What is curriculum theory?

At the moment I’m trying to do some professional reading every day. As with my writing, unless I create time, it doesn’t happen. Writing regular thoughts on what I’ve been reading helps create a discipline.

Today I’ve been reading the Preface of my first e-book, William Pinar’s second (and much revised) edition of What is curriculum theory?

Pinar is deeply worried about the state of educational discourse which, he says, has been appropriated and distorted by politicians, business and bureaucracies  so that curriculum is thought of as a thing to be dissected, studied and tested rather than as a process which he describes as “as complicated conversation, as communication informed by academic knowledge’.[1]

Necessary elements of this complicated conversation include:

  1. An understanding of the historical present: We have substituted endless commerce for public purpose
    … Test preparation is a $1 billion business, led by the Kaplan company, owned by The Washington Post, and the Princeton Review …  we live in a society populated by an estranged, aimless, petulant and juvenile outlook …
  2. Room for subjectivity: Expressing one’s subjectivity through academic knowledge is how one links the lived curriculum with the planned one, how one demonstrates to students that scholarship can speak to them, how in fact scholarship can enable them to speak.[2]
  3. Scholarship: ‘it is through academic knowledge, I am suggesting, that we find our way into the world’.

Lots here that matters. One of my particular current preoccupations is how to articulate the relationship of subjectivity to scholarship. I’m guessing Pinar is going to help me do this.

[1] Pinar, William F. (2011-08-08). What is Curriculum Theory? (Studies in Curriculum Theory Series) (Kindle Location 266). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition

[2] Kindle Locations 311-313

[3] Kindle Locations 307-308.


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