Tokgöz Can M., Bümen N.

7th International Congress on Curriculum and Instruction, Ankara, Turkey, 9 - 12 October 2019, pp.299-300

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.299-300


It can be said that teachers are autonomous when they make decisions about educational activities and implement them

without the pressure of external supervision. Ulaş and Aksu (2015) stated that teacher autonomy means that teachers make

their own decisions, choose their own methodologies, choose their own tasks and materials, design or evaluate their results,

cooperate with others to solve problems, and assume their responsibilities. Teacher autonomy is examined in three

dimensions: organizational decision-making autonomy, professional development autonomy and autonomy in planning and

implementing of teaching. The organizational decision-making autonomy means that teachers have the right and freedom to

participate in processes related to school operation and resource management. Professional development autonomy is that

teachers have freedom to participate in and manage professional development in areas which they consider themselves

inadequate. Autonomy in planning and implementing of teaching means that teachers can decide the teaching objectives and

content according to their students' needs, wishes and learning speeds, determine the materials and resources to be used and

make appropriate time management for the teaching and learning process (Öztürk, 2011). However, the Turkish education

system, in which the course objectives and contents are determined by a central authority and the students are evaluated with

a central examination, provides teachers with a limited autonomy area in the classroom activities. When the international

teacher autonomy studies analyzed, it is seen that many countries increasingly provide more autonomy for teachers in national

curriculum (Eurydice, 2008; Hong and Youngs, 2016; Viirpalu, Krull & Mikser, 2014). Yet, the limited number of teacher

autonomy studies conducted in Turkey is inadequate to initiate efforts to provide more autonomy for teachers in the centralized

education system. In addition, although there are studies based on teacher autonomy in planning and implementing of teaching

in the international literature, it has been observed that teacher autonomy studies in Turkey are mostly examined in

administrative dimensions (i.e.Çolak, 2016; Üzüm, 2014; Yazıcı & Akyol, 2017); the roles and autonomy of teachers in teaching

planning and implementation processes have not been studied enough. By examining teachers' perceptions of autonomy in

planning and implementing of teaching, it is aimed to present the suggestions to determine the strategies that support teacher

autonomy. In this study, the question What is the perception and needs of autonomy of teachers in planning and implementing

of teaching? was answered.In this study, sequential explanatory design, which is one of the mixed research procedures in

which qualitative data was collected after quantitative data analyzed, was used (Creswell, 2003). Ideal Curriculum Preferences

and Curriculum Experiences Questionnaire (ICPCEQ) developed by Viirpalu, Krull and Mixer (2014), Teacher Autonomy Scale

developed by Ulaş and Aksu (2015) and semi-structured interview form were used as data collection tools. A pilot study was

conducted with 15 participants before IPCEQ were used. 422 teachers working in public and private schools in the 2017-2018

academic year were determined by simple random sampling for the quantitative dimension of the study. For qualitative data,

10 teachers with different autonomy perception levels (high, moderate and low - according to the teacher autonomy scale)

were interviewed. In the analysis of quantitative data, percentage, frequency and variance analysis were used; and content

analysis technique was used for the analysis of qualitative data.As a result of the study, it was found that the general autonomy

perception level of the teachers was above the average level. Teachers' highest perception of autonomy was in planning and

implementing of teaching dimension, while the lowest perception of autonomy was in professional development dimension.

Autonomy perception levels of participants differed significantly according to the variables of age, the school level, professional

experience and weekly workload. Yet, autonomy perception levels of the participants did not differ significantly according to

the variables of gender, school type, educational status and teaching subject. The expectation of teachers from an ideal

curriculum is that the curriculum should provide all the steps of the teaching process in detail and at the same time, it should

give the teachers the right to make changes with flexibility and also provide with adaptation opportunities. It is revealed that

teachers are quite autonomous in the decision-making of classroom activities. Teachers expect to have greater autonomy in

determining the content of the curriculum. The participants suggest that the methods to involve teachers in the process of

developing a curriculum should be diversified such as meetings, committees, online surveys, etc. Teachers suggest that the

development process of the curriculum should be shaped by the collective work of teachers, experts and pedagogues.