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Curriculum Theory
Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns

First Edition


September 2007 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Schiro (Boston College) has written a text that examines curriculum theory for experience and pre-service educators with the purpose of understanding educational philosohpies or ideologies that they are likely to encounter in their teaching."
H.B. Arnold, CHOICE

"The book provides readers with a clear, sympathetic and unbiased understanding of the four conflicting visions of curriculum that will enable them to more productively interact with educators who might hold different beliefs. The book stimulates readers to better understand their own beliefs and also to provide them with an understanding of alternate ways of thinking about the fundamental goals of education"
SIRREADALOT.ORG

"A much needed, insightful view of alternative curriculum orientations. This is an exceptionally written book that will be useful to teachers, curriculum workers, and school administrators."
—Marc Mahlios, University of Kansas

"Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns is a thought provoking text that invites self-analysis."
—Lars J. Helgeson, University of North Dakota

Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns presents a clear, unbiased, and rigorous description of the major curriculum philosophies that have influenced educators and schooling over the last century. Author Michael Stephen Schiro analyzes four educational visions—Scholar Academic, Social Efficiency, Learner Centered, and Social Reconstruction—to enable readers to reflect on their own educational beliefs and allow them to more productively interact with educators who might hold different beliefs.

Key Features

  • Provides a historical perspective on the origins of curriculum ideologies: The book places our current educational debates and issues in a historical context of enduring concerns.
  • Offers a model of how educational movements can be critically analyzed: Using a post-structuralist perspective, this model enables readers to more effectively contribute to the public debate about educational issues.
  • Pays careful attention to the way language is used by educators to give meaning to frequently unspoken assumptions: The text's examination helps readers better understand curricular disagreements that occur in schools.
  • Highlights the complexities of curriculum work in a social context: With an understanding of the ideological pressures exerted on them by society and colleagues, readers can put these pressures in perspective and maintain their own values, beliefs, and practices.

Intended Audience

This book is designed as a supplemental text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses such as Curriculum Theory, Introduction to Curriculum and Instruction, Curriculum Philosophy, and Curriculum Theory and Practice in the department of education.

Talk to the author! schiro@bc.edu

To visit the author's web site, please visit: http://www2.bc.edu/~schiro/sage.html.

 


 
Preface
 
1. Introduction to Curriculum Ideologies
Your Beliefs About Curriculum

 
The Curriculum Ideologies

 
Curriculum Workers

 
The Nature of the Curriculum Ideologies

 
 
2. Scholar Academic Ideology
Scholar Academic Curricula

 
Curriculum and the Disciplines

 
The Academic Disciplines

 
Curriculum Issues

 
Historical Context

 
Aims

 
Knowledge

 
The Child

 
Learning

 
Teaching

 
Evaluation

 
Concluding Perspective

 
 
3. Social Efficiency Ideology
A Scientific Technique of Curriculum Making

 
Programmed Curriculum and the Behavioral Engineer

 
The Analogy

 
Social Orientation

 
Objectives

 
Historical Context

 
Aims

 
Knowledge

 
Learning

 
The Child

 
Teaching

 
Evaluation

 
Concluding Perspective

 
 
4. Learner Centered Ideology
The Ideal School

 
Learners

 
The Growing Individual

 
The Learning Person

 
The Curriculum: Unit of Work Versus School Subject

 
Historical Context

 
Aims

 
The Child

 
Learning

 
Teaching

 
Knowledge

 
Evaluation

 
Concluding Perspective

 
 
5. Social Reconstruction Ideology
Highlander

 
Sixth-Grade Social Reconstruction Mathematics

 
Society and Reconstruction

 
Reconstruction Through Education

 
Historical Context

 
Aims

 
The Child

 
Learning

 
Teaching

 
Knowledge

 
Evaluation

 
Concluding Perspective

 
 
6. A Comparative Overview of Curriculum Ideologies
Comparative Summary

 
Other Parameters

 
Concluding Perspective

 
 
7. Individual Perspectives on Curriculum Ideologies
Curriculum Life Histories

 
Can People Believe in More Than One Ideology?

 
Why Do Educators Change Ideologies?

 
Concluding Perspective

 
 
Appendix: Curriculum Ideologies Inventory
 
References
 
Index
 
About the Author

"Provides readers with a clear, sympathetic and unbiased understanding of the four conflicting visions of curriculum that will enable them to more productively interact with educators who might hold different beliefs.  The book stimulates readers to better understand their own beliefs and also to provide them with an understanding of alternate ways of thinking about the fundamental goals of education" —SIRREADALOT.ORG

Savannah Jones
SirReadaLot.org

"Schiro (Boston College) has written a text that examines curriculum theory for experience and pre-service educators with the purpose of understanding educational philosohpies or ideologies that they are likely to encounter in their teaching."

H.B. Arnold
University of the Pacific
CHOICE

"Not only are the chapters extremely comprehensive, the organization of the book is extremely thoughtful and provides a variety of activities for the neophyte and experienced teacher."

Colin J. Marsh
Curtin University, Australia
Curriculum Perspectives

“This is the perfect book for both undergraduate and 'graduate' students of education and curriculum studies (yes, graduate students!). In fact, it is one of the best books I have read detailing the four main `ideologies' of curricula, namely, the Essentialist, the Social Efficiency, the Progressive, and the Social Reconstruction models of curriculum.

The back of the book contains the following quotation: "A clear, unbiased, and rigorous description of the major curriculum philosophies that have influenced educators and schooling over the last century..." It is all of this, and more!

(1) It is written to appeal to theorists (academics) and practitioners. Although it is a thorough and in-depth study of the ideologies, it is devoid of dense, academic jargon; the idiom is clear, direct, and accessible (all technical terminology is thoroughly explained). E.g., students and practitioners having difficulty with the convoluted writings of contemporary scholars of curriculum, will find this book a welcome change!

(2) It adopts a `historicist' approach to the presentation of its subject-matter, which means that the author defines and analyzes the various `ideologies' in light of their contextual emergence and importance. This book is not simply presenting `facts' for memorization; the positions `live,' as it were, as historical realities!

(3) It provides the rigorous foundational knowledge needed in order for students to truly grasp the writings of contemporary philosophers of education and curriculum studies, e.g., when juxtaposing these `ideologies' a student sees more clearly `why' it is that proponents of the `scholar academic ideology' are opposed to the `child-centered ideology.' This allows the student to situate the views of Adler and Dewey within a legitimate historical context, which emerge as a product of a particular ideological world-view, of which education and curriculum are inextricably a part.

If you're a curriculum planner, evaluator, advocate, developer, or burgeoning theorist, you must have this book! “

J.M. Magrini
Adjunct Professor Philosophy and Ethics, College of Dupage, USA

I've been teaching courses on curriculum for many years and see Schiro's Curriculum Theory as a valuable reading, in particular for my 4th year teacher education students. What I like in particular about the book, apart from the content itself, is how well the book is structured and organized.

Dr Anna Olafsdottir
Department of Education, University of Akureyri
June 21, 2015

A good book for teachers and students of education. Creative and innovative way of presenting and rather difficult and conflicting visions of curriculum.

Dr Seidu Salifu
Teacher Training, NESCOT
October 12, 2011

clearly describes the major curriculum philosophies which have infulenced the education system for many years

Mr Noel Ronan
Culinary Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
August 30, 2011

This text draws the curtain back and reveals what is going on behind the scenes in education, in a very readable and practical way. It makes very clear the comparison between different curriculum ideologies, presenting the information objectively. Anecdotal examples help the reader relate the theory to their practice and add interest. Titles of wide ranging additional relevant reading materials are provided. Really good to have the extension activities available online. My students really engaged with the realisation of the different ideologies that underlie what they are teaching, and some have described how this is impacting positively on their practice as they experiment with adapting their planning and delivery. They have become much more aware of their potential influence on their students when considering the different perspectives presented by Schiro. An excellent resource for trainee teachers.

Ms Maggie Young
Education, Isle of Man College
November 2, 2010

offers easy to follow categories on major movements in curriculum but the level is more suited for undergraduate or possibly M.Ed. not doctorate level.

Dr Alan Stoskopf
Education Dept, Northeastern University
November 24, 2009
Key features
  • presents readers with a clear, sympathetic, and unbiased perspective on the major curriculum philosophies (ideologies, viewpoints, or visions for schooling) that have exerted influence on American educators and schooling over the last century

  • stimulates readers to better understand their own beliefs while also providing them an understanding of the range of alternate ways of thinking about the fundamental goals of education.

  • helps educators to more effectively clarify and shape their own curriculum goals, as well as empower them to realize their goals as educators.

  • provides readers with a historical perspective on the origins of curriculum ideologies, major advocates of these ideologies over the last century, the ways in which historical circumstances can influence educational thought, and the ways in which these ideologies have evolved over the last hundred years into their current form.

  • place our current educational debates and issues in a historical context of enduring concerns.

  • provides readers with a model of how educational movements can be critically analyzed, and how they can critically analyze the main currents of curriculum thought influencing American educational practice today.

  • provides readers with a model for how to analyze and question their thoughts and those of their colleagues; official policy and agendas; and new curricular "fads" that are promoted by politicians, textbook salespersons, school-boards, curriculum consultants, and others attempting to influence schools.

  • enables readers to more effectively contribute to the public debate about educational issues.

  • pays careful attention to the way language is used by educators to give meaning to frequently unspoken assumptions.

  • indicates the way in which language can influence how we think about educational issues, the roles we conceive of ourselves as fulfilling when we instruct students or create curricula, and the power relationships we set in place among teachers and students.

  • helps readers better understand curricular disagreements that occur in schools, determine the ideologies and intentions of other educators, speak in the language of other educators while conveying their own meanings, and more effectively negotiate curriculum decisions with colleagues, curriculum committees, school boards, and their communities.

  • highlights the complexities of curriculum work in a social context in which ideological struggles dominate current educational discourse and in which educators are constantly pressured to act in accordance with a variety of conflicting ideological perspectives.

  • helps readers develop an understanding of the ideological pressures exerted on them by society and colleagues; this can help them put those pressures in perspective and maintain their own values, beliefs, and practices. 

  • illustrates how curriculum workers' philosophies can change over the span of their professional careers, and how the communities they work in can influence their curricular beliefs and practices.

  • enables readers to more easily accept changes in their own evolving curricular beliefs and pursue new curricular initiatives.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 7

Schiro Web Extension Activities


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