Saturday, January 28, 2006

Curriculum Ideologies - Introduction

  • Curriculum ideologies are defined as beliefs about what schools should teach, for what ends, and for what reasons.
  • All schools have at least one ideology - and usually more than one - that provides direction to their functions. An ideology can be tacit rather than explicit.
  • In some ways, curricular ideologies derive from what might be regarded as world views.
  • Ideologies are typically regarded as value-laden commitments, while theories in the social sciences are frequently idealized as merely descriptions of the world rather than an expression of what is to be valued. However, theories can also influence what is to be valued.
  • The most influential ideologies are not those formally acknowledged and publicly articulated, but rather those(such as theories) that are subliminally ingested as a part of general or professional socialization. Thus, understanding the covert ways in which ideologies operate becomes crucial.
  • Ideological positions pertaining to curriculum and to other aspects of education exist in a state of tension or conflict. They are competing on what schools should teach and for what ends in a political marketplace. Regardless of how powerful an ideological view may be in an individual's or even group's orientation to the world, it is seldom adequate to determine what the school curriculum shall be. There is a political process that inevitably must be employed to move from ideological commitment to practical action. In pluralistic societies, the process almost always leads to certain compromises. As a result, the public school curriculum seldom reflects a pure form of any single ideological position. Examples of "pure" ideologies in action in schools are rare.
  • Curricular ideologies are rarely presented in a public and articulate form. They do not display a uniform articulate ideological position that allows citizens to say this educational view is for me, that isn't. What most citizens want are good schools.
  • The ideologies that make a difference for those in school are those that permeate their activities on daily basis - operational ideologies. A written manifesto of educational beliefs that never infuses the day-to-day operations of schools has no practical import for either teachers or students; such beliefs are window dressing.


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