Summary of Ornstein

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Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues
By Allan C. Ornstein and Francis P. Hunkins
Curriculum and Instruction 411 – Curriculum
Dr. Adel T. AL-Bataineh
Date: May 22, 2002
Larry Pahl cell: 630-400-5132 home: 630-483-9970
Chapter 1 Overview. View of Curriculum
PART I Foundations of Curriculum
Chapter 2. Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum
Chapter 3. Historical Foundations of Curriculum
Chapter 4. Psychological Foundations of Curriculum
Chapter 5. Social Foundations of Curriculum
Chapter 6. Curriculum Theory

Part II. Principles of Curriculum
Chapter 7. Curriculum Development
Chapter 8. Curriculum Design
Chapter 9. Aims, Goals, and Objectives
Chapter 10. Curriculum Implementation
Chapter 11. Curriculum Evaluation
Part III. Issues of Curriculum
Chapter 12. Curriculum Issues and Trends
Chapter 13. Future Directions for Curriculum
Chapter 1.
The word curriculum comes from the Latin word currus, meaning a race course or a chariot, and from a Latin verb meaning "to run." Its etymology is related to that of the curule chair, the special seat that only the highest magistrates of ancient Rome could use. The word means something like "triumphal chariot." I mention this at the beginning of the summary of a introductory-survey chapter on the field of curriculum because that survey is dizzying. Not only are there behavioral, managerial, systems, academic, humanistic and reconceptual approaches to curriculum, and seemingly limitless foundational boundaries, but there are at least five different definitions of curriculum. And one of them, subject matter at different grade levels, which is used more than any other in the public schools in America, is not advocated by any curricular experts! There are debates on how to outline the basic domains of the field. While Allan Ornstein and Francis Hunkins say that the numerous definitions of curriculum are "not necessarily a bad thing,", I would argue otherwise. They themselves seem intertwined in the confusion when they use John Dewey as one of the foundational voices in the academic approach and the humanistic approach (p. 8). This hardly helps educational and definitional clarity. The field seems to be a maze with no solution key, a house of confusing and contradictory rabble that could use a clean sweep. The fact that Ornstein and Hunkins could write, "…curriculists seem unable to make the leap from theory to practice, from the textbook and college course to the classroom and school." is an indice of the need for housecleaning. If the curricular theory under review can’t be applied easily in practice in the schoolroom, shovel it out. The phenomena of curricular theoreticians ignoring practitioners and practitioners ignoring theoreticians needs to end through the elimination of the theoreticians. A gravitation to the thinking of Doll, Taba, and Rugg is needed, a reform from the bottom up. It seems it would be impossible for the foundations and domain of curriculum to be anything other than the entire field of human knowledge. To try and contain it in a limited set of broad categories such as philosophy, history, psychology and sociology, while obviously helpful for the sake of classification, is also obviously incomplete. Linda Behar’s work in establishing curriculum domains was done through the process of history—studying and cataloguing what had been done for the previous twenty years—and as such is a chronicle, not a prescription. It does not touch upon what could have been done in the past, and what might be done in the future. Based on its etymology and the breadth of what is done its name, it seems fair to define "curriculum" as a race course that someone designs or amends, meant for others to race on. It is a chariot designed for others to ride in. Whether it is postmodern or synoptic, psychological or historical, a curriculum is never an end in itself. It is a program of learning that...
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