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Book review curriculum-theory and practice-kelly

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This book answers the questions regarding to what is a real Educational Curriculum? or What should be a Democratic Curriculum? By implication, it refers the misconceptions and flaws in the practice of Curriculum Development and implementation, by reference to the Curriculum process in England and Wales throughout three decades.

The author ends this book by stating that an appropriate curriculum for a democratic society allows continuing development of knowledge, provides opportunities for young people to develop their powers of autonomous thinking, provides teachers with autonomy to make professional judgments, is developed in a democratic system of accountability, is framed in terms of guidelines and principles, is planned with the participation of key actors, among them professionals, academics, policy-makers and others.

Finally, this book Invites to develop further research on questions such as, the exploration of ‘the role of the professional teacher in a democratic society’, how democratic in the context in which the teacher performs his work?, the practical procedural principles based on the Human Development theory for a National Curriculum or Curriculum Development, the dimensions of the concept of education left behind in current National curriculums, the features of a National Curriculum that promote or block the development of students’ autonomy for a democratic society.

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Book review curriculum-theory and practice-kelly

  1. 1. ESSAY Book review Title: Curriculum: Theory and practice Student Luis Santos (31163005) PhD. Student of Nanjing Normal University April, 2017
  2. 2. 1 BOOK REPORT/REVIEW TITLE: Curriculum:theoryandpractice Author: Kelly Edition:5th . Year:2004 General overview: Thisbooktacklesthe differentconceptionsofCurriculum, itsdevelopmentandimplementation, by reference to the real experience of itsprocess inThe UnitedKingdom, duringthree decades (from 1970’s to 1990’s). The central theme of this book is the right and essential role of the teacher, not as a mere technician,but as a professional able to make professional judgements regardingCurriculum Development. The author presents this topic focusing on conceptions and theoretical discrepancies about Curriculum Development.This is, the answers to the question, what is a real or Educational Curriculum? rather than on methodological focuses referred to the question, how to plan the curriculum? Nevertheless, the extensive and sophisticated theory presented and explained provides very clear guidance to develop a practical Curriculum planning process in terms of principlesandcriteria. In the debate and practice about Curriculum, very often there are many misused concepts regarding to this matter that the author attempts to clarify. Those conceptions are referred to the concept of Education vs. Indoctrination, teaching vs. instruction, Objectives vs. targets, principles,process,schoolingfocusvs.vocational focus, learning,developingandsoforth. The authoremphasizesthatthe conceptof CurriculumshouldincludeaJustifiable focus.Thisis, it should offer justifications and descriptionsabout the purposes,intentions and effectsof the curriculumregardingitscontentanditsimpactonthe studentsandsociety.Thisisimportantto avoid a Curriculum that seeks for indoctrination rather than education, motivated by political interestsandbiasesthataffectthe developmentof aDemocraticCurriculum andSociety. Finally, the author expresses concerns about Curriculum with totalitarian and anti-democratic views,whichactuallyiswidelyappliedinmanycurrentsocietiesaswell asinUK until the 1990’s. Books’ chapters and content: Thisbookcontainseightchapters.A general overview of eachispresentedbelow. Chapter 1: The curriculum and the Study of Curriculum In thischapter,the author developsthe answerstothe questions,whatshouldbe?andwhatis the Curriculum? Clarification of the concepts of Curriculum and Education are presented. The references presentedare, the wide dimension of curriculum, its justifiable character, the total curriculum, its real purposes. A descriptive rather than prescriptive character of curriculum is emphasized. References about the seek for liberty, freedom, democracy, respect for others are mentioned as part of the purpose of the Curriculum. Furthermore, the misconception of Curriculum as a Syllabus is clarified. Also,the multiple dimensions of curriculum are explained by reference to moral,values,aestheticandotheraspectsof a comprehensive Curriculum. An especial reference tothe centralityandthe importance of the teacherisalsogiven.
  3. 3. 2 A descriptionof keyaspectsof Curriculumstudiesispresented,amongthem, the strategiesfor curriculumchange and control,assessment,evaluationandaccountability,the Politicizationof curriculum,Curriculumplanning,IdeologiesandCurriculumplanning,andHumanKnowledge. Chapter 2: Knowledge andthe Curriculum Thischapterdiscussesaboutthe problemof HumanKnowledge.The authortriestodevelopthe answersto the questions,whatisthe real knowledge?Whatisthe true knowledge? Isthere an Absolut knowledge? She presents the different views and ideologies of knowledge that are involvedinEducationandCurriculumstudiesfromthe philosophicalpointof view of knowledge. This chapter alsoexplainsthe implicationsof knowledge ideologies inthe Curriculumand how certain philosophies can affect the curriculum planning and developmental process; especially itseffectsinthe society. The knowledge philosophies discussed in this chapter are those regarding to Rationalism, Empiricism, Pragmatism, Existentialism, Post-modernism and the political uses that those philosophiescanhave towards Dogmatic, Totalitarian,anti-democraticorDemocraticsystems. The recommendations about the view of knowledge are towards not absolutist and dogmatic conceptions,andinfavorof hypothetical-tentative,notuniversalcharacterof knowledge. Chapter 3: Curriculumas Content and Product This chapter discusses about the major ideologiesof curriculum and presents three types of Curriculums.Nevertheless,thetwofirstare furtherdescribed,meanwhile thethirdispartof the next chapter. The three ideologies of Curriculum are: Curriculum as content and education as transmission,Curriculumasproduct and educationas instrumental,Curriculumasprocessand educationasdevelopment. Problems of content selection and weak planning process are involved in the Curriculum as contentand Educationas transmissionmodel. The approaches of Curriculum based on Content and Objectives have been used by and for political interests linked to utilitarian,instrumental and industrial purposes,and therefore,a seekforDemocracyhas beendisregarded. The Objective-basedCurriculummodelhaslargelycontributedtoplanningprocessandprecision, this view is objectedby those who think that this focus can lead the CurriculumDevelopment process to dismiss a sophisticated, multi-dimension,moral and artistic character of Education. Furthermore,concernsof the flawsof behaviorismandindoctrinationare linkedtothismodel accordingto the author,in spite of the attemptto combine the ContentandObjectivesmodels as a solution to the shortcomings of a pure Content-based model. Problems of objectives prescription,are partof the discussionof thismodel. Chapter 4: Curriculumas Process and Development Thischapterdescribesthe featuresof whatisthoughtagood Curriculummodel byreferenceto ideologies, ideas, and concepts such as, Educational Curriculum, comprehensive curriculum, Democraticcurriculum,participation,principlesforguidingacurriculumprocess. The author highlights the principlesandprocessfocuson the CurriculumDevelopment,aswell as the importance of JustificationsandDescriptionsof the purposesof Curriculum.
  4. 4. 3 It is mentionedthatthe foundationof thismodel isthe Developmental theory,the Humanand ChildDevelopmenttheory.Thismodeliscalled‘Child-centered’. Other features of this model presented are: the focus on the individual or the individualities rather than on the society as a whole, the seek for students, teachers, citizen’s autonomy,the inclusionof the importance of the Humanpotentialitiesandthe conceptof Competence rather than performance or acquired knowledge, the empowerment for democracy, the moral, aesthetic and affective search, the seek for free-of-political, instrumental, commercial view of curriculum and education, as well as conceptions of Education and teaching free from indoctrination,instructionconceptions,thosedeemedassimpleviewsof Education. Chapter 5: Curriculumand Development,change and Control This chapter takes us to an exploration of the strategies of curriculum planning (strategies for change andinnovation).The strategiesmentionedare:The Disseminationof Innovation,School- baseddevelopmentandActionResearch. There is an especial emphasis on an appropriate Dissemination process to avoid Central- peripherymodel of dissemination.Besides,inthischapterthereisareferenceaboutthe Control exercised by the political power to favor its interests. Testing, evaluation and accountability processes are generally used as means of political control over the curriculum and education system. Amongthe strategiessuggestedinthe Curriculuminnovationandchange are:the seekforlocal initiatives and teacher´s cooperation, Action Research, teachers training and empowerment, appropriate communication among teachers and other actors, as well as their involvement, reduction of political interference, and social and organization barriers. It is, to constitute a healthysocial andorganizational climate. Chapter 6: Assessment,Evaluation,Appraisal and Accountability This chapter tackles the implications and conceptions of Educational assessment, evaluation, appraisal andaccountability.Itissaidthat those processescanbe usedforgood or forill. The author offersadetailedexplanationabouthow accountabilityandtestingprocessare used for mere political or centralized control and not for Educational and Curriculum development, in a direct or indirect manner, under the rhetorical justification of ´education’s quality promotion´. Generation of statistics has been the motivation of political groups for their self- promotion. Other important topics referred in this chapter are, the concepts and practices of summative and formative evaluation, and implications referred to standards setting, and effectiveness in the evaluationprocess. The author emphasizesthatthe essence of arightevaluationandaccountabilityprocessand its results, isthe provisionof feedbacktoimprove students’education. Research is equal to Evaluation and Development, thus, an essential part of Curriculum linked to teacher’sself-evaluationandthe ideaof ActionResearchinwhichteachersplayacrucial role. Besides, there is a positive accountability model that contributes to the Curriculum and Education development. This is an Intrinsic, Democratic and professional model of accountability.
  5. 5. 4 The evaluationbasedonprinciplesandprocessisdeemedmore appropriate,ratherthanbased on a listof prescribedobjectives. Chapter 7: The Politicizationofthe Curriculum Political implications in the Curriculum are widely explained in this chapter. Since, politics has strong influence in Education and Curriculum, most of it with negative implications, there is a vast number of topics referring to its means of influence and effects in the educationsystem. The author expressesthe close linkbetweenEducationandpoliticsbynoting that Educationis essentially a political activity, therefore, is not possible to discuss about curriculum without political references. External examinationandtestingsystemisone meanof indirect political influence andcontrol. Direct political interventions have been performed in form of inhibition teacher’s autonomy, creationof agenciesof control andaccountability,anddirectdictationof curriculumfocus,such as the performance focusratherthanthe competence focus, throughpoliciesandregulations. Basedon the experience of UKthat the authornarrates, political influence hashadeconomical and instrumental tendencies,aswell as,aninterestforkeepapolitical andsocial status-quo. It is also said that the Curriculum is a battleground of competing ideologies. Instrumental, commercial vs. Democratic/idealistic ideologies fight to prevail and guide the Curriculum Developmentprocess. Chapter 8: Democratic and Educational National Curriculum This chapter discusses the problem about the tensions between two views of Curriculum that claim to seek for a Democratic Curriculum. One is focusedon the individualities of students or individualneeds,andthe otherisfocusedonthe ideaof Equalityof Educational opportunity. Basedonthe experience inUK,therehavebeenpressuresforexternalcontrolandrequirements of internal development in favor of a Universal National Curriculum, which embraces and proposesanindividual ‘diet’foreveryone.The argumentsthatthiscurriculumfocuspresentsto support its Democratic claim are based on the theory of Rationalist Nature of knowledge that tends to a universal, objective character of knowledge. Also, presents a Social or Sociological argumentby reference to equalityof educationopportunityforall.Anotherargumentisbased on the idea of Balance, by reference to a set of educational experiencesfor all pupils; and the lastargumentisreferredtoaPolitical-Economical view,thatclaimsthe needof achievingcertain necessary standards by pupils for a productive life. Regardless these arguments that claim a Democratic view of Education and Curriculum, the arguments against are by reference to a Dogmaticviewof knowledgeandproblemsrelatedtocontentselection. On the other hand, the author asserts that the Curriculum as process and Education as Development model is seen as the solution to the theoretical dilemma, since it proposes ‘commonareasof experience’andprinciples basedon the Childdevelopment theory thatguide the educationprocesstowardsthe constructionof Democracy andautonomous people,andthe ideaof an individualizedCurriculum intermsof Teacher’sAutonomy, thatpaysattentiontothe particularities of each reality, school and pupils. A National Curriculum in these terms is what the author deemsplausible. ThisisaDemocraticNational Curriculum.
  6. 6. 5 Conclusion This book answers the questions regarding to what is a real Educational Curriculum? or What should be a Democratic Curriculum? By implication, it refers the misconceptions and flaws in the practice of Curriculum Development and implementation, by reference to the Curriculum processinEnglandand Wales throughoutthree decades. The author ends this book by stating that an appropriate curriculum for a democratic society allows continuing development of knowledge, provides opportunities for young people to develop their powers of autonomous thinking, provides teachers with autonomy to make professional judgments, is developed in a democratic system of accountability, is framed in termsof guidelinesandprinciples, isplannedwiththe participationof keyactors,among them professionals,academics,policy-makersandothers. Finally, this book Invites to develop further research on questions such as, the exploration of ‘the role of the professional teacherina democraticsociety’,how democraticinthe contextin whichthe teacherperformshiswork?,the practical procedural principlesbasedonthe Human Development theory for a National Curriculumor Curriculum Development,the dimensions of the conceptof educationleftbehindincurrentNational curriculums, the featuresof a National Curriculum that promote or block the development of students’ autonomy for a democratic society.

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