of Curriculum Theory
Notes & Reflections by
Nada Salem Abisamra
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Reading 1- The American School 1642-2004 by Joel Spring- Chapters 4 to 6
Reading 2- The Struggle for the American Curriculum by Herbert M. Kliebard (2004)- Chapters 1 to 5* The four major forces that determined the new American curriculumReading 3- The Struggle for the American Curriculum by Herbert M. Kliebard- Chapters 6 to 10
(Humanists, Developmentalists, Social Efficiency Educators, Social Meliorists)
Reading 4- Basic Principles of Curriculum & Instruction by Ralph W. Tyler- 1949
Reading 5- Ideology & Curriculum by Michael W. Apple (2004)
Readings 6- Curriculum as Classed and Politicized Text -- (Pinar, Giroux, Molnar, Finn)
Reading 7- Curriculum as Racialized Text (1) -- (William H. Watkins)
Readings 8- Curriculum as Racialized Text (2) -- (Pinar, Chan, Barajas)
Readings 9- Curriculum as Gendered Text -- (Pinar, Grumer, Martino)
Readings 10- Curriculum as Sexualized Text -- (Britzman, Sumara & Davis, Fine)
Readings 11- Curriculum as Hybridized and Intersected Text -- (Kumashiro, Asher)
Analysis of the Role of Teachers
as Articulated in Kliebard, Tyler, and Apple Texts
New! The ESL Reading Curriculum: New Lenses New!
Reading 1- The American School 1642-2004 by Joel Spring
Chapters 4 to 6This is how great nations are formed!! It all starts with a vision for Education: how to instill patriotism, morals and values, and a balance of freedom and order!
• Freedom => freedom to do good and act virtuously!!! > Citizens would thus exercise their freedom in a correct manner. Uncontrolled freedom would lead to a decadent and chaotic society (p. 59)
• Types of knowledge needed:o Educated to read and write but political views formed outside of educational institutions (T. Jefferson)• Sources of leadership:
o Educated to read and write + taught basic principles of a republican form of government.
=>Who should define the political beliefs to be taught in schools (this can be the source of endless debates!)o Political leadership should emerge from aristocracy (Europeans)• Society can be reformed by school!
o Educational institutions should be a means of selecting and educating future leaders (in new republic)
=>Schools will then have a pivotal role in the political and social process
=>Education is given the task of selecting talent (in politics and later in occupations)o A person’s character can be reformed• Should schools impose a political education? If yes, then who determines its content?
o Crime and poverty would end (unfortunately impossible!) with the reformation of prisons and the establishment of charity schools.
o Schools can correct the vices and disorders of society (Webster- p. 61)o I believe that ALL the different political views should be taught in political education, and students need to synthesize and choose the views they would like to adopt.• Who should determine the content of citizenship education?
o Then I would adopt Thomas Jefferson’s opinions on education:
=>Instead of imposing political values and molding the “virtuous republican citizen,” schools should provide reading and writing and political beliefs should be formed through the exercise of reason > most important means of political education is the reading of history and newspapers.o I believe that all the different factions of the society should determine the content of citizenship education (each represented by their most educated people).• Noah Webster:o While teaching in 1779, he conceived the idea of developing a new system of instruction!• Thomas Jefferson:
o He believed that, in addition to teaching reading and writing, his texts should produce good and patriotic Americans, develop an American language, and create a unified national spirit. (p. 61)
o He believed that moral and political values had to be imposed on the child (through catechism with political content).
o There should be an emotional bond between citizen and government; attachment to the law may be formed by early impressions upon the mind > begin with the infant in the cradle.
o Webster’s importance in the history of American education is twofold:
=>He represented widely held opinions of his time
=>He had a major effect on the education of children in the US in the late 18th and 19th centuries.o He believed the new republic needed to identify its future leaders in the early years of their schooling and provide them with an education through college.• Importance of the moral faculty (Rush)
o One reason for his opinion that democracy is possible was his belief in the existence of an inborn moral sense > common sense => we should not shape and control students’ moral behavior > they are endowed with a sense of right and wrong which can be improved through exercise and can be guided by reason: the study of moral rules can interfere with the proper functioning of this innate sense (I think that it all depends on how we are studying them!!)
o Individuals are born with reason and a moral sense and education can IMPROVE them > increase human knowledge.
o His educational plan consists in: preparing the citizen + preparing the political leader.
o Portrait of the ideal citizen: knows history, reads newspapers, exercises reason and moral common sense to make political decisions. + public schooling should NOT serve to educate republican machines!
• In laying the foundation of a thorough education, it is necessary that all important mental faculties be brought into exercise (p. 68)
• Can schools replace families??? (make up for “an improper family life?) (p. 69)
• Joseph Lancaster:“A place for everything and everything in its place” +• Benjamin Franklin: “The useful and the ornamental in learning” (p. 74)
“Let every child at every moment have something to do and a motive for doing it” (p. 71) [These are so true!]
• The Yale report (1828) > residence halls on college campuses > familiarity between students and instructors. (p. 76-77)
• Should schooling mold the virtuous citizen or provide the tools for the exercise of freedom? (p. 82)
A democratic society needs a school system that:
Imposes morality, Emphasizes patriotism, Teaches respect for authority, Inculcates basic political values (that would be common to different views) + Provides the intellectual tools for all people that will enable them to select their own moral and political values!
Reading 2- The Struggle for the American Curriculum by Herbert M. Kliebard (2004)
Chapters 1 to 5
• 1740: Christian Wolf (German psychologist) > detailed array of faculties that comprise the human mind. Mental disciplinarians built on that theory: certain subjects of study could strengthen faculties such as memory, reasoning, will, and imagination + the way of teaching these subjects could further invigorate the mind and develop these powers (the faculties—mental muscles—could be trained through properly conceived mental gymnastics) => those faculties presented a basis for defining the scope of the curriculum. An ideal education meant all-around mental fitness.
[Wolf used Rousseau's ideas]
• The belief that the mind was like a muscle > monotonous drill, harsh discipline, mindless verbatim recitation. > Schools were joyless and dreary places.
• From 1800 to 1830:
o The Lancastrian system required a careful breakdown of the course of study into standard units of work.
o Textbooks such as the McGuffy reading series and the blueback spellers had the most standardizing influence on the curriculum of the 19th century schools > they contributed to a growing nationalization of the curriculum. (p.2)
• 1828: Yale faculty report: defense of traditional education and humanistic values- (Authors of the report: Jeremiah Day and James K. Kingsley)o Education has TWO main functions:• Between 1856 and 1864: William Harvey Wells (Chicago superintendent of schools) divided students into grades and established a distinct course of study for each subject at each grade level.
=>the discipline > strengthening the powers of the mind: THINKING
=>the furniture of the mind > filling the mind with content > knowledge and skills*Greek, Latin, Mathematics, Belles Lettres = valuable
*Newer subjects such as modern foreign languages = unproven quantities
• 1883 + 1893: Lester Frank Ward- He foreshadowed significant elements of Dewey’s educational philosophy. Critical to social progress is a properly constructed and fairly distributed system of education (p. 22). Like Eliot, Ward expressed great optimism about the power of human intelligence.
• 1890s= a radically altered vision of the role of schooling > change of the social role of the school + change in the educational center of gravity (from teacher to curriculum)
• In 1890s: acute public awareness of social changes, so the matter of what to teach in schools came under scrutiny
• Significant factors in the transformation of American society:o Tremendous growth of journalism (magazines + newspapers)• By 1890s, collapse of mental discipline: consequence of changing social order > different conception of the knowledge the new society values.
o Rapid advance of railroads > access to the rest of the nation! > hence the creation of new industries + markets in addition to changing social attitudes and remaking Americans’ sense of the world.
o Continued growth of cities> transformed American society from isolated communities to urban industrial nation. A world beyond the immediate community was becoming visible.o + introduction of the first successful lino-type machine in 1890.
o + by 1883, the railroad industry leaders created the system of standardized time zones that are in use today.
o + technological changes (telephone) affected the ability of adolescents to find employment.
o + dramatic rise in secondary school enrollments (clerical jobs which required higher levels of training were better paying than manual labor)
• Different segments in any society will emphasize different forms of knowledge as most valuable for that society. Rarely is there universal agreement as to which resources of a culture are the most worthwhile (p. 7).
• Need for uniform college entrance requirements > National Education Association’s Committee of Ten was appointed in 1892. Chairman: Charles W. Eliot (Humanist + mental disciplinarian).o Too much reliance on authority and too little on appeal to reason. (p. 9)• Critics: G. Stanley Hall (Developmentalist: the natural order of development in the child is the most significant and scientifically defensible basis for determining what should be taught. (Children were -before- treated as passive receptacles, p. 38). Three fallacies of the Committee of Ten (one of which was later accepted by Eliot- p. 105):
o Champion of systematic development of reasoning power as central function of schools
o Reasoning power:*Observing accuratelyo Eliot supported electivism in curriculum
*Making correct records of the observations
*Classifying and categorizing
*Making correct inferences
=> The curriculum should be directed towards those mental habits + the power to express thoughts clearly, concisely, and cogently.
o He was an optimist with respect to human capabilities
o The right selection of subjects + the right way of teaching them could develop citizens of all classes (with the power of reason, sensitivity to beauty, and high moral character)
o No curricular distinction between students preparing for college and those preparing for life.o Pupils should be taught the same way, to the same extent; common curriculum = unworkable• 1892: National Herbart Society- John Dewey. Herbartian ideas exercised a big influence on American curriculum.
o All subjects are of equal educational value if taught equally well = wrong
o Fitting for college is the same as fitting for life = wrong
[The Contents of Children's Minds on Entering School (Hall, 1894) influenced the U.S. movement toward child study.]
• 1892-1893: Joseph Mayer Rice: The public school system of the US is lifeless. He wanted to find the secrets of the success of the good schools in Indianapolis. The quality of teaching seemed to Rice the most responsible for the catastrophic state of American education. He attacked teachers and school administrators. He is the father of comparative methodology in educational research.
• Rice: Educational reform revolves around a clear articulation of definite goals and on finding appropriate techniques of measurement.
• 1895: Committee of 15- William Torrey Harris > new rationale for a humanistic curriculum (great defender of humanistic studies)- Opponent of specialized vocational training. The school must train children to gain control over their natural impulses, not to submit to them (p. 32). The curriculum should take its cue from the great resources of civilization. > self-activity vs. psychological inquiry into child growth and development. It is the function of the curriculum to direct the development of self-activity in the interest of a “knowledge of truth, a love of the beautiful, a habit of doing the good.” (p. 32) + command of language in reading and writing. Suspicious of electives.o 5 windows of the soul: grammar, literature & art, mathematics, geography, history.• The FOUR major forces that determined the new American curriculum in the 20th century:1- The Liberal Humanists (Eliot, Harris…): power of reason + finest elements of Western cultural heritage (reinterpreting and preserving their revered traditions and values)• In the end, no victory, but compromise!!
=> For the systematic development of reasoning power and communication of the canon > of a select number of individuals (for the elite few!)
Those in the humanist camp saw themselves as "the guardians of an ancient tradition tied to the power of reason and the finest elements of the Western cultural heritage" (p. 27). They represented the most ideologically conservative position in education, with their staunch support of academic curricula rooted in classic Western European languages, literature, humanities, science, mathematics, and art.
2- The Developmentalists (Hall & Dewey): The curriculum should be reformed along the lines of a natural order of development in the child.*More accurate scientific data with respect to different stages of child and adolescent development + on nature of learning.Those occupying the more liberal developmentalist camp endorsed a more student-centered curriculum that is in harmony with children’s cognitive stages, personal interests, and needs. Knowledge, they believed, should unleash the "natural power" of each and every child (p. 28).
*A curriculum should be in harmony with child’s real interests, needs, and learning patterns. So, the function of education is the child.
The focus is the child!
3- The Social Efficiency Educators (Rice): Priorities lay in creating a coolly efficient, smoothly running society, performance of specific activities (were also imbued with the power of science).*The new technological society needed a far greater specialization of skills and a far greater differentiation in the curriculum.There were those who believed that schools should create a more efficient, smoothly running society. They championed social efficiency through the development of a scientifically constructed curriculum that functioned effectively in the preparation of children for adult roles and occupations.
Focus = on setting objectives and the organization of schooling to meet those objectives.
4- The Social Meliorists (Ward): Schools are the principal force for social change and social justice. > the curriculum needs to focus directly on the abuses in society (corruption and vice; inequalities of race and gender; abuse of privilege and power) so that the new generation can deal effectively with them.
The social meliorists viewed schools as major if not primary sites for initiating social change and ending social injustice. They were convinced that the power of curricular knowledge can, and should, be used to realize revolutionary visions for society.
http://rer.sagepub.com/cgi/content/full/77/1/4The humanist model can be paired with traditional authority, developmentalism with professional authority, and social meliorism with radical views of authority.
• Culture-epochs theory: associated with a scientific order of studies + integration of the curriculum > a curriculum comprising interrelated parts (p. 39).(Dewey > this is nonsense!)• Small: Educators shall not rate themselves as leaders of children, but as makers of society (p. 53).
• Dewey: Even at the highest levels of scholarship, neat demarcation among the various branches of knowledge may not be a good thing (p. 55). (He picked up after Hall)- The things that Dewey sought to promote through his curriculum were difficult to measure (p. 74).• Edward A. Ross: Social theory; social efficiency educators. (p. 77)
- Dewey: minimal role of the teacher.
• John Franklin Bobbit: efficiency-minded educators (p. 83)
• Thorndike: Those who have the most to begin with gain the most during the year! (p. 91)
• Vocational education: By 1917, it came to be regarded as an urgent necessity > subjects at the secondary level became infused with criteria drawn from vocational education. (p. 110) The rise to prominence of vocational education represented a triumph for the forces of social efficiency.
• Functionalism: Schools should serve the functions of society. (Functionalism vs developmentalism--interests of the child)
Reading 3- The Struggle for the American Curriculum by Herbert M. Kliebard
Chapters 6 to 10
• “Too much reflection, not enough action” (Rufus W. Stimson, 1914)—p. 131. More action and application are always needed… much more of them!
• F.E. Heald, a specialist in agricultural education: In describing the project, he emphasized the importance of pupil interest “at the outset” and “in which there is some problem more or less new…” > two of the most important characteristics (p. 132). These characteristics are still nowadays extremely important in education:1. Motivation is one of the most important factors in student learning (http://www.nadasisland.com/motivation/ )• The Massachusetts home-project plan: “In some cases, students actually earned money in connection with their home projects” p. 131. This is such a great idea!
2. Application to new problems is embedded in the higher order thinking skills in Bloom’s taxonomy which every teacher should aim for (http://www.nadasisland.com/goals-taxonomy.pdf )
“The Home Project included practical suggestions involving how records should be kept and a strong suggestion that a contract be signed by teacher, pupil, and parent setting forth the terms of the project and the level of achievement to be reached” —p. 132
• David Snedden (1916): The subject matter that comprises the curriculum is subdivided into convenient packages we call subjects, and “the primary purpose of making all these divisions and subdivisions is, of course, some form of efficiency:1. efficiency of organization,• William Heard Kilpatrick, 1917: Thinking = problem solving. “The primary purpose of thinking is to get out of a difficulty + to satisfy curiosity.” I believe that people naturally think to get out of a difficulty; so they do not need teachers and parents in order to enhance that. However, they do need teachers and parents to develop … not their thinking, but their curiosity, which would lead them to think.
2. efficiency of accessibility,
3. efficiency of mastery” p. 133.
• The activity or experience curriculum (by the 1930s): built on the importance of child and adolescent interests, their sense of purpose… and on activity (vs. passivity that characterized most school programs at that time).
• Bobbitt, 1926- p. 153: “Education is not primarily to prepare for life… Life cannot be prepared for, it can only be lived.”
[He is advocating that school should not primarily be about the future, rather it should focus on the present]
• Through the 30s, eclecticism in curriculum development continued as a major force alongside social reconstructionism (p. 186): ECLECTICISM is, in my opinion, the most efficient way of setting curricula and even of teaching!
• Dewey (1910), “How we Think.” The process of thinking: (back then!!) p. 2311- a felt difficulty
2- its location + definition
3- suggestion of possible solution
4- reasoning- development by reasoning of the bearings of the suggestion
5- further observation and experiment leading to its acceptance or rejection
Reading 4- Basic Principles of Curriculum & Instruction by Ralph W. Tyler- 1949
• The four fundamental questions which must be answered in developing any curriculum and plan of instruction are related to1. educational purposes/ objectives• What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. educational experiences
3. organizing those experiences
4. attaining those purposes=> The educational objectives become the criteria by which• How can learning experiences be selected to attain those objectives?
o Materials are selected
o Content is outlined
o Instructional procedures are developed
o Tests and exams are prepared*One would wonder here if there can be any effective and efficient teaching when no educational objectives have been devised prior to, not only teaching, but starting to prepare for that! We cannot forget that teaching is both an art and a science; so, no matter how gifted a teacher might be, there will be no effective learning without specific objectives (and here I would even add that those objectives should target higher order skills.=> The basic sources from which objectives can be derived:
o The progressive: the importance of studying the child’s interests, problems, purposes
o The essentialist: cultural heritage of the past
o Sociologists: analysis of contemporary society > knowledges, skills, attitudes that will help people to deal effectively with the critical problems of contemporary life
o Educational philosophers: values derived by comprehensive philosophic study > educational philosophy*It is great to learn about the different sources, but I would adopt Tyler’s point of view which is based on being eclectic while valuing each source. (p. 5)=> Methods that can be used in studying the learners:
o Teacher observations
o Student interview
o Records*This section reminds me of what I studied in the Instructional Design class about “Front-End Analysis to Identify Instructional Goals” which includes Needs Assessment whose components are: desired status, actual status, gap > need, and whose results are: description of need, evidence of its validity, possible solutions.
• How can learning experiences be organized for effective instruction?
- They should give the student an opportunity to practice the kind of behavior and to deal with the kind of content implied by the objective
- They must be such that the student obtains satisfaction from carrying on the behavior
- They should be appropriate to the student’s present attainments, predispositions > within their ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT (Vygotsky), which is so extremely important!!
- They should meet the various criteria of effective learning
- They should be useful in attaining several objectives.
There are 3 criteria to be met in building an effectively organized group of learning experiences:
• How can the effectiveness of learning experiences be evaluated?
- Continuity: no proper learning without practice!
- Sequence: for progressive development of understanding/skill/attitude, otherwise there will be no progress!
- Integration: students do need to see the relationship between the different facts/skills they are learning.
- 3 sets of appraisals: the first at an early point, the second at later points to identify changes, and the third after the instruction has been completed.
- Any valid evidence about behaviors that are desired as educational objectives provides an appropriate method of evaluation. (I highly recommend the use of rubrics)
Reading 5- Ideology & Curriculum by Michael W. Apple (2004)
- “Educational institutions provide one of the major mechanisms through which power is maintained and challenged.” This is so true, and we all need to keep it in mind, especially school principals and teachers!
- “A truly critical study of education needs to think critically about education’s relationship to economic, political, and cultural power.” Everything is interrelated! Besides, everything seems to be “about power!”
By the very nature of the institution, the educator is involved, whether he or she is conscious of it or not, in a political act! I guess I have always subconsciously known this fact, but my mind has kept on refusing it.
- The overt and covert knowledge taught in schools… how can this be controlled? And should it?
- The structuring of knowledge and symbol in our educational institutions is intimately related to the principles of social and cultural control in a society (Bernstein & Young)…
- Schools act as agents of cultural and ideological hegemony, as agents of selective tradition and of cultural “incorporation”… they help CREATE people! This is so huge… but so true… even if we teach inquiry, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis… there are still so many things that are “covertly” inculcated and are hard to change.
- Williams (p. 8): “We think of my money, my light… from this kind of thinking, the physical unbalance follows inevitably. Unless we achieve some realistic sense of community, our true standard of living will continue to be distorted…”
- “Where do I stand?” It is such an important question whose answer, I believe, will determine how and what I teach! But are all teachers aware of where they, themselves, actually stand?
- Louis Wirth: “The most important things … we can know about a man is what he takes for granted…” and this is exactly where the most hidden cultural differences lie!
- We need to examine critically not just “how a student acquires more knowledge”, but “why and how particular aspects of the collective culture are presented in school as objective, factual knowledge.” => Hidden curriculum!!
- Interpretations of the scope of ideology vary widely. 3 categories: (p. 18)* Specific rationalizations/justifications of the activities of particular and identifiable occupational groups- Antonio Gramsci: “A critical element in enhancing the ideological dominance of certain classes is the control of the knowledge preserving and producing institutions of a particular society.” We all know how powerful the media are in shaping society… and if we think that the people in the media gained their knowledge in particular schools in particular societies, we realize how even more important the acquisition of this knowledge is in enhancing ideological dominance.
* Broader political programs and social movements
* Comprehensive world-views, outlooks, or symbolic universes• How easy is it to determine a person’s ideology? A student’s ideology? Do they all have one? How important is legitimation? How important is it, especially for students, to be socially accepted?
- “We must acknowledge that the curriculum field has its roots in the soil of social control.” (p. 44) “This is not to say that social control is always undesirable.” ( p. 45) What is the real objective here? Is it organizing society in general or is it organizing it in a way that only suits a select few?
- “It is not the case that these ideological configurations have been constructed consciously. The very fact that they are hegemonic, and are aspects of our “whole body of practices, expectations, and ordinary understanding,” makes them even more difficult to deal with. They are difficult to question… they rest upon unarticulated assumptions…” So, how de we deal with that? Do we keep them the way they are? Can they be changed, altered? Are they appropriate? Who can judge that?
- 1st stage: be aware of assumptions
- 2nd stage: make them explicit and interrogate them
- 3rd stage: amend them if they are not tenable/defensible
Readings 6- Curriculum as Classed and Politicized Text (Pinar, Giroux, Molnar, Finn)
*Pinar: Understanding Curriculum (chapter 5: Understanding curriculum as political text)- Curriculum can only be grasped when viewed in context.*Giroux: Education Incorporated
- Political theorists view American society as rife with: poverty, homelessness, racism, political oppression. They do blame these problems on the economic system but also accuse schools of participating in this system of injustice and suffering. They call for an empowered citizenry capable of altering their circumstances in favor of a more just society.
- School & curriculum play important roles in oppression and reform.
- Reproduction theory: hidden curriculum = knowledge and behavior > discipline, personal demeanor, self-presentation, self-image, social class identification, hierarchical relations…
- The hidden curriculum posits a network of assumptions that, when internalized, establishes the boundaries of legitimacy. These assumptions are obligatory, since at no time are they articulated or questioned (p. 249). This is so crucial for any teacher to know and also try to explain to any new students who might not feel they “belong.”
- Ideology: way of viewing the world, ideas, social practices, rituals, representations accepted as natural/ common sense, customs, beliefs and values. It functions as a system carrying meanings and ideas that structure the unconscious of students (Giroux). > The ideas and cultures of the dominant class were argued to be the ideas and content of schooling. How fair is this? How can curriculum writers get away from it? Should they? “Only a critical stance offers any hope of undermining the reproductive force of ideology.” Although we should definitely teach critical thinking, should our objective be to actually “undermine the reproductive force of ideology?” Aren’t some aspects of ideology important to keep? How do we decide on what to keep and what not to?
- 4 types of social practice1. appropriative (goal = create useful projects)- Resistance = positive step for radical educators (Aronowitz, p. 253). Objective – contestation of power in the schools.
2. political (goal = transform social relations)
3. cultural (goal = transform the tools of discourse)
4. distributive (goal = alter the distribution of power and income)
- Goodman:1. The ideology of bourgeois individualism (which asks us to be self-sufficient, industrious, and materialistic) is isolating and conforming. Individualism is a construction of the power elites and elementary schools support and promote individualism. (p. 257)
2. The ideals of Dewey in building a critically democratic, participatory society have been misinterpreted or ignored.
3. Interdependence should be emphasized but not imposed; we do need to promote a moral agenda that accentuates community values, but we should also give a lot of importance to children’s individuality, self-confidence, and participation in their own education.
4. We should become aware of the modes of thinking… diversity… rules/power should be open to negotiation… avoid the dehumanization of bureaucracies.
5. Schools should be liberated from their isolation… contact each other; form networks, form alliances with university theorists.- Instead of preparing citizens who have critical capacities, knowledge, and values, schools are preparing consumers. They should not let commercial culture replace public culture and destroy civil society/democracy. As educators, we need to examine alternative models of education that challenge the corporatization of public schools (p. 122)*Molnar: What the Market Can’t Provide
- Education should be a force for social improvement, not for commercial investment. It is so sad to see commerce so present in schools nowadays (and mainly in higher education)! So, schools should be adequately funded so that they do not rely on corporate sponsorship and advertising revenues. School space and curriculums should not be commercialized.
- Schools should prioritize democratic community, citizen right, and the public good over market relations, narrow consumer demands, and corporate interests. And this should be reflected in all curricula.
- The financial inequities that haunt public schools should be addressed. Factors such as joblessness, poverty, racism, crumbling school structures, and unequal school funding should be addressed.
- Ethics, values, freedom, equality, respect, and justice, the once-cherished educational imperatives that enable democratic participation, social justice, and democratic relations should not be ignored.
- Schooling should enable students to involve themselves in the deepest problems of society, to acquire the knowledge, the skills and the ethical vocabulary necessary for ‘the richest possible participation in public life’ (Havel, 1998). Here is where the job of curriculum designers lies… devising rich curricula that reflect the problems of society. But then again we cannot but ask ourselves, “How much do we want our students to know?”
- Teachers should not be reduced to the role of technicians who simply implement prepackaged curriculums (p. 124). This is the most important thing in teaching nowadays: how much leeway do teachers have??
- We must analyze how power shapes knowledge, how teaching broader social values provides safeguards against turning citizenship skills into workplace-training skills….
- Education as a moral and political practice always presupposes a preparation for particular forms of social life, a particular vision of community, and a particular version of the future.
- Educators should promote economic justice and cultural diversity.
- The inequities in schooling should be solved.
- Schools should be responsive to the teachers, students, and communities that they serve.
- Educators should contest the growing tendency to subordinate democratic values to market values.- Facts: Lamar Alexander:*Finn: Class, Control, Language and Literacy (1999)
• Governor of Tennessee, President of Univ. of Tennessee, Pres. G. Bush’s secretary of education
• Interested in education reform
• Views on education and social policy = consensus between NEOCONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS and NEW DEMOCRATS
• Campaigner for the systemic restructuring of American public education > create a model innovative school in each congressional district
• As governor of Tennessee: class size reduction initiative
• “Political expedience and alliances required that he instead promote much less substantive but more market-oriented school reforms.”
t is so sad to see that he abandoned his class size reduction initiative because of political expedience and alliances!
- Class size reduction initiative: The benefits of reducing class size:- “A major motive behind school reform is to fend off the traditional role of the public schools in helping to redistribute POWER and ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY... these reforms have little to do with education... the logic that drives them would put American society and culture in the service of the market rather than the other way around” (p. 129). “Instead of the government structuring the marketplace to ensure the general welfare, the market is allowed to reshape governmental institutions to serve special interests (Paul Starr, p. 134).
more extracurricular activities > students more involved in own education > more active role in the classroom (pp. 127-128)
- A great project would be to find elaborate and accurate answers to the following questions:
• What do we know about successful educational practices?
• How do we ensure they are used as widely as possible?
• How do we go about making sure that all children have equal resources devoted to providing them with the highest quality education?
- Poor children have the least amount of money spent on them. Frank and Cook argue that it is much wiser to limit the rewards in ‘winner-take-all’ markets and redistribute the surplus to others who lack either the skill or talent to enter the competition. This is more efficient, more just, and is more likely to promote social stability and long-term well-being. (p. 135) => which would definitely lead to a win-win situation. This is what the rich do not understand!
- Market-oriented education is not to be recommended: it threatens to deliver the educational equivalent of ‘cheap’ gas by creating a structural framework to separate the interests of the educational haves from those of the educational have-nots. Besides, “since the market is concerned with buying and selling, it cannot represent the interests of the children.” It is the market that has to be in the service of American society and culture, not the other way around. It is the government that should structure the marketplace to ensure general welfare; the market should not be allowed to reshape governmental institutions to serve special interests.
- We should focus both on the ‘forest’ (equal educational practices for all children) and the ‘trees’ (individual schools):o What do we know about successful educational practices?- “Proposals such as autonomous districts threaten to carry public education back to the dark days.”
o How do we ensure they are used as widely as possible?
o How do we go about making sure that all children have equal resources devoted to providing them with the highest quality education?
o + Equitable division of resources
- If we need to hold kids/schools/educators accountable, then the performance standards on which people are judged need to be clear and uniform. (p. 135) Inequalities in the children’s lives and school resources should always be taken into consideration.
- When devising curricula, think twice about the hidden motives of the psychologists and researchers whose views we want to adopt.
- Spend money more equitably
- Instead of devising curricula that fill the market needs, devise curricula that would serve to bring the needed changes in the market.
- Make universal child care available on demand
- Devise comprehensive early education programs for every child
- Small classes taught in small schools close to home for elementary students
- Learning opportunities in a variety of settings for older children
- Year-round education and free access to training and education throughout life.- The working class = implicit language; the middle class = explicit language (also used in school > more successful).So, the poor are likely to feel powerless and be accustomed to a society where conformity is expected and where people are authoritarian > implicit language. The rich are likely to feel powerful and be accustomed to strangers / nonconformity/ collaborative authority > explicit language.- Habits of communication: conformity, authoritarian style, isolation, powerlessness…o Where conformity is expected, where sex roles are rigid, where opinions are dictated by group consensus, there is no need to explain one’s thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors. (p. 83) // Where a variety of opinions are expected, explicitness is required.- The working class suffers at school
o Authoritarian vs. collaborative styles of authority > encouraging implicit / explicit communication.
o Isolation > tend to rely on allusion to shared experience for communication.
o Prevailing attitude toward power in relation to the broader society. In communities where people feel powerless, they have very little necessity for using explicit language. However, in communities where people believe that what they know and believe counts, they do use explicit language.
These factors should be taken into consideration when devising any curriculum. If the students have an attitude of powerlessness, which texts/articles should we choose to slowly teach them otherwise?o Because they are used to implicit/context-dependent language + lack comfort in using explicit language
o Because of their authoritarian style of authority and attitude of powerlessness.
Reading 7- Curriculum as Racialized Text (1)
The White Architects of Black Education By William H. Watkins
“Education is an eminently social thing” (Durkheim, in Watkins, p. 9); “education is an eminently political thing” (p. 9). I am just curious about which effect is bigger on education: that of the society or that of politics? One can reason that without society, there are no politics. The opposite cannot be true since without politics there will still be a society. So, if we can say, education is the product of the society which, itself, manipulates the politics of a country. If we devise educational curricula that produce the society we aspire to have, then the politics within this society will be the way we would want them to be! Just as Molnar said that we should not let the market control the schools; schools should control the market; we can also say that we should not let politics control the society (hence the curriculum), the curriculum and society should themselves control politics.
- “Ideology is imparted subtly and made to appear as though its partisan views are part of the ‘natural order.’ The dominating ideology is a product of dominant power” (p. 9). Who decides on the natural order?? What is this natural order? How can it be deeply analyzed?
- “The dynamics of power… shape and construct education … politically and ideologically (p. 10) We are back to power! It is true: power shapes everything around us!
- “Critics… argued that philanthropists consciously identified schools as sensitive arenas where social ideology was transmitted… the philanthropists needed to propagate and reinforce a social ideology favorable to the corporate capitalist economy and culture” (p. 21). I do understand here that it is WRONG to impose or even reinforce an ideology… but who can really blame them? If they have a certain vision and need it to be implemented for the good of society, then they will strive to do everything ethically possible to do so. The main question is, then, is this ethical? Is this right? Do they gain personal profit from it??
- “Early philanthropists could be viewed as power brokers who were driven to intervene in the state’s marketplace of ideas” (p. 21)… I guess here is the answer to my question… power brokers!! Definitely negative connotation.
- “Politics was the noteworthy feature of educating Blacks after the civil war” (p. 22) Isn’t politics a noteworthy feature in educating Whites as well?? It seems to be at the source of everything!
- “Accommodationism dictated that Blacks accept the world the way it was. Existing race relations were part of the national order” (p. 23). Here Apple would argue endlessly against the “national order.”
- “The Black population had to be prepared ideologically and practically for their role in a new America.” In most instances, there is a fine line between what is acceptable and what is not. It would be useful here to draw that line in a new book.
- Four of the architects:
*Pinar: Understanding Curriculum (chapter 6: Understanding curriculum as racial text)
o This chapter has shaken me the way Apple’s book did!! Such strong statements and facts! Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, and Taubman put into words thoughts that many people have (at least in some hidden places deep in their souls) but dare not say.
o The American identity is fragmented (deformed by absences, denials, incompleteness!), so it is repressed and lacks full access to itself and the world! If this is true, then everything that is being taught in schools becomes inadequate, inappropriate, insufficient…! Then a whole curriculum revolution will need to take place!!! Have influential people read this book?? Has anything been done?? Isn’t immediate action needed? Am I being too naïve to think this can be done?
o “The American self-denied and repressed “acts out” repression via imperialism in foreign policy and political, economic, and cultural repression domestically” (p. 328). How?? Why? Is it true? How do we know?
o “The school curriculum communicates that which we CHOOSE to remember about our past and that which we CHOOSE to believe about the present” (p. 328). Who has the right to CHOOSE for all?? How did they get that right?? I do believe that the way we portray history (the past) determines the future of a country, of a whole population, to a very large extent. But since this world is so biased, since the people who write history have hidden agendas (at least most of them), then how can we trust this history? And if we don’t, then what can we trust? If we cannot trust anything, then why teach?
Solution: in order to be fair and devise proper and just curricula that represent everybody, then NO single group alone should decide on anything!! Educational leaders from the different groups/cultures/races that constitute this society MUST team up and have an equal say in what will be taught in schools! But then again, how do we make sure that this is not just done on the surface? We all know that the leader can have a great influence on the way things are done… so those who represent their groups/cultures/races should be very strong-minded people who know what they are doing and be aware of what giving in might mean for the whole population they represent.*Chan: Teacher experiences of culture in the curriculum & Barajas: Racialized space: Framing Latino and Latina Experience in Public Schools
o Let us face it, since parents also play a tremendous role in their kids’ lives, so a lot of work needs to be done on them as well (Chan p. 165 + Pinar p. 332).
o Here I feel challenged… If we go to any country in the world, we will definitely have to adapt to the prevailing culture there (Barajas, p. 1528 … about the dominant group). So, when people from all over the world come to our country, are they not supposed to adapt to our culture? Besides, who are teachers responsible for: the student or the parents? Who do teachers serve?? Do they owe their students the truth or are they supposed not to interfere between them and their parents?
*Pinar: Understanding Curriculum (chapter 7: Understanding curriculum as gender text)
o “The new curriculum theory focused on educational experience not as it was planned by technocrats, but rather as it is lived, embodied, and politically structured” (p. 358). After reading this sentence, we would think a lot of progress was made; however, if we think about it more deeply, we realize that the ‘as it is lived and embodied’ can create a lot of controversy: lived and embodied according to whom? Even if we have eliminated ‘technocrats,’ the REST of the people still have a lot of biases and preconceptions.*Grumet: Feminism and curriculum
o “Female teachers would civilize the classrooms and add a maternal and moral dimension to teaching” (p. 360). Well, here, being a female myself, I cannot disagree. But still, I believe it is unfair to say that ONLY female teachers can do that!
o “Harris argued that coeducation was healthy for both sexes, since it balanced their opposite temperaments and softened their complementary differences” (p. 361). This is unquestionably true; but is it enough?
o “The gender system that forms and deforms us” (p. 403)!! It does, unfortunately! I wonder what happened to moderation!! First everything is male; then comes feminism, and everything is female; then now males want to take back what they had! Isn’t there any world in between where males and females coexist with equality? This world is so big that there is a place for everyone in it. Where is win/win that is at the core of everything? Total paradigm shifts are lethal! Let us never forget that win/lose generates nothing but lose for both parties! We should just pinpoint mistakes and remedy them, not make similar mistakes of the opposite kind.
o Playing soccer (pp. 184-185)! Are we improving the conditions of women just by proving we can play soccer as well as men?? Is this how we measure the woman’s condition, her success? Of course women can play soccer, can be mechanics, can do all kinds of men’s jobs; but should this be their objective? Why not focus positively on the differences between the sexes and each sex generally does (without being stereotyped, if possible) what it does best! When women’s objective becomes to do something just because men do it, this is just like being conditioned to do it, which is so demeaning for women! (Equality does not mean sameness-- Dr. Green)*Martino: Boys, schooling and masculinities
o “Curriculum was the name for a world that was ordered, predictable, rather than one that would surprise us constantly” (p. 187): and this is why it is just a curriculum! The teacher is the one supposed to manipulate it wisely so as to surprise and fascinate students. And teachers are diverse, which we will never be able to change.
o “The ‘Right’ way to educate boys”! Back to this! Amazing! This is the price the world is paying for feminism gone bad; exaggerated! Again, MODERATION!! Both are our kids: boys and girls. We love them both equally; we are supposed to do what is in the best interests of both! No taking sides! Win/Win!
o How true is Jean de la Fontaine’s « La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure » (idiomatic translation: Might is always right; literal translation: the motive of the strongest/the most powerful is always the best)? Who is « the strongest » in real life? Is he/she the one who belongs to the biggest number of…? Does the number play any role in being the strongest or weakest? I do believe it does; whether it is right or wrong, this is another issue. If number plays a big role in life, then it goes without saying that those who belong to the biggest number of people in any society will form the “normal, natural.” So, can we really “redefine family” (p. 152)? Can we really redefine “normalcy?” I think it might be possible, but definitely not in the short run: only when the biggest number of people change the way they think.*Sumara & Davis: Interrupting Heteronormativity
o In the meantime, the most important thing, I believe, is to preach tolerance and acceptamce of the other, no matter who this other is. Accepting difference is the most crucial.
o “What makes something thinkable?” (p. 156): this reminds me of Apple: think outside the box; question your motives, the way you think, what you stand for and why!
o “.. the trajectory of sexual identification in adulthood could not be predicted by one’s childhood experiences” (p. 194): could this mean that sexual orientation is not innate, but acquired? Can it be based on all our lived experiences (within our family, with our friends/classmates, at school…)? There are some cases that might disprove that... or maybe we should not generalize.*Fine: Sexuality Education and Desire
o “Gay men can be just as sexist as straight men” (p. 194): all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, can be (I do not have evidence to say “are”) sexist.
o “… access to knowledge is exciting… but also exceedingly painful, as he is not only forced to reconsider what he knows, , he is compelled to reinterpret past relations…” (p. 198): and this is what these readings are doing to us (?), but to a lesser extent, of course!
o “’Normal’ and ‘heterosexual’ are understood as synonymous” (p. 202): so, we can infer what the normal definition of family is; and here, might and number also play a huge role. Besides, no one can deny the fact that a man and a woman can have children “normally,” without the intervention of science or a third party; two people of the same sex cannot. This does not mean, however, that other kinds of family should be discriminated against! Again, acceptance is key.
o Teaching/preaching abstinence ONLY (p. 305): it is definitely a violation of human rights and a betrayal of our next generation! We should teach both abstinence and sexuality education so that, in case our kids/students fail to comply with abstinence, they can at least make informed decisions, be cautious and avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
o "When we asked, 'What do you need in the way of sexuality education?' young people were clear: 'More conversations like this, where we're asked what we think, what we want to know'" (p. 326): CONVERSATIONS are crucial!
o “I also hear complaints that their priority as teachers is to teach their subjects, to meet the required standards within the ‘core disciplines’ …” (p. 3). The teacher’s role can never be limited to just “teaching their subject;” a teacher’s role goes way beyond that, as both H. Ginott (http://www.nadasisland.com/givetime.htm) and James Metcalf (http://www.appleseeds.org/teach_2.htm) put it so well.*Asher: Made in the (Multicultural) U.S.A.: Unpacking Tensions of Race, Culture, Gender, and Sexuality in Education
o “This lack of authorial voice implies that the account being told is objective and impartial … that ‘history’ consists of facts, not readings or interpretations of events; and given the selective inclusion and exclusion of materials, it colludes in the privileging of hegemonic versions of history” (P. 4). What to teach in history is quite a dilemma. We all know that what is written in history books can barely be considered objective. Here, we go back to the notion of power: those who are in power at a certain period of time are the ones that influence history books. So, those history books are hegemonic versions! But what can we do to remedy this?? Very little, I guess, since power does seem to define everything! Can we challenge those in power? Can we win? Who ‘can’ do that? Again, money plays a huge role: who finances the publication of history books? So, those with no power are not usually represented in history books. Can they ever be?
o “Even if all differences could be named and included, the very act of naming and including difference could operate in contradictory ways” (p. 5). It goes without saying that, no matter who you are, if you belong to the majority, you are automatically privileged; and if you belong to the minority, you are not. Majority, then, is equal to power. So, with this in mind, how much does it really help to include difference in the curriculum? How would those who are different and hence belong to the minority feel? We, as curriculum designers and teachers, should be extremely careful about what we add to the curriculum and how this addition would affect the minority: would it help them or just highlight their difference?
o “Haraway (1988), however, reminds us that knowledge is always partial and situated, shaped by social situations and personal identities that always color the lens through which we come to know” (p. 6). This is, unfortunately, so true. So, knowledge is definitely relative. Is what we know the real truth? We should, as Apple says, always question our knowledge, our beliefs, and what we stand for.
o From the “don’t ask, don’t tell” to the “do ask, do tell!” We do need to “move toward explicitly ‘affirming diversity’” (p. 71). Just as it is preached everywhere to affirm others (especially when we, ourselves, have not received any affirmation) to compensate our lack of affirmation, it is time to affirm diversity! This will also help us in the process.
Relevant Presentation- by Dr. Colin Green:
Towards Becoming Socially Just Teacher Educators
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Curriculum Theory: Notes & Reflections
Analysis of the Role of Teachers as Articulated in Kliebard, Tyler, and Apple Texts
The ESL Reading Curriculum: New Lenses
Education, One of the Impossible Professions
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in Curriculum Theory: Why EQ Skills should be Incorporated in Teacher Education/Training
Integrating Technology in the Classroom- TPACK
Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educators
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