System level change : implementing a religious education curriculum in Catholic schools

  • Anthony Whelan

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    In early 1983, the Catholic Education Authority in Sydney issued a major curriculum document for the systems 210 Primary schools on Religious Education. One year after the documents’ release there was evidence of its negligible impact in classrooms. Studies of overseas, Australian, and local system-level changes supported the view that there was relatively limited documentation of the processes followed in the implementation of system-level change. As its starting point, the Field Study pursues the development in eight schools of a system-stimulated implementation process over twelve months. A historical perspective of the system is given; implementation of change is defined; and the approach used in the study is sited in the theoretical context of Action Research. The body of the study is written in an ‘inter-leaving’ style. In each Chapter a chronological descriptive approach is followed and, as appropriate, theoretical considerations are introduced as a method of reflection and interpretation of the process. Among the processes under investigation, major consideration is given to planning, monitoring and collaborative staff development. The specific strategy of change developed is that of a Co-operative Peer Support Scheme, based on Goodlad’s concept of a “league”. Concerns - Based Adoption Methodology (CBAM) is used as a monitoring technique. An original contribution to the monitoring processes is the invention and application of a micro-computer program for analysis of the Stages of Concern of the teacher participants in the Project. The salient findings of the Study are that the particular plan had-been effective, and that system planning can only be directional. Monitoring procedures that are amenable to use in system-level change were demonstrated to have been useful. Clear focussing of issues, the generation of locally produced learning materials, and conscious use of adult learning process enhances the outcomes of the Project. Finally, the goal-free descriptive approach followed identities more sharply new questions requiring further exploration: mechanisms leading to group formation; the interrelationship between psychic-group and socio-group processes; the roles of change-agents and the support system; and the quality of use rather than the percentage of users.
    Date of Award1986
    Original languageEnglish

    Cite this