Not Making the Grade: A Narrative Inquiry Into Timmy’s Experiences With the Mandated Curriculum


  • Sonia T. Houle University of Alberta



lived curriculum, narrative inquiry, curriculum-making


This research draws on the experiences of a Grade 1 delayed reader, his parents, and his teachers, to show his lived curriculum across his home and school contexts.  This narrative inquiry is situated in the literature of curriculum studies, in the notions of the lived curriculum and curriculum-making.  Field texts include field notes from the classrooms, transcripts of conversations with the child, his parents, and his teachers.  For this paper, I illustrate the child’s experiences at the end of Grade 1, among the tensions created between the lived curriculum of a struggling reader, and the expectations of the mandated curriculum, which are shaped by institutional and sociocultural narratives.  My goal is to provide insight into making curriculum in schools that accounts for the lived curricula of all children.

Keywords: lived curriculum; narrative inquiry; curriculum-making

Author Biography

Sonia T. Houle, University of Alberta

Ms. Houle taught elementary school children in French Immersion and Francophone programs in Alberta.  She was an instructor in the Education program at Campus Saint-Jean, University of Alberta.  Her research interests are in narrative inquiries and curriculum studies.  A part of this paper was presented at the Narrative Matters conference in May 2010 in Fredericton, N.B.