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Curriculum Ideologies lecture 1. Dr. Douglas Fleming Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. There are four basic orientations (or ideologies) in regards to general education curricula: Scholar/ Academic Social Efficiency Learner Centered Social Reconstruction Schiro (2008).

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curriculum ideologies lecture 1

Curriculum Ideologieslecture 1

Dr. Douglas Fleming

Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

There are four basic orientations (or ideologies) in regards to general education curricula:
  • Scholar/ Academic
  • Social Efficiency
  • Learner Centered
  • Social Reconstruction

Schiro (2008)

Scholar/ Academic Ideology
  • often called ‘rationalist’, ‘traditional’, ‘knowledge-centered’, ‘intellectual’ or ‘canon-centered’.
  • the purpose of education is to impart accumulated knowledge from culture and tradition
  • knowledge is constructed by academic disciplines: hierarchically-based communities searching for objective truths
  • curricula are constructed in ways that impart these truths to a new generation of students
all students should be exposed to disciplinary knowledge regardless of their vocational goals
  • an important prerequisite for participatory citizenship, critical thinking and social cohesion
  • often popular in times of political crisis
  • associated with Lester Ward, Charles Eliot, W.E. DuBois, E.D. Hirsch, and Allan Bloom
  • basis of current disciplinary models of secondary school curricula
students are being initiated into disciplinary knowledge
  • imparting the basic tenants of the pertinent field
  • but, this is not a matter of inculcating encyclopedic knowledge
  • students should think and behave like novice members of a discipline
  • “participate in the process that makes possible the establishment of knowledge” (Bruner, 1966, p.72).
Social Efficiency Ideology
  • often called ‘technological’’, ‘social behaviorist’, or ‘systems-based’.
  • the purpose of education is to develop people who are educated and trained for the needs of society or a specific milieu
  • curricula designed to achieve clearly defined concrete and measurable terminal objectives that are determined systematically and through scientifically-based procedures
students learn by doing
  • the focus of instruction is on the mastery of skills and behaviors through practice
  • learning occurs in terms of cause/ effect and stimulus/ response
  • instruction is geared towards specific work or home related purposes
  • there is no need for all students to learn a uniform basic body of knowledge as a prerequisite for more advanced training
the selection and sequencing of instructional content is key
  • steps:
    • define appropriate learning objectives;
    • establish useful learning experiences;
    • organize learning experiences to have a maximum cumulative effect;
    • evaluate and revise the curriculum.
  • stress on accountability to stakeholders
  • associated with Franklin Bobbitt, Ralph Tyler and B.F. Skinner
Learner-Centered Ideology
  • often called ‘progressive’, ‘experiential’, ‘child study’, ‘self-actualization’ or ‘humanist’.
  • the purpose of education is to meet the needs of individuals so that they can grow in harmony with their own unique talents, skills and desires.
  • curricula are designed to expose students to contexts and influences that will stimulate growth and the construction of unique forms of meaning.
all students are unique
  • pedagogy is centered on the vision of an ideal school which emphasizes first-hand experience, play, experimentation, and hands-on activities.
  • activities often have a focus that extends beyond the wall of the school
  • active democratic citizenship is emphasized
  • associated with John Dewey, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Howard Gardner, Fredrich Froebel, G. Stanley Hall and Francis Parker
students are encouraged to become autonomous learners
  • learners are whole people engaged in the construction of meaning (constructivism)
  • learning occurs in stages and is done through many different types of styles
  • teachers are generalists, facilitators, diagnosticians and providers of learning environments
  • “a child’s own instincts… furnish the starting point for all education” (Dewey, 1897, p.77).
Social Reconstruction Ideology
  • often called ‘critical’, or ‘society-centered’.
  • the purpose of education is to help create a more just society.
  • based on an analysis of society as being rife with crisis and inequalities based on problematic constructions of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class.
  • curricula are designed to foster a commitment to societal change that addresses the above inequalities.
knowledge is socially constructed through experience
  • people shape their viewpoints through experiences in cultural practices and in the context of societal crisis
  • pedagogy is centered on the vision of an ideal society
  • associated with Lester Frank Ward, A. S. Neill, Ivan Illich, John Dewey, Miles Horton, Paulo Freire, Neil Postman and Charles Weingarten.
students should reevaluate their assumptions and viewpoints so that they become committed to societal change
  • activities within school should lead to actions outside of school
  • teachers have a collegial relationship with their students
  • “There is no such thing as teachers and students, but teacher/students and student/teachers ” (Freire, 1970, p.67).