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The practical: a language for curriculum

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The field of curriculum by inveterate, unexamined, and mistaken reliance on theory has led to incoherence of curriculum and failure and discontinuity in actual schooling because theoretical constructions are ill-fitted and inappropriate to problems of actual teaching and learning. There are three major incompetencies of theory: failure of scope, the vice of abstraction and radical plurality. A renascence of the field of curriculum will occur only if curriculum energies are diverted from theoretic pursuits to three other modes of operation: the practical, the quasi-practical and the eclectic. The practical mode differs from the theoretic in many aspects: its outcome is a decision. Its subject matter is always something taken as concrete and particular and treated as indefinitely susceptible to circumstance. Its problems arise from states of affairs. Its method, ‘deliberation’, is not linear but complex, fluid and transactional aimed at identification of the desirable and at either attainment of the desired or alteration of desires. The quasi-practical is an extension of the practical methods and purposes to subject matters of increasing internal variety. The eclectic recognizes the usefulness of theory to curriculum decision, takes account of certain weaknesses of theory, and provides some degree of repair of these weaknesses.

Keywords: curriculum; curriculum problems; deliberation; educational theories

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2013

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