1. The ‘Reconceptualization’ of Curriculum Studies Sulin Cheng
2. Reconceptualization Reconceptualization is “a reaction to what the field has been and what it is seem to be at present time.” Reconceptualists view research as a political as well as intellectual act, they identified the difficulties to relate curriculum to the culture, which requires fundamental structural change in the culture. “What is necessary is a fundamental reconceptualization of what curriculum is, how it functions, and how it might function in emancipatory ways. “ (Pinar, 211)Reconceptualist curriculum theory seeks to drive awedge between theory and practice by suspending theinstrumentalist intention. (Pinar & Grumet , 1982)
3. Overview of this presentation This presentation takes Canadian curriculum as an example, analyses the formation of Canadian curriculum from an historical perspective, as well as the features of postmodernism and ecology reflected in Canadian’s curriculum and curriculum policy. Form different perspective, we can see how the historical and political factors lead to the demand of reconceptualization in Canadian Curriculum.
4. Different Perspectives on Canadian’sCurriculum and Curriculum Policy
5. From historical perspectiveI The formation of Canadian curriculum(1800-1876)II. The influence of social change after 1867III. The Professionalization of Canadianeducational theory and practiceIV. Demand for more Canadian content inCurriculum after mid-1950s
6. I. The formation of Canadian curriculum(1800-1876) The first highly centralized curriculum established in Canada: Ratio Studiorum (established by Jesuit in 1599) From 1800-1840, a comprehensive system of public education extending from the elementary through the university levels in Quebec was established by the conquerors. Egerton Ryerson, a founding father of the Canadian curriculum in anglophone Canada, drew eclectically on European, British and American sources, which led to the incorporation of the ideas from Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Herbart into the Canadian curriculum. Although he feared the breakdown of community under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, and the influx of “alien elements”, he failed to eliminate these foreign influences, ironically he replaced American readers with the famous Irish National Readers, an event which may be seen as the beginning of a British “imperial” curriculum that would be influential in anglophone Canada into the 1950s.
7. II. The influence of social change after 1867 Social change such as MacDonald’s National Policy in Canada and the beginning of the progressive era in American education all contribute to the curriculum differentiation in Canada. Therefore, science, higher technical education are gradually gained a place in the universities. However, Stamp (1978) claimed, as Ontario’s education was praised in Philadelphia Centennial Exposition by winning two medals in 1876, as argues Stamp, made the Ontarians resist change in their education system, the expansion of industrial and vocational education at the high school level was slower.
8. III. The Professionalization of Canadianeducational theory and practicei. American influences on the Canadian curriculum were beingmanifested in many ways: According to 1925 Putman-Weir Survey of Education in British Columbia: between 1923-1938, more than one thousand Canadians enrolled at Columbia University alone. (Stamp et al. 1970, p.373) The US Committee of Ten of 1893 became a requirement four years later for Manitoba teachers seeking first class certification The teaching principles of the Herbartian movement was significant in teacher training in Ontario after 1905. Hadow Report of 1926 was cited later in Ontario and British Columbia as a source of progressive ideas.
9. ii. Canadianization vs. Americanism Canadian tend to assess their society’s character and experience in terms of categories developed by their southern neighbours. The different emphasis on the policy of “Anglo-conformity” which made to address the vast numbers of non-English- speaking immigrants who came to both countries between 1880 and 1914. Canada emphasized on imperial patriotism. After WWI, social milieu in both countries was changing, which manifested in the diverse students in terms of social- class and achievement-level backgrounds as well as in terms of occupational and vocational demands resulting from dramatically increased enrollments. All these trends developed more slowly in Canada and curriculum differentiation occurred at a slower pace. (Tomkins, 1981)
10. iii. The possible reasons for Canadian’s derivativeresponse to social changes The academic formalism of Scottish education and elitist or aristocratic concept derived from English education, which may lead to the Canadian curricular conservatism An academic curriculum reform was peaking by the mid- 1960s. Canadian response was to a large degree derivative, which resulted from the often indiscriminate importation of American curriculum materials and projects and naturally enough dealt with American social problems.
11. IV. Demand for more Canadian content inCurriculum after mid-1950s The large amount of Americanization of Canadian curricula since the mid-1950s provoked a reaction in the form of demands for more Canadian content. (Tomkins, P. 165) The curricular response was the Canadian Studies movement. At the same time, the Canadian curriculum has continued to manifest its traditional dependent and derivative character. (Tomkins, P.164)
12. From Ecological, Postmodern perspectiveI. Postmodernism and Canadian IdentityII.Ecology and the example of CanadaIII.Ecological PostmodernismIV.The demand of a distinctive Canadian identity and curriculumV. The Emergence of Canadian Curriculum
13. I. Postmodernism and Canadian Identityi. What is Postmodernism? A rejection of the belief that the universe is unified, finished Posits that we live in a world of partial knowledge, local narratives, situated truths , and evolving identities. (Lyotard, 1984) Interested in how human continuously adapt to new conditions of experiences and , at the same time reinterprete the past. An uncritical embrace of interpretive multiplicity
14. ii Canadian identity and post-modernism The essential qualities of Canadian identity is a lack of essential qualities Canadian identity tend to cluster around claims that Canadians are not overbearing, not totalizing, not monolithic, not unified, not static. (Sumara, et al. 2001. p.147) Canadian self-definition may be explained as “an explicit rejection of what is seen as Americanism’s two-way mirror of inward-looking rationalism and outward-looking imperialism. ” (Sumara, et al. 2001. p.147)
15. II. Ecology and the example of Canada “ecological” is about the relationships with particular attention to the complex co-evolutions of humans and the more-than-human world. (Sumara, et al. 2001. p.148) Due to Canadian long winter, ecological particularly interests in how human bodies tied to environmental circumstances.
16. III. Ecological Postmodernism Postmodern discourses provide support for ecological discourses by examining the evolving web of interactions that constitute human relations within the more-than- human world. The term ecological postmodernism in itself represents an attempt to refuse a dissociation of the biological and the phenomenological, an effort reflected in such recently invented terms as geoepistemology and ecosophy..
17. Canadian curriculum from EcologicalPostmodernism perspective Curriculum theorists in Canada seem to have learned that meanings and identities are not discovered, nor can they be fully represented. Believe that the nation and the identities of Canadian continually being created. Saul(2001) suggests that Canadian contends that nations are made of collections of minority groups and interests, who identities are continually shaped by the overlapping of history, geography, memory and language.
18. The reasons to the lack of Canadian identity Influenced by Britain, as Canada is a postcolonial country Canada’s strong economic, political, and cultural relationships with the United States Conduct much of the intellectual work of Canadian academy within structures that are American or, at least, shared with America* We should note that Canada’s primary identifications and affiliationsare also influenced by other countries, which can be seen from the historicalperspective
19. IV the demand of a distinctive Canadian identityand curriculum As Canada is a country colonized by French and English, its national identity has arisen from complex and innovative rights frameworks, social infrastructures, and government services. Because the colonial powers and the numerous First Nations could not draw on shared language or ancestry, so Canadian should develop policies and principles to maintain a national unity, and embrace linguistic and ethnic diversity. To succeed as a nation, Canada needed to develop a system of governance that embraced the notion that identities, individual and collective were continually invented, including the invention of a national character. (Sumara, et al. 2001. p.154)
20. V. The Emergence of Canadian Curriculum Historical influence on Canadian Curriculum, which was presented in the first part of the PPT. Formal education in Canada is a shared responsibility of federal and provincial governments, with specific accommodations for local ethnicities, religions and languages. Public school and post-secondary education in Canada are funded federally. Each province has a minister of education who is responsible for overseeing educational structures and processes, including the development of curriculum content. (Sumara, et al. 2001.p.155)
21. Conclusion From the above perspectives, we can see the historicaland political influence on Canadian curriculum theory. Asa country colonized by French and English, Canadiancurriculum and curriculum policy was heavily influencedby the colonizers. The Canadian curricular conservatismand derivative response to social changes may resultedfrom the aristocratic concept derived from Englisheducation and the importation of the neighbor Americancurriculum materials and projects.The OFID report of 1975 noted that no Canadian-basedrationale or philosophy existed that could serve as a basisfor policy. (p.165), so the demand for fundamentallyreconceptualizing the Canadian curriculum andcurriculum theory was pressing.
22. References Pinar, William. (1978). The reconceptualization of curriculum studies. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 10(3), 205-214. Grumet, Madeleine. (1989). Generations: Reconceptualist curriculum theory and teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(1), 13-17. Tomkins, George. (1981). "Foreign Influences On Curriculum And Curriculum Policy Making In Canada - Some Impressions In Historical And Contemporary Perspective" Curriculum inquiry , 11(2), 157-166. Sumara, D., Davis, B., Laidlow, L. (2001). Canadian identity and curriculum theory: An Ecological, Postmodern perspective. Canadian Society for the Study of Education. 26(2), 144-163.