Three Versions of Curriculum
In my K-? Education, I have had….
All teacher-cente... Some Subject-cent...
Some student-cent... An optimal blend ...
A blend that had ...
1. All teacher-centered
experiences of curriculum
2. Some Subject-centered
3. Some student-centered
4. An optimal blend of these
5. A blend that had little
rhyme or reason to
What is the nature of curriculum?
Curriculum is something determined by
experts and authorities.
There is no right curriculum.
Curriculum should reflect the real world, be
practical, of use.
There are many curricula we can learn and
Please make your selection...
1. Authorities /Experts
2. There is no “right”
3. Curriculum should be
the “real world”
4. There are many
curricula we can learn
Definitions of Curriculum
1. Curriculum is all of the
experiences children have
under the guidance of
2. Curriculum encompasses all
learning opportunities provided
3. Curriculum is a plan for all
experiences which the learner
encounters in school.
4. Curriculum is subject to
perspectives, debate, change
Discipline, Discourse, & Theory
Discipline – an area of study, with its own particular rules
E.G., the discipline of Economics, or History
Discourse – a system of statements that provide rules of
information and sets of practices within a social milieu (Grant
& Gillette, 2006).
E.G. “discourse of free-market capitalism.”
Theory– an argument about how to think about a discipline
or a discourse. Thinking about the
Nature of our thinking – “metacognition.”
E.G. Theory of the novel, or Theory of Evolution, or Marxist
Theory of History
Who owns the curriculum?
A teacher in a public school is an employee
of the district, which is an educational entity
of the state.
It is the state, the governor, the legislature
(the state dept. of education or state board of
education) which has ultimate responsibility
over the curriculum.
“I view curriculum as a particular, historically formed
knowledge that inscribes rules and standards by
which we „reason‟ about the world and our „self‟ as a
productive member of that world.”
“Curriculum is a disciplining technology that directs
how the individual is to act, feel, talk, and „see‟ the
world and the „self.‟ As such, curriculum is a form of
Curriculum and Power Relationships
Expert knowledge shapes our thinking about
much in our daily life.
We think of it as “natural” but it is not…it is
built from expert systems of thinking.
We assume expert knowledge to be true.
I know for certain that…
1. The earth revolves
around the sun
2. My friend loves me
3. It is below zero
4. There is truth in the
5. My senses give me
Nothing new…in 1909 E.L. Thorndike developed handwriting
standards measuring students‟ penmanship performance
Standards consider content and performance and remove the
need for teachers to guess or make inferences about what
students need to know
Content standards specify what students should know and be
able to do
Performance standards specify the evidence needed to
Tendency toward conservative visions of back to basics since
1983 A Nation at Risk Report
Tendency toward internationalism in curricular thinking
Standards and Curriculum
“Although most educators…argue that these
standards are not the curriculum, standards do
suggest the learning experience and opportunities
that students should have under the guidance of the
“…for many teachers, the standards have become
the fusion of teachers‟ public, professional, and
personal knowledge that disciplines their choices
and possibilities, and must therefore be thought of as
the effects of power.”
The Overt Curriculum
The overt curriculum is the open, or public,
dimension and includes current and
historical interpretations, learning
experiences, and learning outcomes.
Openly discussed, consciously planned,
usually written down, presented through the
Textbooks, learning kits, lesson plans, school
Provides students with science, history,
Provides students with the knowledge society
wants them to have…beyond the academics
Social Responsibility…the overt curriculum
should be “society‟s messenger” (Benjamin
In the 1600s…for religious purposes…Old Deluder
Satan laws (1642)
In order to organize what students should learn and
teachers should teach, The New England Primer
was published (1690)
In the late 1700s and 1800s, Americanization
1900‟s Progressivism for Democracy in reforms
founded on thinking of John Dewey
E.D. Hirsch, Cultural Literacy
The Invisible (Hidden)Curriculum
The processes…the “noise” by which the overt
curriculum is transmitted
“they are also learning and modifying attitudes,
motives, and values in relationship to the
experiences…in the classroom.”
The nonacademic outcomes of formal education are
sometimes of greater consequence…than is learning
the subject matter….
Results of the Hidden Curriculum
Notions of truth, ways of thinking, unstated
Appraisals of self-worth
Attitudes and Behavior Required for Work
I see myself
1. As an “A” kind of person
2. As a future leader in my field
3. As a hard worker
4. As a solid middle class member
The “What Knowledge” Debate
Colonial – moral education
19th Century – “Americanization”
Early 20th …The Scopes trial…before
Scopes, religious faith was the common, if
not universal, premise of American thought;
after Scopes, scientific skepticism prevailed.
A Nation at Risk (1983) return to the “basics”
The Null Curriculum
When a topic is never taught:
“not worth the time…”
Extra or Co-curricula
Beneficial to self-esteem
Improved race relations
Higher SAT scores, grades
Better health for females, gender stereotypes
Higher career aspirations
The “Whose Knowledge” Debate
…our arguments over curriculum are also
our arguments over who we are as
Americans, including how we wish to
represent ourselves to our children
The Canon…defining what is central and
what is marginal
Societal level…politicians, special committees,
Institutional level…set at the school, district,
college…usually set along subject matter disciplines
Instructional level…teacher planning and teaching
Ideological level…learning theorists and subject
The Reign of the Textbook
Textbook adoption states
Economies of scale
– Whose content?
– Traditional versus Progressive
– Today…debate over Scientifically Based
Practices in education.
Adequate Yearly Progress
“Underperforming” by measurements
Students and parents offered options
Consequent Loss of Funding
Browse State Website?
State Standards and Test are…
Desirable, as the... A mistake, they d...
Positive for unif... Divisive and not ...
1. Desirable, as they create
2. A mistake, they don‟t
measure real learning
3. Positive for unifying
4. Divisive and not
representative of different
Individuals lost in sea of tests
Learning as exploration, creativity stifled
Use of threats and bribery counter to ethical
Shifting emphasis from real issues to surface
Detract from teacher autonomy
Topics in Curriculum / Know these in
terms of philosophy topics?
Creationism versus Evolution
Core Knowledge, the Canon, versus
Critical Thinking Skills
Critical Pedagogy (and literacy)
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