Investigating the Implementation Process of a Curriculum: A Case Study from Papua New Guinea
The purpose of this study was to investigate how policy intentions of the curriculum were received and practiced by teachers and to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation process. The study probed three levels of an implementation process of an Outcomes-Based English Education curriculum in two urban secondary schools in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The specific focus of implementation was on: the initial introduction process, teachers’ beliefs and attitudes, and classroom practices. This research was an exploratory one using focus group discussions, structured interviews, participant observations, and document analysis. A case study method was used; two qualitative studies situated within the constructivist and symbolic interactionism paradigms were used to probe alignment of policy with practice using the diffusion of innovation theoretical lenses. Content, discourse, and document analyses were used to give interpretations to themes resonating with the research focus; these themes were derived both deductively and inductively from data. Findings revealed that the curriculum change was challenging as policy expectations failed to align with practices. There were little shared meanings between teachers’ views and classroom practices; this lack of connection contradicted policy intentions. There also appeared to be no connection by policy makers of the inbuilt tensions inherent in the outcomes-based model of education adopted for PNG. In relation to this, findings from this study revealed the need for collaborative professional development if policy is to be aligned with practice. Hence, this study offers a working tool called a Kibung PD framework as a priority for curriculum implementation at the classroom level.