Curriculum: ¡ not just “el plan de estudios” !

Today somebody used the Google translator to get a Spanish translation of the blog post here on Journey, Map, or Territory? (some observations by John Dewey).

I was curious to see the translation. When I did, I saw the link to the previous post, with the title translated as

¿Qué es el plan de estudios? — Algunas observaciones de Maxine Greene

The actual title, in English, is

What is curriculum? — Some Observations by Maxine Greene

I noticed then that the description under Tony’s curricublog at the top of each page is “Tony Whitson’s blog plan de estudios en cuestiones relacionadas con el,” mechanically translated from “Tony Whitson’s blog on curriculum-related matters.”

The translated page on Dewey kept the word “curriculum” where it appears in quotation marks in the original English, such as

Informada por el significado de la raíz latina currere, entendemos “curriculum” como el curso de la experiencia humana en la que la formación del ser humano se lleva a cabo (en la que los seres humanos (s) de “tomar (s) de forma”, es decir, no sólo como individuos, sino también en la formación de las instituciones humanas, las prácticas, culturas y sociedades).

Pero la palabra “curriculum” se usa a menudo en el discurso público en general en el sentido de referirse a los planes oficiales y documentos impresos, que establecen el alcance y la secuencia de lo que los estudiantes en las escuelas se supone que deben aprender.

translated from

Informed by the meaning of the Latin root currere, we understand “curriculum” as the course of human experience in which the formation of human being takes place (in which human being(s) “take(s) form,” that is, not only as individuals, but also in the formation of human institutions, practices, cultures, and societies).

But the word “curriculum” is often used in general public discourse as referring to official plans and printed documents, which lay out the scope and sequence of what students in schools are supposed to learn.

A Spanish reader could work with that. The Maxine Greene post becomes nonsense, though, when “el plan de estudios” is substituted for the word “curriculum,” where it was used not in quotation marks. Greene is quoted, for example, saying:

Plan de estudios, desde el punto de vista del alumno, que generalmente representa poco más que un arreglo de temas, una estructura de conocimientos socialmente prescrito, o un sistema complejo de significados que puede o no entran dentro de su alcance. … Sartre dice que “a sabiendas es un momento de la praxis”, en la apertura de “lo que aún no ha sido.” * Preocupado con las prioridades, los objetivos, los programas de “la intención de aprendizaje” * y la intención (o no) la manipulación, prestamos muy poca atención a la persona en búsqueda de su propio futuro, se empeñan en superar lo que no es más que “dada”, a romper a través de lo cotidiano. Estamos todavía demasiado propensos a dichotomize: a pensar en “disciplinas” o “tradiciones público” o “sabiduría acumulada” o “cultura común” (a pesar de individualización) de la forma más objetiva existente, ajena a la conocedor de que se descubrió, masterizado, adquirida.

Where the actual quotation is

Curriculum, from the learner’s standpoint, ordinarily represents little more than an arrangement of subjects, a structure of socially prescribed knowledge, or a complex system of meanings which may or may not fall within his grasp. … Sartre says that “knowing is a moment of praxis,” opening into “what has not yet been.“* Preoccupied with priorities, purposes, programs of “intended learning”* and intended (or unintended) manipulation, we pay too little attention to the individual in quest of his own future, bent on surpassing what is merely “given,” on breaking through the everyday. We are still too prone to dichotomize: to think of “disciplines” or “public traditions” or “accumulated wisdom” or “common culture” (individualization despite) as objectively existent, external to the knower—there to be discovered, mastered, learned.

At least (somehow) the title of Greene’s article, “Curriculum and Consciousness” was preserved as “Curriculum y Conciencia” — not “”El Plan de Estudios y Conciencia”!

I think this shows the need to promote an international and multilingual language of curriculum, as it really is, and as it’s understood by scholars in Curriculum Theory.

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2 Comments

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  2. Posted August 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

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