University of British Columbia
Faculty of Education
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
INTRODUCTION TO CURRICULUM STUDIES
EDCP 562 (032)
January 3 – April 4, 2019
Location: Scarfe 207
University Catalog Description
History and development of the curriculum emphasizing the underlying perspectives that inform curricular choices and activities; principles and issues related to organization, development and evaluation.
“What is curriculum?”
This will be the motivating question for the course. While on the surface, it may seem a simple question with a simple answer; this reading of the question belies the complexity of the concept of curriculum. The emphasis in this course is on the advance of knowledge and skills for the development of curriculum that facilitates student and teacher empowerment. With this idea as a backdrop, this course will consider curriculum as a contested construct set in a context of competing agendas. Beginning with the question above, we will explore how curriculum has been defined, who has defined it and why. We will also explore how teachers and schools in North America have been “doing” curriculum. Finally, we will explore how scholars in education are conceptualizing curriculum in light of feminism, multiculturalism and post-structuralism. Throughout the course, there will be an emphasis on blending the theoretical and the practical aspects of curriculum study.
It is an assumption in this course that as an educator you must play a role in making decisions that best facilitate optimal educational experiences and growth for your students. To do this, an educator must be committed to a process of discovering what knowledge is, what knowledge is valuable, why it is valuable, and how it is manipulated in schools and society for accessibility or lack thereof.
“What knowledge is most worthwhile? Why is it worthwhile? How is it acquired or created?”
The course will provide opportunities to consider and apply answers to these questions, both in theory and in practice. Each of us has undoubtedly engaged in curriculum theorizing, curriculum planning, and curriculum design. We think through and act out ideas about what and how students should learn and what they should do in school. This, as both John Dewey and Kurt Lewin have claimed, are very practical things. They help us understand and plan for lives in schools. Good theories are both accurate reflections of the realities we experience and coherent visions of those we wish to create. Seen in this light, study of curriculum is both theorizing and acting on those theories as an integral part of the day-to-day work of educational practitioners. In this course, we will examine together, in our work and in our discourse, the above three basic curriculum questions. These are the “bottom line” of all activities commonly associated with educational theory and practice.
Flinders, D. J., & Thornton, S. J. (Eds.). (2017). The curriculum studies reader (5th Ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.