Curriculum : a palette for the mind : modeling reflective curriculum inquiry for curricular content



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Curriculum is a means by which the medium of thought finds expression. It is a palette for the mind. Curriculum is a device by which thoughts are given form that can be shared. In the hands of a curriculum artist, symphonies of thought are conceived, composed, and performed. Like a palette in the hands of a master, curriculum in the hands of a teacher can transform minds. This dissertation seeks to examine, through reflective inquiry, the efficacy of an integrative, concept‐driven curriculum framework for novice elementary teachers, and, thereby, posit a generalized model of reflective curriculum inquiry to generate a deeper understanding for the researcher and her readers. The emergent model is not a curriculum, but when viewed as a framework, this model can become a means to facilitate design and to further support the development and evaluation of curricula. This dissertation is a story of how a teacher was made, not born. It is a story of how students learned conceptually and performed purposefully. It is also a story of roles and relationships found between students, teachers, parents, administrators, and curriculum. Throughout this dissertation, actor‐network theory (ANT) was used to help describe these relationships between the various roles that I assumed in relation to others, resources, and educational settings. Finally, this dissertation reveals a significant and direct relationship between standards‐derived concept vocabulary, subject matter integration, and literacy development that emphasized the need for a configurable curriculum framework to serve as a model for curriculum inquiry.