Category Archives: Curriculum Theory

Conceptions of Curriculum — Diagram

Earlier today people were apparently doing searches for my diagram of the classic definition of “curriculum” derived from Bobbitt. Their searches were taking them to  , where they did not find what they were looking for. That post does, however, include a link to the page where the diagram is linked from a smaller […]

Curriculum Consciousness and ‘Education Sciences’: trees, forest, woods

What is the relationship between the curriculum consciousness formed in Curriculum Studies, and the positive findings of the (other?) Education Sciences? Here’s one thought: However valuable the findings of the positive sciences in education may be as assisting us in seeing both the trees, and the forest, it is in curriculum consciousness that we are […]

Silhouettes of knowing as “Potemkin knowledges”

In a 2007 article,* I discussed how our prevailing approach to education results in the production of mere silhouettes in place of genuine knowing and understanding. Rhetorically, there might be some good occasion for referring to such things as “Potemkin knowledges,” analogous to the old “Potemkin Villages.” This fragmentary thought is hardly worthy of a blog […]

Presentation by Dr. Yong Zhao, Confucius Institute at Michigan State University

Here’s a presentation by Dr. Yong Zhao, from Michigan State University (Thanks for this link to Ana Marjanovic-Shane, who writes, “The video is very long — almost 3 hours but it is worth watching — especially the second part,” in its consideration of “education, creativity, art and play in education [discussed in] a very important […]

The “What’s worthwhile?” question in Curriculum Studies

The key curriculum question in the United States – what knowledge is of most worth – is not a quiet question. It is a call to arms; it is a call to contemplation; it is a call to complicated conversation. It is our uniquely vocational call. For those who aspire to work within the vocation […]

TX Ed Agency defense in evolution case

The Texas Education Agency [TEA] has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Chris Comer, who lost her job as the TEA’s top science education specialist after forwarding an email announcement of a talk by Barbara Forrest. ‘a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, a co-author of “Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse” and […]

¿ against teaching the controversies (or “strengths and weaknesses”) ?

While the ridicule is well deserved, I want to take exception to something possibly implied in Curmudgeon’s response, where he says that “High school students don’t know how to reach ‘their own conclusions’ about science. That’s why they’re in school! That’s why we call them students! “

Curriculum … also not just “Le programme d’études”

The previous post complains that Curriculum is not just “el plan de estudios,” despite the mechanical translation by the Google translator. It turns out that the same problem appears in Google’s French translations of “curriculum.” Although the title, at least, is translated from What is curriculum? — Some Observations by Maxine Greene to Quel est […]

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? […]

Discourses, genres, and other “form fields”

From physics, we know about magnetic fields, gravitational fields, electrical fields, and other fields of physical force. If curriculum is the semiosic activity or course of experience in which human being comes to form, then curriculum theory and curriculum studies must be concerned with the fields of semiosic forms guiding the formation of human persons, […]

Curriculum Consciousness and Brown v. Board of Education

Earlier posts here have considered how curriculum is understood as involving more than just the kind of “course of study” for which the word “curriculum” is often used. The consequences of this broader understanding can be seen in the testimony of Dr. Hugh W. Speer, chairman of the Department of Education at the University of Kansas City, in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

Does chewing gum make students smarter?

You can’t make this stuff up. My soon-to-appear “Education à la Silhouette: The Need for Semiotically-Informed Curriculum Consciousness.” Semiotica 164, no. 1/4 (2007): pp. 235-329.) begins with a brief excerpt from the NBC Today show in which test scores are equated with “smartness” (see below), in a story on “Two recent studies [that] show chewing […]

Kenneth Burke, identity / identification, Activity Theory

While I’m at it with Kenneth Burke, here’s another favorite passage , on “identification,” illustrated with a provocative, if not downright disturbing, classroom scenario. Included in the two pages linked above, Burke writes:

Kenneth Burke on the unending conversation

In The Philosophy of Literary Form (three pages linked here), Kenneth Burke writes In equating “dramatic” with “dialectic,” we automatically have also our perspective for the analysis of history, which is a “dramatic” process, involving dialectical oppositions. (p. 109) We might consider how this also applies to the analysis of curriculum. Burke writes: 

Curriculum & the post-(cognitivist) synthesis

If “cognitivism” is an ideology that represents learning and understanding as matters that can be understood, in a reductive way, as being, in their essence, just matters of “cognition,” it does not follow that advancing beyond cognitivism would mean taking up a newer ideology of “postcognitivism.”

“Conceptions of Curriculum”

A short pdf document (just over one page) on “What is Curriculum” can be found on the website of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) in London. It begins by noting: As with most things in education, there is no agreed definition of ‘curriculum’, although it is generally agreed that ‘curriculum’ is not […]

constructivism v. postpositivism

I am very interested in the general question of constructivism v. postpositivism, however, and I have a paper coming out soon that the reader would be interested in, I think. It should be published sometime this spring, and the citation will be: Whitson, James Anthony. “Education À La Silhouette: The Need for Semiotically-Informed Curriculum Consciousness.” Semiotica 164, no. 1/4 (2007): 235-329.