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Contextual dynamics Contextual dynamics refer to the circumstances affecting teachers’ atti-tudes to involvement and engagement in curriculum making. Three emerged from this study. One concerns the teachers’ confidence to take a more open and less structured approach to planning the whole of a geog-raphy topic. A second identifies the need, nonetheless, to be clear about the purpose of the class topic. The third is about the extent to which teachers feel confident about their pupils’ roles in curriculum making. First, for the teachers in this project, at the heart of curriculum making lies a sense of giving yourself permission to take curriculum responsibility:

The project allowed me to pilot creative ways of using fieldwork with my class. Our film making project allowed the children in my class to evaluate their own environments and familiar locations. [M/Yr2]

The project [was] modified to the needs of the learners and we had a fully planned programme that altered and was dependent on progress. Great! [M/Yr5]

Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of the topic to manage was maintaining a focus due to over-enthusiasm, rather than lack of enthusiasm or lack of direction. [F/Yr2]

[The children] feel valued – they were able to have their say about things in their environment. [F/Yr5]

I read a text – The Journey – that would form the starting point for our next experiences and activities within our theme: Journeys and Jobs. Using the discussion that followed about the children’s interests in journeys, streams and rivers I was able to plan for the next few weeks. Their involvement at this planning stage was crucial to its success and their learning and enjoyment. I also felt confident that the planned activities would work because of their enthusiasm and commitment to the project. [F/FS]

[I am] more confident now on gauging their views and allowing them to formulate and guide the curriculum. In the summer term I am not the curriculum maker, they will be. [M/Yr5]

Journal 439