Teacher culture has an important impact on educational institutions. Not only does it determine the interaction among colleagues, but it also gives meaning to and improves the quality of student interactions, in turn, influencing teaching – learning processes (Lee, 2002; Leithwood, Seashore, Anderson and Wahlstrom, 2004). Teacher culture also acts as a filter for the acceptance, rejection or redefinition of projects for innovation or of any information originating outside the school (Gather, 2004). This doctoral thesis is a study of the teacher culture and the dynamics present in the teamwork of social science teachers in two secondary schools in Bogotá D.C (Colombia). The general goal of the study has been to learn about the influence of teacher culture on the implementation of curricular guidelines for the social sciences in secondary schools in Bogotá D.C (Colombia).
Between 2002 and 2004, the Colombian Ministry of Education (MEN) formulated curricular guidelines for the different areas of basic and secondary education. However, no studies have been undertaken to find out how exactly these have been implemented in the educational institutions. For the case of the social sciences, not very much is known about the use of the guidelines in developing the school curricula, and very little research has been carried out into such teaching practices. Also, since the formulation of the General Education Law in 1994, the educational centres have been given autonomy in terms of the design and execution of their Institutional Educational Plans (PEI) and their curricula, based on the general MEN guidelines. Nevertheless, there is scarce documentation of the processes followed in the educational centres in terms of the collegial work expected for the development of the plans.
This is a qualitative case study research involving two secondary schools in Bogotá D.C (Colombia). The socioeconomic level of the students from both schools is medium – high, but they present differences in terms of the students’ results in the census tests. The study has sought to analyse the teamwork dynamics of social science teachers, as well as the dynamics involved in the curricular design and teaching – learning practices in the area. This was undertaken in order to find out about teaching culture and its influence on the implementation of curricular guidelines.
The results of this study deal with the influence of aspects related to teacher culture in the process of curricular development in the area of the social sciences. This, in order to formulate recommendations that allow us to study and improve the adoption of curricular proposals made by social science teachers in basic and secondary education in Colombia. Similarly, the ideas exposed in this doctoral thesis may provide guidance in the study of curricular reform processes within the framework of educational organizations and in analysing educational change, beyond what happens in the specific environment of the classroom and in terms of teaching practices.