Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/16830
Lög um framhaldsskóla árið 2008 og útgáfa aðalnámskrár árið 2011 fólu í sér veru-lega stefnubreytingu frá fyrri viðmiðum um skólastarfið. Höfundar tóku viðtöl við tólf reynda kennara í fjórum framhaldsskólum til að varpa ljósi á reynslu þeirra af breytingum í starfi sínu frá útgáfu fyrstu samræmdu námskrárinnar fyrir framhalds-skóla árið 1986. Niðurstöður benda til þess að hlutverk kennaranna hafi breyst tölu-vert, t.d. fylgja því fleiri uppeldis- og kennslufræðilegar áskoranir sem rekja má til breyttrar samfélagsgerðar og fjölbreyttari nemendahóps. Viðhorf nemendanna hafa breyst, þeim finnst ekki lengur „merkilegt“ að vera í framhaldsskóla, þeir eru lítt móttækilegir fyrir upplýsingum sem hópur, þeir gera kröfur um athygli sem ein-staklingar og eru síður pólitískt meðvitaðir. Viðmælendum okkar kvörtuðu ekki undan breytingunum á nemendahópnum en viðurkenndu að þetta gerði skóla-starfið ekki einfaldara. Þeir nefndu að kennsluhættir hefðu breyst, t.d. að verkefna-vinna hefði aukist á kostnað prófa. Einnig hefði skrifleg umsýsla aukist, ekki síst eftir tilkomu upplýsingatækni. Aðalnámskráin frá 1999 var flestum viðmælendum minnisstæð og ný aðalnámskrá frá 2011 fékk fremur jákvæða dóma, þótt ýmislegt hafi þótt óljóst um hvernig ætti að útfæra suma þætti hennar í skólastarfinu. Sumir viðmælenda töldu miklar breytingar fram undan og voru reiðubúnir að takast á við þær en aðrir töldu ekki ástæðu til róttækra breytinga.
Since the passing of the Upper Secondary School Act in 2008 and the publication of the new National Curriculum Guide in 2011, both of which entailed significant changes for schools in Iceland, there has been an ongoing discussion about the ways in which the schools will develop. Basically, the new law grants schools and teachers autonomy to decide their own curricula. Instead of detailed instructions for every subject and subject area, the curriculum guide emphasizes six cross-curricular aims and defined levels of key competences. The authors interviewed twelve experienced teachers of equally many disciplines from four different upper secondary schools in Iceland. All of them started teaching before 1986, which is the year the first National Curriculum for upper secondary schools in Iceland was introduced. This study is a part of the first comprehensive study on upper secondary schools, which is titled Upper secondary school practices in Iceland: Teaching and learning – student engagement and initiative. The schools in the present study were randomly chosen from a stratified sample of the nine schools already chosen for the larger study but the selection of teachers was made by purposive sampling to ensure diversity. The aim of the study was to gain insight into what experienced upper secondary school teachers in Iceland think about changes in their work in the last 25 years. Particular attention was given to the (perceived) impact of different curricula on school development. This study is theoretically grounded in literature on accelerated social change and its wide-ranging effect on teachers’ work in the last few decades. It also looks into deep-rooted hindrances to school development in upper secondary schools as well as identifying possibilities for teachers to cope with these changes. Results indicate some important changes in the work and role of upper secondary school teachers in the last quarter century. The interviewees talked about increasing pedagogical challenges due to changes in the student body and society in general. They described a major alteration in students’ attitudes to-wards school and schoolwork.The introduction of information technology into the schools also seems to have contributed to a dramatic change in the class-room. These changes are reflected in a different kind of interaction between students, and teachers claim they have generated more varied modes of teaching. However, there was little indication in the interviews of transformation in subject content and assessment methods. The interviewees spoke of new responsibilities and many of them described intensification of work through increased paperwork, participation in curriculum development, more meetings and consultations as well as various new tasks that have gradually developed with the arrival of information technology in schools. The teachers were asked to express their views on different curricula for upper secondary schools, from the first in 1986 through the latest in 2011. They found the National Curriculum Guide from 1999 to be the most memorable for various reasons, mostly due to subject content changes and the reorganization of specific subject areas. With the publication of this specific curriculum guide Icelandic educational authorities attempted to a much greater degree than before to standardize and coordinate upper secondary school education. Some interviewees were very critical of these changes, both in relation to their own subjects and in terms of the upper secondary school system in general. The 2011 curriculum received rather positive reviews, even if some aspects were vague to the teachers, e.g. how to implement the general cross-curricular aims that the curriculum stipulates. While some interviewees estimated that there was little need for change in their present practices in order to fulfill the general cross-curricular aims of the curriculum, others expected substantial changes in upper secondary schools, e.g. through increased collective planning leading to a more comprehensive school curriculum. The 2011 curriculum takes effect in 2015, but implementation is under way or has already been finalized in a small number of schools in Iceland. It is quite obvious that a study, such as this one, does not provide definite answers to whether teachers in upper secondary schools in Iceland are prepared to make any considerable changes in their work. However, it underlines the point that educational reform is not only the personal responsibility of the individual teacher but rather stresses the importance of working towards a culture of collaboration between teachers across subjects in upper secondary schools. School leaders play a key role in the development of such a professional learning culture and educational authorities must supply teachers with active and consistent support.
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