Distributed curriculum leadership: How negotiation between student and teacher improves the curriculum

Jeroen Bron, Catherine Bovill, Wiel Veugelers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Students co-constructing their curriculum with their peers and teacher is an example of leadership distributed to students. By co-constructing their curriculum students have the opportunity to give direction to their learning and practice democratic citizenship and distributed leadership principles. This article explores practices of shared decision making about the curriculum by involving students, and presents results of this process. It also acknowledges that often teachers can be reluctant to change their pedagogical habits. Some of this reluctance can be due to a lack of understanding of how to practically operationalize coconstruction of the curriculum and distributed leadership in the classroom. The research is based on an extensive literature review and a series of case studies in five schools for lower secondary education (ages 11-15) in The Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium, around the question: “What content and perspectives do students bring to the curriculum?” This article provides a thick description of two of these cases. Furthermore, it seeks to answer the more general question: “Is the curriculum-negotiation method suitable for organizing teacher and student leadership in curriculum matters?”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-98
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Ethical Educational Leadership
Issue numberSpecial Issue 1
Early online date14 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2018


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