This study explores the curriculum impact on the work of teachers in Indonesia and highlights tensions between national testing policy and local interpretation of mandated curriculum. This study examines professionalism and power within the context of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) curriculum. How teachers navigate their way between mandated curriculum and individual pedagogy is of particular interest. By questioning teachers about their beliefs and values within individual interviews and by classroom observations, a central aim of this study is to examine how power is juxtaposed with pedagogy and professionalism. By interpreting this data through the theoretical lenses of governmentality and performativity, it is expected that this study will contribute to international understandings of teacher pedagogy and professionalism. Adopting a constructivist approach, the study explores two secondary school teachers’ experiences, beliefs and practices within the implementation of the School Level Curriculum (SLC) and national testing. The study was conducted in two secondary schools in Central Sulawesi Province of Indonesia. An ethnographic approach was used to tell the stories of the two teachers. Semi-structured in-depth interviews, observations, and document analysis were conducted to obtain data on how the SLC and national testing program affect the teachers’ pedagogical practices and professionalism. Drawing largely on data from the interviews and observations, the results of this study show that the imposition of the curriculum and testing standards impacted on the teachers’ pedagogical practices and professionalism. It was found that the teachers aligned the curriculum with the national test. The two teachers in this study focused on teaching the tested content of the curriculum that encouraged them to teach to the test. The curriculum suggested the use of a three-phase design of teaching and learning process, namely pre-activities, while-activities, and post-activities. These became the format of the teachers’ classroom activities, and this format was stipulated in the lesson plans. vii Under the authoritative power of the curriculum and testing standards, the teachers willingly navigated their way to perform well as professionals. The teachers’ own selection of more effective classroom activities indicated that they still utilised their creativity and practiced professional belief and power for better teaching performances. The teachers also networked ways to develop their knowledge and skills through collegial professional learning.
Submission note: "A Thesis Submitted in Total Fulfilment of the Requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy [to the] School of Education, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Bundoora"
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