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M.M. Chrzanowski1, M. Studzińska2, W. Grajkowski2, P. Walicki2, B. Ostrowska2

1Educational Research Institute / Military University of Technology (POLAND)
2Educational Research Institute (POLAND)
Two years ago a new science curriculum was implemented in Poland. It has brought about many changes in the way the science subjects should be taught, as it emphasizes the need to develop students’ skills and scientific reasoning and recommends frequent performing of hands-on experiments in the science classroom. The implementation of the new curriculum requires, therefore, a serious modification of the preexisting routine and, as it is always a difficult and exacting process, teachers’ and headmasters’ positive attitudes towards the change are crucial for the success of the reform.
Here we present results of a qualitative research study which included focus group interviews with science teachers and students (16 yrs old) as well as individual interviews with school headmasters. We focus on the interviewees’ reception of the curriculum reform and their attitudes towards it. We found that teachers were generally very passive in gaining information about the reform, which made it very difficult to successfully present the new curriculum, explain the purpose of the reform and deal with teachers’ and headmasters’ concerns about the reform. On the other hand, our results show that teachers generally agree with the main ideas of the new curriculum. At the same time, they point out many barriers of a formal, financial and organizational nature that impede implementation of the reform.
Based on the obtained results, we formulate some recommendations for (1) presenting new curriculum to science teachers and headmasters, (2) dealing with teachers’ and heads’ concerns about the reform and helping them to identify the changes, (3) providing schools with the support necessary to implement the reformed model of teaching.