Thesis (PhD) -- Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Dept. of Education, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Introduction -- 2. Curriculum reform -- 3. Classical and Christian educational approaches: the classical and Christian model -- 4. Research design and methodology -- 5.Philosophy, policy and governance -- 6. Teachers? Perceptions -- 7. Pedagogy, mathematics and history -- 8. Classroom observations -- 9. Discussion and conclusion.
Curriculum reforms in the western world have for decades led to concerns being raised over perceived lowering of academic standards. For one group in the USA this has led to the development of a curriculum model which is believed to offer appropriate academic rigour while simultaneously providing students with the life skills needed for a worthwhile contribution to society. This study investigates this model established by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) in the United States of America, in order to evaluate the impact its philosophical stance has on the implementation of policy and procedures throughout the school. One New Zealand school is among those in several countries around the world which have espoused the ACCS curriculum model. Data was collected from this New Zealand classical school as well as from another New Zealand Christian school which has espoused the state-mandated curriculum model. A mixed-method approach to data collection was undertaken to obtain both a broad overview as well as more specific understandings of each school?s aims and objectives. It was anticipated that there would be significant commonalities between these two schools based on their respective commitments to provide education based on biblical presuppositions. It was also anticipated that if each school was faithful to its declared philosophy, there would be notable differences both in curriculum subject choices and pedagogy. This study sought to identify consistency in the implementation of each school?s philosophy in all areas of school life, from governance through to classroom practice. Results obtained have indicated a high level of consistency in subject choice as well as pedagogy, as might be expected from the respective school?s choice of curriculum model. With respect to each school?s interpretation of Christian education considerable disjunction has emerged contrasting a formal, traditional approach in one school with a relational expression of faith in the other.