Pedagogy of Performance: The Impact of Scripted Curricula on the Occupational Habitus of New York City Teachers
Clare Flack

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

Despite longstanding professionalization efforts, the occupational status of teachers in the United States remains uncertain and contested. Classic professionalists understand teaching as intellectual work requiring considerable abstract knowledge. New professionalists see teaching as a craft of performance, an understanding that undergirds the rise of more scripted forms of curricula in response to the demands of standards-based reform. Such curricula are increasingly prevalent in no-excuses charter networks, but use is expanding, particularly in schools serving low-income children of color. Most studies of scripted curricula focus on students; less is known about effects on teachers. Although conventional wisdom holds that scripted curricula are deprofessionalizing, they may enhance a reimagined teacher professionalism, relieving burnout and enabling focus on students’ socioemotional needs or pedagogical refinement. Also, scripted curricula may supply educational infrastructure that builds coherence, grounds teacher development, and fosters school improvement. Finally, curriculum development offers one potential professional career ladder for teachers. Among the first studies of scripted curricula to incorporate quantitative methods, this mixed-methods, quasi-experimental dissertation examines the development and implementation of more scripted curricula by two New York City school support networks (one charter and one non-charter). Semi-structured interviews and observations of professional development complement a population survey of network teachers. Data analysis will examine associations between school environment, teacher characteristics, level of scripting, and uptake of curricula with measures of teacher occupational habitus, including autonomy, knowledge, self-efficacy, school-level policy influence, and job satisfaction. Findings are relevant for researchers and policymakers interested in teachers’ occupational status and its labor market implications.
About Clare Flack
Clare Buckley Flack is a doctoral candidate in sociology and education in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests in the sociology of teaching include teacher working conditions, turnover, and occupational status. In the sociology of curriculum, her work explores the epistemology of school knowledge and the role of curriculum and instruction in the reproduction of inequality. She also studies the challenges of implementing educational policy, particularly standards-based reform and professional learning initiatives. She holds an A.B. in sociology from the University of Chicago, where she also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) from the Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP). Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she taught bilingual self-contained sixth grade in Chicago Public Schools and sixth grade earth science at a charter school for immigrants and refugees in Atlanta.

Pin It on Pinterest