Decision-making in curriculum leadership
What does it mean for teachers to be curriculum leaders? As noted by Hairon, Tan, Lin and Lee in Chapter 2 of this book, curriculum leaders plan, design, monitor and review the programme. In this sense, curriculum leadership means that teachers exercise their professional discretion to experiment and develop and design their own curricula. Wiggins and McTighe (2005) made a passionate plea for teachers to design their own curriculum, learning experiences and assessments, rather than just plough through the textbook from cover to cover. As students’ learning needs are so diverse, the planning and development of learning materials need to be contextualised to accommodate and engage each student in learning. In other words, teachers as curriculum leaders need to make decisions, “to exercise their professional discretion – to engage their intellectual and emotional investments in their work on behalf of and sometimes in collaboration with the students they know best” (Hargreaves, Earl, Moore, & Manning, 2001, p. 175). Under the auspices of the Teach Less, Learn More movement, Singaporean teachers were urged to exercise their professional discretion “to make careful choices, on what to take out as much as what to put in” (Shanmugaratnam, 2005). Teachers’ designing their own curriculum is a part of a “complex picture of the practice of education”, which involves making “defensible decisions” (Eisner, 2002, p. 198).