Primary teachers' perceptions of policy for curriculum reform in Cyprus : with special reference to mathematics

Doctoral thesis, Article English OPEN
Kyriakidēs, Leōnidas
  • Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Education
  • Subject: Mathematics -- Study and teaching -- Cyprus | Education -- Cyprus | Education, Primary -- Curricula -- Cyprus | Education -- Mediterranean Region | LB1501

The thesis reports and analyses findings from an\ud investigation into Cypriot teachers' perceptions of\ud national policy for curriculum reform in primary schools,\ud with special reference to teaching and assessment in\ud Mathematics. Questionnaires were sent to three samples of\ud teachers: a 10% sample of Cypriot teachers randomly\ud selected from the total population (n=257); all teachers\ud in five primary schools (n=51); all beginning teachers\ud (n=123). The latter sample was compared with a sample of\ud English beginning teachers. A response rate of 70% was\ud obtained and statistical analysis was carried out by\ud SPSS-X. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with\ud 20 teachers, mainly as a form of triangulation.\ud There were seven main findings. First, curricular\ud purposes concerning pupils' ability to solve\ud investigations, and to gain mathematical knowledge were\ud seen as equally important; and ability to talk about\ud Mathematics the least important. Second, formative\ud purposes of assessment were accorded most, and summative\ud purposes least importance. Third, teachers agreed with\ud active pedagogy and with the application of mathematics\ud to other subjects. Fourth, they conceptualised assessment\ud as natural part of teaching but paradoxically favoured\ud formally structured techniques of assessment. Fifth,\ud classroom organisation rarely met policy requirements for\ud a balance of whole class, group and individual\ud activities. Sixth, cluster analysis revealed the absence\ud of a collective professional view of the process of\ud curriculum change. Seventh, statistically significant\ud differences in perceptions were associated with\ud characteristics of the class taught but there was no\ud whole school effect. Other influences on perceptions were\ud professional and political.\ud Implications for the implementation of curriculum policy\ud in Cyprus are discussed drawing on the theories of Nias\ud and Fullan. It is argued that a revised policy,\ud emphasising teacher participation and school-based\ud development is needed and this would require a new\ud conception of teacher professionalism. A heuristic model\ud of curriculum change and a short term strategy for\ud curriculum change are outlined.
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