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Practice architectures and sustainable curriculum renewal

Goodyear, Victoria A. and Casey, Ashley and Kirk, David (2017) Practice architectures and sustainable curriculum renewal. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 49 (2). pp. 235-254. ISSN 0022-0272

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Abstract

While there are numerous pedagogical innovations and varying forms of professional learning to support change, teachers rarely move beyond the initial implementation of new ideas and policies and few innovations reach the institutionalised stage. Building on both site ontologies and situated learning in communities of practice perspectives, this paper explores the theory of practice architectures to offer a different and legitimate perspective on sustainable curriculum renewal. Specifically, a practice architecture either enables or constrains particular practice and constitutes the construction of practice from semantic (e.g. language), social (e.g. power relations), and physical (e.g. materials) spaces. Through the juxtaposition of practice architectures with an empirical illustration of longer-term pedagogical change, the paper argues that for pedagogical change to be sustained a practice architecture that relates to an innovation’s intended learning outcomes and the contexts in which an innovation can be used needs to be created. Consequently, the theory of practice architectures can guide reform programmes. Curricularists can begin programmes with a pre-planned approach to assist, a) teachers’ understanding of how to use an innovation, and b) the deconstruction and reconstruction of practice architectures to support an innovation’s survival.