The curriculum artifact chosen for analysis is a teacher’s edition of a text. Through this artifact, it will be possible to discover some of the theoretical influences governing the curriculum. Additionally, it will be possible to outline certain political, legislative and social aspects of the curriculum. Lastly, an analysis of the curriculum artifact will be conducted against my values and recommendations given.
Summary of the artifact
This teacher’s edition is of a text written by William Pinar known as “What is curriculum theory” through the article, it is possible to understand this teacher’s viewpoints about the book. The author talks about Pinar’s method of dealing with curriculum theory claiming that the largest percentage of the book is an awakening to teachers about the current state of the curriculum and a call to them to carry out reforms in this area. (Carlson, 2005)
The article also talks about the themes addressed in the text. One of them is in relation to teaching gender crisis in the curriculum and the need to restore masculinity into curriculum practice. This can be achieved through the use of military training, competitive sports and other forms of physical fitness. The article is also insightful in noting how the issue of race within education is tackled; this is done by addressing some of the problems facing the current curriculum. Many black parents are facing a lot of problems in the current education system yet few of them are listened to. These problems are also similar to poor whites. Consequently, the teacher brings out the fact that the text was not very effective in arguing for problems among the black minorities because these problems are also prevalent among the poor whites.
The article also brings out some of the original curriculum thinkers such as Dewey. According to the book, there is a need for the present education system to free itself from the enslavement of technology. According to the text’s author, the more teachers depend of computer technologies alone, the more they turn themselves into machine-like-creatures. In the teacher’s comments, it can be seen that this view is neutralized by Pinar’s mention of the advantages that technologies can bring to curriculum implementation.
The article also discusses the role of the teacher in curriculum implementation. Pinar bring out the fact they are supposed to pay both a political and an autobiographical role. Besides this, the article is insightful in laying out some of the major problems facing teachers today with regard to curriculum reform. This is because curriculum theory is not taken seriously in the teaching profession as other interests of other stakeholders such as the school deans, principals and the school councils take precedence.
One theoretical influence is from well know curriculum author; Edward Said. The latter author has frequently discussed issues about the need to restore intellectualism in the curriculum. This is the reason why in the article, the author makes reference to discussions between students and teachers and giving room for skepticism. In Said’s book, he is quick to point out the fact that the American curriculum should encourage unthinking the colonial mentality. Educators need to view their current curriculum as outsiders while at the same time taking the time to understand why things are happening the way that they are inside. (Giroux and Shannon, 2000)
It is important to note that a large percentage of the article looks at the theoretical perspectives covered in the book. One of the most adversely mentioned ones is known as the psychoanalytic theory. In this theory, much emphasis is placed on the fact that one’s fantasies have a large part to play in one’s actions as they determine the. Also, it should be noted that these pre-conceived notions normally act as scapegoats. This is the reason why the latter author makes reference to the issue of suing scapegoats in the curriculum system. The author claims that a large percent of the public schools normally look for scapegoats for the poor performance of most public schools. The author claims that minority groups such as Blacks end up being the target of these psychoanalytic scapegoats as they are usually blamed for the flaws with the public education system. (Kohli, 2002)
In the book, much reference has been given to the issue of psychoanalytic theory in the curriculum. They claim that one Lacanian psychoanalytic theory needs to be made available in the curriculum. This means that Lacanian influences have a large part to play in the understanding of the article. It should be noted that the way the author tackles this theory is rather different from what is actually done by the real person.
This is because the largest percentage of the book is simple to understand. When looking at Lacanian writings, one may find it exceedingly difficult to place some of the writings in context as they tend to be every complicated.
In the article, the teacher mentions the word Currere severally. This notion is derived from ancient Greece. The Greeks defined the currere as a racing chariot or the tracks of this chariot. Consequently, when one thinks of the curriculum in this manner, then it is appropriate to assume that the curriculum is being treated as something that is transitional or something that changes with time. This idea has been an important one in the article and in the text being reviewed because the author talks about the need to change teacher mindsets about curriculum implementation.
The author talks about the need to involve students a little more in the education process. This means that the curriculum should not be regarded as a product. When the curriculum is treated as such, then chances are that one can get very minimal chances of understanding what is going on.
In this approach, a student usually starts by understanding nothing and then progresses into development. Usually, such an idea involves implementing the curriculum in several steps. For instance, one is required to assess the need of the student, thereafter, they are required to formulate objectives, and this is then followed by a selection of the content process. When one has finished doing this, then they are required to organize the content, select learning experiences, organize the latter and then evaluate. The problem with such an approach is that the student is left out of the process yet the latter are crucial in the curriculum. This is a view that the authors discourage and is the reason why they oppose the idea of adopting business models and practices laid out by education stakeholders. (Diggs, 2003)
One major influential force in the book was the treatment of the curriculum as a process. According to the author, it was necessary to root the curriculum in practice; he compared the curriculum to a cooking recipe. A recipe is usually imagined by a certain individual. Thereafter, the recipe is written down and then tried out. If the ingredients happen to blend together, then the recipe is then spread around to other cooks.
Similarly, the curriculum should contain some tentative ideas. These should then be tried about in practice and when they work, and then they should be adhered to. Also, the curriculum is similar to a recipe in that it can be varied to a certain extent to allow a certain variation in taste. Stenhouse was very explicitly trying to stay that the curriculum can be regarded as a method that allows the implementation of an education proposal.
A word of caution is necessary in treating the curriculum in the latter respects. This is because the responsibility for the curriculum rests on the quality of the teacher. If that teacher is capable of carrying out their duties, then chances are that they will do well. However, if that teacher is not, then students may fail. This is the reason why the article critic talks about the need for teachers to constantly improve themselves in order to make the latter method work for them
Another major influence in the article is with regard to the issue of the curriculum as a form of practice. In other words, the curriculum can be regarded as the method or the way which groups or people create their own understandings of issues or topic. This influence could be seen in the article; when the author talks about the needs of the minority groups such as the blacks and the Hispanics. (Carlson, 2002)
In the article, it is necessary for one to look into the kinds of environments that these groups come from so as to incorporate their experiences into curriculum practice. In this area of the curriculum as a form of practice, is necessary to look into the ways in which human values can be incorporated into teachings. Also, it is imperative for teachers to collaborate with one another in order to make the most of their respective situations.
The curriculum as a contextually shaped issue has also been very influential in the latter writings. There are certain concealed aspects that are normally called hidden curricula. In other words, social relationships have played a large role in influencing the writings in this article. When one talks about social relationships, they are merely referring to nature of the relationships between students and teachers, the manner in which classes are organized or the tracking process.
The hidden curriculum is usually not a positive one because most of the time, it serves the interests of special groups with influence. It serves to maintain things as they are instead of striving for change in the process. It should also be noted that these were all issues that were mentioned by the authors severely. In this teacher’s edition of the text, it can be found that most schools are battling with fighting off the status quo with many of them allowing little room for reform. This means that most of them have to tackle their problems as they are. Incorporating social aspects into learning is important in implementing the curriculum because of the following issues and their influence in the learning process.
· Power struggles
· Family dynamics
· Social structure
Social, political and legislative influences
The article is influenced by the political system of the day because there is a large reference to the fact that bureaucratic systems affect public schools. This is because teachers are required to implement their curriculum through business models. These business models are largely obtained from the national council; for the accreditation of teacher education. The major problem with this kind of bureaucracy is that there may be some reformers and most of them tend to be discouraged from making changes in the curriculum because of the latter phenomenon. (Giroux and Shannon, 2000)
The state has played a large role in laying out the steps that need to be implemented by teachers in the curriculum. However the author talks about the need for teachers to exercise freedom by being allowed to be intellectually independent.
One of the most important social influences that underlie the artifact is the adoption of current subjective and individualistic tendencies in curriculum theory. According to the author, it was necessary for teachers to be allowed to think for themselves. This is an aspect that is very present today in society. Many Americans are moving towards intellectualism which is usually self acquired. Consequently, teachers can do the same.
Another social factor that has influenced the writing is feminism. According to the writer, many teachers happen to fall in the female profession yet they rarely get a chance to lay out their grievances. Consequently, most of them end up being frustrated. This concept of disusing gender issues is prevalent in a range of literature.
In close to relation to the latter, is the fact that the latter talks about the feminization of most males. This means that a large percentage of American males rarely take part in competitive sports or military like activities. These are all ideas that have been adopted from other influential gender writers. (Giroux and Shannon, 2000)
In the nineteen sixties, the education curriculum underwent radical reform following inteference by the government of the day. At that time, the US was confronted with the possibility of war especially because the cold war was occurring. At that time, the US political class felt the need to reignite certain elements of masculinity into the American youth. Most of them felt that the American youth were becoming soft and that the education could eliminate these traits through rigorous training, the institution of military techniques among other things. This is the reason why gendered ideology because an important part of the curriculum back ten., these issues has been tackled well by the article’s author but it derives it influences form the nineteen sixties changes.
It should therefore be noted that the masculinity crisis being addressed in the book is not a problem that is exclusive to this decade alone. In fact, it is a mere reflection of the country’s past political influences in the sixties; the US was facing the threat of military superiority by members of the Soviet Union. Consequently, the curriculum was pathway to deal with this. Similarly, the curriculum is important today in addressing the threats of the current system
In the article, there is continuous reference to the aspect of race and education especially with reference to problems within the south and the north. According the author, North and South educationist are faced with totally different problems. This notion is derived from the country’s social system owing to the fact that the North tends to blame the south for its problems in other spheres of public life such a health etc. (Pinar, 2001)
Appropriateness of the curriculum against values
While the author was effective in laying out some of the major points discussed in Pinar’s book. It would have been advisable if the author discussed all different aspects of the curriculum as brought out in the text based on the four major concepts. For instance, it would have been plausible if the latter author had given more detail about the curriculum as a product, as a process, as practice and in context. These are all aspects that have been outlined in the latter portions of the essay.
All in all, the stance taken by the latter author about curriculum practice is quite enriching. This is because there is a lot of emphasis on the transient curriculum. Treating the curriculum as product that does not incorporate the students in the process may lead to so many problems in the implementation process. Consequently, one must look for ways in which they can affirm these social relationships. This is the reason why the author has been successful in discussing the curriculum.
This teacher’s edition of a text is very insightful in addressing some of the problems being faced today by a number of authors. The article reaffirms my opinions as an educator because they address all the issues that are imperative in the learning process.
Carlson, D. (2005): The Question concerning curriculum theory; Journal of the American Association for the advancement of Curriculum studies, 1, 3, 23
Carlson, D. (2002): Toward a new progressivism in American education and public life, Routledge, p 35
Diggs, B. (2003): Democratic education in the age of globalization; Journal of Curriculum Theorizing; 12, 3, 7-31
Kohli, W. (2002): Situated knowing: soul, body, and mind; Educational Studies, 33, 3, 261-276
Pinar, W. (2001): The gender of racial politics and education in America, New York, Peter Lang
Giroux, H. and Shannon, P. (2000): Education and cultural politics -Toward a performative practice, Routledge