Curriculum Implementation and Teacher Motivation: A Theoretical Framework

Curriculum Implementation and Teacher Motivation: A Theoretical Framework

Lazarus Ndiku Makewa, Baraka Manjale Ngussa
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8162-0.ch013
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While teachers can play role toward success or failure of curriculum implementation, this chapter discusses teacher motivation and curriculum implementation. It particularly attempts to indicate many areas which teachers can be motivated to get involved in effective curriculum implementation. Various theories of motivation are consulted to come up with authoritative document on how teachers can be motivated to play their role in a meaningful sense. These include two-factor theory, self-determination theory, person-object theory, expectancy theory, equity theory, and job enrichment theory. Extensive literature throws light on the theme in a deeper sense and reviewed studies guide us to come up with a discussion that is theoretical in nature. This chapter concludes that although not clearly stated, teacher motivation remains a major component in curriculum implementation.
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1. Introduction

A major conclusion of the extensive literature on school effectiveness is that achieving better learning outcomes depends fundamentally on improvements in teaching. Although there are many other factors that affect learning outcomes, teaching is the main school-level determinant of school performance. Thus, ways to increase teacher motivation and capabilities are central to any systematic attempt to improve learning outcomes.

A considerable amount of research has been conducted on what makes the ‘effective’ teacher, yet, the focus to date of policy reform in most countries has been on improving learning outcomes through a better allocation of resources, more accountability, curriculum reforms and refined assessment systems, and better pre- and in-service teacher training. However, the limited impact of many of these interventions has forced politicians and policymakers to focus increasingly on the needs of teachers themselves.

Motivation and incentives have many common or similar themes with the very much more limited literature on this subject in low-income developing countries. In particular, it is widely contended that the status of teachers in most developing countries has declined appreciably during the last 60 years, teacher autonomy and creativity has been curtailed by more control and regulation, and that teachers are being asked to do more with less. Teachers also complain about the lack of variety and role differentiation in their careers, the limited incentives for them to improve their practice and develop as professionals, and the limited linkages between their performance, teacher compensation and teacher development (International Institute of Educational Planning, 2004).

This is further indicated in critical theory by a Brazilian Paulo Freire in his most influential highly quoted Pedagogy of the Oppressed work as appears in Henson and Savage (2009) and Ornstein and Hunkins (2009), defining educational systems as tools of the dominant class of society for keeping down the masses and for institutionalizing dominant values at the expense of the oppressed (the teachers). Freire described this scenario as banking approach to education where the group in power knows truth and attempts to deposit it in the minds of the oppressed.

Amid these negative realities and challenges that threaten teaching profession, research has consistently found that ‘working with children’ is the main determinant of teacher job satisfaction. Consequently, it is the rewarding nature of the job itself rather than pecuniary gain that is the primary motivation for becoming a teacher. A comprehensive literature review by Spear, Gould and Lee (2000) highlights the wide range of factors that influence teacher job satisfaction and motivation. The main factor found to contribute to job satisfaction of teachers is working with children, whereas job dissatisfaction was primarily attributed to work overload, poor pay, and perceptions of how teachers are viewed by society. Hertzberg’s two-factor theory, as the overarching theoretical framework in synthesizing the main findings of the studies was reviewed. The main conclusions are that, in order to experience high job satisfaction, teachers need an intellectual challenge, a high level of professional autonomy, to feel that they are benefiting society, to enjoy good relations with their colleagues, and to spend a sufficient proportion of their time working with children. Enhanced pay, improved status, a less demanding workload and fewer administrative responsibilities do not necessarily bring about higher levels of job satisfaction.

Another important finding of the review is that studies have consistently identified the same variations in the job satisfaction levels of teachers depending on certain individual and school characteristics. In particular, with regard to gender differences, female teachers tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction than their male colleagues, but male teachers are generally more satisfied over their level of influence over school policies and practices. Teachers in rural areas report higher levels of job satisfaction than those in urban areas.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Motivation: Driving influences from internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) forces that give students power to learn effectively. Teachers are the best source of motivation in the teaching-learning interaction.

Teachers’ Beliefs: A set of strong feelings and attitudes of teachers about things that can affect the teaching-learning interaction. What teachers believe in have direct implication on the teaching-learning transaction.

Curriculum Planning: Is the process of structuring academic experiences, using expertise knowledge of the teacher. It is the activity which teachers get involved in before the actual implementation.

Curriculum Implementation: This term refers to the act of working out the plans and suggestions that have been made by curriculum specialists and subject experts in a classroom or school setting. Teachers are the main curriculum implementers, while at the same time students, parents, school administrators can be directly or indirectly involved in the implementation process.

Curriculum Development: This is the initial stage of curriculum processes whereby curriculum specialists sit down to propose innovative and creative suggestions for various educational experiences and programs.

Instructional Technology: This term refers to creative and innovative use of available instructional resources such as materials, resources and facilities in a way that teaching is simplified and learning is maximized.

Teacher Motivation: Driving influences from internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) forces that give teachers power to run their daily routine.

Role of the Teacher: Specified duties that students, parents, school administration and society at large expect teachers to perform. Apart from teaching, teachers have additional duties such as role modeling to perform.

Curriculum Innovation: Creative initiatives in curriculum planning and implementation processes by learners, teachers and curriculum specialists.

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