Aligned Instructional Policy and Ambitious Pedagogy: Exploring Instructional Reform from the Classroom Perspective
by James P. Spillane & Nancy E. Jennings ó 1997
In recent years national, state, and local education reformers have paid increasing attention to two ideas about school reform. The first centers on ensuring more ambitious instruction for all students. The second has to do with crafting more coherent and closely aligned policies to support this ambitious instruction. This article explores these two popular reform ideas from the perspective of classroom teaching. We examine nine elementary school teachers?responses to their local school districtís efforts to press more ambitious ideas about literacy instruction. We argue that although the policy alignment strategy may be effective in changing surface-level aspects of teaching, it may be considerably less effective in reforming other difficult-to- reach dimensions of classroom practice (i.e., task and discourse). Further, we highlight the difficulties involved in figuring out the extent to which these recent reforms find their way into classroom practice.
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