Rethinking school curriculum and social change

Rethinking school curriculum and social change

Author: 
Dr. Vikramendra Kumar
Abstract: 

Contemporary discourse about curriculum includes recognition that curricula can be analyzed at many levels and from many positions. ‘By curriculum I mean what students have an opportunity to learn in school, through both the hidden and overt curriculum and what they do not have an opportunity to learn because certain matters were not included in the curriculum’. Nevertheless, the value of the term ‘hidden curriculum’ is that it draws attention to interpretations that have received little recognition in explicit curriculum discourse and which may serve as alternatives to the ‘preferred meanings’. Differences in outcome are expected but are viewed as the inevitable result of variations in ability and motivation. The belief is that the system is fair as long as equal opportunity is guaranteed. However, critics have suggested that beneath the ‘façade of meritocracy’ lies a system which reproduces and legitimates existing economic inequalities (Bowles and Gintis, 1976, p. 103). Others, while sharing a concern about the political dimensions of education, have cautioned against a deterministic view of education which ignores the contradictions and contestation which occur within the school (Apple, 1982). A more complete understanding of how ideologies work in schools requires examination of day-to-day school life (Apple and Weis, 1983). The central themes of this paper will not be dictated by the alleged boundaries between ‘foundational’ disciplines in education, nor by an unexamined division of the tasks of education and educational research between ‘practitioners’ and ‘theorists’, or between ‘practitioners’ and ‘policy-makers’. On the contrary, one of the tasks is to demonstrate, through careful research and scholarship across a range of fields of practical, political and theoretical endeavor, just how outmoded, unproductive, and ultimately destructive these divisions are both for education and for educational research. These are enduring themes in this paper touching upon some of the central questions confronting our contemporary culture and, some would say, upon the central pathologies of contemporary society.

Paper No: 
1894