Treaty Education, so that we can confidently teach it to our students and not choose the easy way out by not teaching in depth about Treaty education.