11 March, 2013

A Skeleton Outline of a Curriculum Theory

In his text titled Analyzing the Curriculum, Posner (2004) suggested that educators subscribe to an eclectic approach to curriculum - a try everything and see what sticks approach.  This post will outline an idea for a new curriculum theory that similarly borrows from aspects of other theories, but differs from Posner's (2004) suggested smattering of approaches to focus more on an evolutionary use of those theories. While this post is merely a skeleton from which a theory on curriculum could emerge, the articulation of the purpose statement and following premises provide insight into my thoughts on education from which to expand.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of curriculum is to increase individual stability within society while fostering individuality.  It includes an understanding of where the current society stands in reference to economy, justice, and morality.  It includes an understanding of where the current society came from in reference to history as it relates to civil rights and economy.  It includes understanding societies' proposed direction for continued growth and survival.

  • The point here is that individuals are products of society.  It remains the goal of the society to assure that the individuals produced [regardless of by birth or other means] becomes not only a consumer of that society but a contributor.  The greater the opportunity provided of the individual to choose how they wish to contribute to society, the greater the opportunity of the individual to find an inherent and self gratifying way to contribute to the society.

Premise 1

Essential to these understanding is schooling in Reading, Writing, Mathematics  and Reasoning & Logic.  These essentials should be taught without fault to students in primary grades.  Upon mastery of these essentials  students will also engage in additional introductory content courses that include - science, theology, psychology, sociology, and fine arts.  As students progress from primary to secondary school choices regarding service based content including firefighting, military, police, medicine, and teaching will also be available.
  • This premise borrows heavily from a traditionalist/essentialist back to basics curriculum theory.  However, once essential knowledge has been acquired by students  there is a quick transition to attend to a more experientialist approach.  The goal being to encourage not only intellectual and societal growth but also individual growth.

Premise 2

In secondary school students will have the opportunity to further hone their interests in areas that appeal to them and will be provided additional opportunities to expand their curricular interests through the introduction of identified skill sets needed for advancement within specific fields.   A heavy emphasis will be placed on society's current business models and include opportunities for students to explore research and development aspects for future business.
  • While this premise seems to remain experiential in nature, as students begin to identify what they will want to specialize in, initial instruction will return to an essentialist approach - similar to an apprentice type scenario - until students again possess the essential skills needed for manipulation and application of those skills within the greater spectrum of curriculum they are learning.

Posner, G.J. (2004). Analyzing the curriculum (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.