Curriculum Theory

Curriculum theory (CT) is an academic discipline devoted to examining and shaping educational curricula. Within the broad field of curriculum studies, CT includes both the historical analysis of curriculum and ways of viewing current educational curriculum and policy decisions. There are many different views of CT including those of Herbert Kliebard and Michael Stephen Schiro, among others.

Kliebard takes a more historical approach to examining the forces at work that shape the American curriculum, as he describes those forces between 1893 and 1958. Schiro takes a more philosophical approach as he examines the curriculum ideologies (or philosophies) that have influenced American curriculum thought and practice between ca 1890-2007. Kliebard discusses four curriculum groups that he calls humanist (or mental disciplinarians), social efficiency, developmentalist (or child study), and social meliorists. Schiro labels the philosophies of these groups the scholar academic ideology, social efficiency ideology, learner-centered ideology, and social reconstruction ideology.

One of the common criticism of curriculum of broadfield curriculum is that it lays more emphasis on mental discipline and education. "Mental disciplinarians" and Humanists believe in all students' abilities to develop mental reasoning and that education was not intended for social reform in itself but for the systematic development of reasoning power. Good reasoning power would lead to the betterment of society. Harris described the subjects to be taught as the “five windows” into the soul of the student: “grammar, literature and art, mathematics, geography, and history” and prescribed it in that order to be taught (Kliebard,2004,p. 15). Some critics view this group as having too much emphasis on the "classics" as determined by the dominant groups in a society (and particularly in history by the Committee of Five and Committee of Ten in the late 19th century), see also Western Cannon. In today's society this group is may be seen as having a cultural bias toward the upper class, as well as, the Caucasian majority in the United States.

Read more about Curriculum Theory:  Social Meliorism, John Dewey's Curriculum Theory, Social Efficiency Educators, Culturally and Ethnically Diverse Curriculum, Developmentalism

Other articles related to "curriculum theory, curriculum":

Education Theory - Descriptive Theories of Education - Curriculum Theory
... Descriptive theories of curriculum explain how curricula "benefit or harm all publics it touches" ... One descriptive concept from curriculum theory is that of the hidden curriculum, which is “some of the outcomes or by-products of schools or of non-school settings, particularly those states which are learned but ...
Curriculum Theory - Developmentalism
... Developmentalists focus attention to the development of children's emotional and behavioral qualities ... One part of this view is using the characteristics of children and youth as the source of the curriculum ...

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