Basic Education Curriculum

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Chapters 1-4

Thinking about curriculum is an old thinking about education; it is difficult to imagine any inquiry into the nature of education without deliberate attention to the question of what should be taught. The question of what to teach and how to teach it involves a selection from a vast array of knowledge and beliefs within a culture. Since it is impossible to teach everything, that selection from the culture reflects in part some sense of what is most worthwhile in that culture as seen in relation to the kind of institution the school is and what it can reasonably accomplish.

According to Dewey (1916) education is “a continuous lifelong process which had no ends beyond itself but is its own end” (p.50). Within learning organizations, Senge (1990) stated that “humane, sensitive and thoughtful leaders transmit their value system through daily behavior” (p.191). Bolman and Deal (2003) developed a unique situational leadership theory that analyzes leadership behavior through four frames of reference: structural, human resources, political and symbolic. Each of the frames offers a different perspective on what leadership is and how it operates in organizations; and in this case, schools. These frames are maps that aid navigation, tools for solving problems and getting things done” (p.18). Leaders need to understand their own frame preference and its limits and ideally, combine multiple frames to gain “clarity, generating new options, and finding strategies that work” (p.19). As in all organizations, schools need leaders who can impart a persuasive and durable sense of purpose and direction.

In the area of curriculum design and planning, educational researchers shared values (Deal & Peterson 1991), and tacit knowledge about what “should be (Erickson 1987) as a defining aspect of school culture. Values are often ‘espoused’ as opposed to “in-use’, that is, what people say should and ought to be is often inconsistent with...
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