Mixed images and merging semantics in European curricula

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Abstract:

Due to European agreements and policy expectations, national authorities are revising their formal curricula in line with an evidence-oriented policy. The article explores how new trends in formulating curricula can be regarded as an outcome of experts’ semantics and impact on education policy. The article reanalyses documentation from a project, where curricula were compared across countries according to their conceptualizations about schooling and reform. Throughout this project, we observed that curriculum documents merge professional semantics on the purposes, and content of schooling with a language formed by evidence-based policy on outcomes. To understand what the formal curricula express within contemporary policy, a research model is applied, which illustrates how semantics associated with curricula weight theory and evidence differently, all regarded as sources within curriculum making. From this point of view, the recognition or ignorance of schooling is dependent not only on political ideologies, as indicated in Tanners op-ed article, but on how experts provide semantics which might take professional-practical theories of schooling into regard.

Keywords: curriculum; education reform; educational policy; evidence-informed policy; professional semantics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.757807

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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