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Curriculum Thoughts Last Day

Page history last edited by David Shutkin 12 years, 10 months ago


We have identified so many issues, problems in curriculum and the experiences of being in schools as teachers and/or as students. Of course, I often think of teachers unions and powers in numbers.  Is it ironic or strategic then that this is exactly the focus of the current attack on teachers and other public servants?


Reading the summary of Slattery's book I realize that the major distinction that organizes the book is between currere and curriculum. With this distinction, curriculum studies discloses the possibility of discussing classroom issues of bullying and LGBT, gender and class.  How are these experienced in the class as children and teachers struggle to enact the curriculum? As a teacher, what is the narrative of your autobiographical journey of coming to know the curriculum in your class?


There is more as Slattery explores:


  • Interrupting the Behavioral, the rote, the hierarchical, the value-neutral curriculum, the competitive...
  • Meaning is something that we make, not something that we find.  To do this requires us to bring ourselves to school!  All of us
  • The Duration:  Relation of past to the present, it is the proleptic.
  • A dialectic of local and global;
  • Justice, Compassion, Sustainability


Of course curriculum also refers to what is legitimate knowledge to be known in school by children.  And they have a right to ask, "why do I need to know this?"  And you have a responsibility to answer them sincerely, authentically.  Whether the issue is the struggle between phonics and whole language, Newton and Einstein or whether or not Columbus discovered America, curriculum studies is also about the politics of knowledge. Whose knowledge, what perspectives; how are alternative or contradictory perspectives to be included or excluded? Whither the textbook? Texas, California and beyond?  There is no beyond?  Whose master narrative or regime of truth is to determine what is true with a capital "T"?


What is beyond? Are we to have a national curriculum?  Are we to control further the work of teachers?  What about the accountability movement? How does this relate to curriculum?  If we are to prepare students for the test and we agree that currere is curriculum then the difference between drilling students using Study Island day after day, and engaging students in inquiry oriented or place based educational contexts is a difference that makes a curricular difference and we could even conclude an educational difference as there is much learning in the form of our pedagogy as there is in the content.  Can we actually distinguish these?


Yet, there is a dissonance between Slattery's postmodern ideas and current reality of much of schooling.  But even worse, there is no strategic interruption.  We don't even get this from Apple and for this I am sorry.  What does it mean to have agency as a teacher in the 21st century?  As a teacher, what do you do, what can you do, what more can you do to affect curricular change?  Strategically, curriculum development in the postmodern era must answer this question.


My sense of the problematic is to contend with what I can, to change what I can.  To pursue justice, to be compassionate and graceful But what about sustainability; is this just about green things?  What do you want to sustain?  What is worth sustaining?  What fire is worth building, worth sustaining, even when there is too much wind or not enough wind.  When all the wood is gone, when it is 100 degrees outside who wants to stay warm then? What fire is worth sustaining when no one else will help or when no one else is there


Each of your projects for this course addresses something about which you have expressed passion. Take a few minutes to relate your project to your own sense of agency: What do you want to build/create in the field of education?  How big do you want to build it? How do you envision keeping it going?  Who is there to help you? Take a few moments to reflect and write about this current research project and your sense of agency as an educator in the world.



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