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Signalling shifts in meaning: the experience of social studies curriculum design

Graeme Aitken

This article argues the view that curriculum policy is an educative resource for teachers, and that this view imposes certain design considerations on policy. Foremost among these is the need to signal shifts in meaning, in ways that enable teachers to better understand what the reform is requiring of them, and how this is different from existing practice. Past curriculum designs in New Zealand social studies are analysed, and patterns of signalling shifts in curriculum intention are illustrated. The article emphasises the importance of design that acknowledges existing understandings, that alerts teachers to possible misconceptions, and that shows how the reform builds on, and changes, past practice.

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