Three recommendations from postmodernist thinking in curriculum
Running Head: Postmodernist Thinking in Curriculum Three Recommendations from Postmodernist Thinking in Curriculum
Running Head: Postmodernist Thinking in Curriculum In today’s world, there are two important aspects to be considered important in curriculumstudies. One of them is human capital theory as a significant component of neoliberal policies andthe other is postmodernist ideas. First, it is important to start with what roles neoliberal policiesassign to education and then the paper will elaborate on the importance of inclusion ofpostmodernist elements in the curriculum. Neoliberal policies reflect a change for the states (including Turkey) towards becoming animportant part of the competitive market- oriented world. In order to take part in this globalizingworld, in terms of economic benefits, neo- liberal state assign education (or training) a role inaccumulating more human capital. According to Marshall (1944), an educated population isimportant to meet the demands of industrialization, a skilled labor and technicians, and to raiseeducated electoral body for a civil society. It is known widely that high- skilled labor force isimportant for governments not to lag behind globalized competitive markets, therefore each state onits own promotes the idea of constructing a knowledge economy which will be promoted by theaccumulated human capital. As Lyotard (as cited in Alba et al, 2000) argues knowledge is producedto be sold and consumed and in that sense the goal is exchange. This is the first role of educationaccording to Marshall (1944). Nevertheless, this point on its own promotes the idea that educationis for training or vocational outputs as opposed to “education for education’ sake” (Alcock, Daly,Gricks, 2008). On the other hand, to have a civil society, education needs to reflect the speeding- upchanges in the world. Now, it is more important than ever for societies to adapt to the prevailingparadigms and changes in the societies. Most importantly, it is known that globalization’schallenges of social and culturel life inside the borders of a society is irreversable or uncontestable(Deacon, 2007). At that point, today, solidarity in global, national and local level are being soughtfor most of the neo- liberal oriented countries that they want to ensure the trade- offs betweeneconomic activity and equity/ social justice (Hulme & Hulme, 2008). Therefore, in order to ensurethis trade- off, empowering different identities or agencies and revising school curriculumaccordingly seems to be more than a need. How is this going to be applied then? There comes thepostmodernist ideas into the stage. Even though post- modernism also reflects change, it is rather concerned with the way weconstruct things in the cultural/ social change and uncovering the truth about the world (Morgan,2010). However, although postmodernism in nature does not engage in changing social life, whilerevising the curriculum, postmodernist thinking is important to infer some recommendations whichare worth underlining and considering. Three most urgent ones to deal with the challenges ofglobalizing world are explained respectively. First, today, Turkey is striving to become a part ofEuropean Union and global world and even emerges as the direction of migration. The students arewitnessing easily accessible information about different people or livestyles in enourmous amount
Running Head: Postmodernist Thinking in Curriculumwith the aid of the internet and internalization of industries. They need to be presented withdifferent perspectives and ideas in order to minimize the intimacy and resistance to the globalchanges. Hence, the curriculum should reflect a multicultural basement reflecting different cultures/lifestyles and the importance of showing respect to “substantial variance in experiences,backgrounds, abilities and belief systems” (Johnson & Nieto, 2007, p. 33). That is the reason whycurriculum needs to reflect different cultural aspects such as a text about Peru or the social life inMonaco. Apart from this, the postmodernist ideas strongly emphasize that there is not innate selfbut everything is socially constructed and produced that labeling oneself to an identity creates moreconfusion and division (Lither, 2010). Including different identities such as lesbians, gays, ordisabled people in curriculum need to be considered since empowering different voices comes aftera society which is respectful to different identities. Secondly, according to Bernstein (1975), there is a language code which is working differentin different social strata. He argues that two groups of children with different backgrounds andexperiences classify common and familiar objects in different types of way (Scott, 2008). He pointsout that the way how we construct our discourses is closely related to the language code. However,he (as cited in Scott, 2008) strongly emphasizes that the differences in language stems from thespecific contexts. Moreover, according to Foucault (as cited in Scott, 2008), this discourse isdirectly related to power. What/ who has the power determines the discourse and the discourse isnot reinforced by the ruling class but available at different strata in the society. Besides, Bourdieu(1984) argues that the curriculum or school context acts as favoring the bourgeois or their lifestylesdevaluing or excluding others such as local ones or even national ones. Combining all three viewsturns our attention back to local issues alongside above- mentioned global or national issues, henceexcluding local issues in different strata in the society put some groups of people at adisadvantaged. However, this does not necessarily reinforce the idea of developing curriculumbased on traditional views but the discourse in the curriculum content is supposed to “lay bare theassumptions and internal contradictions” (Lister, 2010). It is important to move towards raisingstudents’ their immediate environment or, for instance, to promote them re-contextualize withinlocal sites of global influences. Including local aspects such as ecological sustainability in theirlocal environment or local cultures need to be taken into consideration in curriculum in that sense. Thirdly, according to Foucault (1982), knowledge is relative and emergent. In other words,knowledge systems are embedded in particular social arrangements that it does not persist over timeand space (Scott, 2008). Therefore, knowledge should be presented in a way that students shouldnot feel it as fixed. This way, students develop questioning and critical thinking skills, which in turnlead to thinking knowledge societies and solidarity in the society respectively.
Running Head: Postmodernist Thinking in Curriculum In conclusion, in revising curriculum, postmodernist ideas should be considered besideshuman capital theories. References de Alba, A., Gonzalez- Gaudiano, E., Lankshear, C., Peters, M. (2000). Curriculum in thepostmodern condition. NY: Peter Lang Publishing. Alcock, C., Daly, G., and Griggs, E. (2000). Introducing social policy. London: PearsonLongman. Bourdieu, P. (1979. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge andKegan Paul. Bernstein, B. (1975). Class, codes, control: Theoratical studies towards a theory of educationaltransmission. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Deacon, B. (2007). Global social policy & governance. London: Sage. Deacon, R. (2006). Michel Foucault on education: A preliminary theoretical overview. SouthAfrican Journal of Education, 26 (2), 177-187. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8 (4), 777-795. Hulme, R. and Hulme, M. (2008). Understanding Global Social Policy. Bristol: Policy Press. Johnson, J. and Nieto, J. (2007). Towards a cultural understanding of the disability and deafexperience: A content analysis of introductory multicultural education textbooks. Multicultural Perspectives,9(3), 33-43. Lister, R. (2010). Understanding theories and concepts in social policy. Bristol: The Policy andPress and the Social Policy Association. Marshall, T. H. (1944). Citizenship and social class. London: Pluto Press. Morgan, J. (2010). Teaching geography for a better world? The postmodern challenge andgeography education. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 11 (1), 15-29. Scott, D. (2008) Critical essays on major curriculum theories. NY: Routledge.