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Curriculum shockwaves? Geography, science, and the Canterbury earthquakes

Mike Taylor and Azra Moeed

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In a self-managing school system where localised curriculum decision-making prevails, this study asks the question “How were the geography and science senior secondary school curricula influenced by the Canterbury earthquake series?” Drawing on an ecological framework of teacher agency, the study found that responses to the Canterbury earthquakes were significantly impacted by the curriculum-assessment nexus, in addition to the individual beliefs, values, and attitudes of teachers. Nevertheless, spaces to manoeuvre were generated by some teachers seeking to use media coverage of the earthquakes to develop critical citizenship or scientific literacy approaches, or both, to disaster education.

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