Thesis: Ethics of a Prescribed Curriculum

Pages: 8 (2316 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching  ·  Buy This Paper

Ethics of a Prescribed Curriculum

The prescribed curriculum has been the source of much debate among scholars and philosophers alike as various views of how the curriculum should be formulated arise from the different philosophical views of the purpose of and proper format of the educative process.

John Dewey (1902)

John Dewey states in his work entitled: "The Child and the Curriculum" that differences in theory that are profound in nature "are never gratuitous or invented. They grow out of conflicting elements in a genuine problem -- a problem which is genuine jut because the elements, taken as they stand, are conflicting." (1902) Any problem of a significant nature "involves conditions that for the moment contradict each other." (Dewey, 1902) Very wisely, Dewey notes that the only means to a solution is to effectively remove the framework of thought "away from the meaning of terms that is already fixed upon and coming to see the conditions from another point-of-view, and hence in a fresh light." (1902) However, be warned because to enter this process of "reconstruction" means entering into a condition characterized by "travail of thought." (Dewey, 1902)

It is much easier, according to Dewey, to simple stand behind already formulated ideas and to seek "about for something with which to buttress it against attack." (1902) The result: "…sects arise; schools of opinion." (Dewey, 1902) And each of these chooses "that set of conditions that appeal to it; and then erects them into a complete and independent truth, instead of treating them as a factor in a problem, needing adjustment." (Dewey, 1902)

It is important to note Dewey's statement on the fundamental factors in the process of education in that he states that these are "immature…[and]…undeveloped," and that it is within this framework that the "educative process" must navigate and among these various forces. The educative process is one, according to Dewey characterized by fragmentation of facts, facts that are easily interchangeable with the mindset of the social grouping and within this framework the child experiences the world. This is a world in which "facts are torn away form their original place in experience and rearranged with reference to some general principle." (1902)

Educational studies are stated by Dewey to be "classified...the product…"instead of the child's experiential knowledge. Fundamental diverges are stated to exist and the first is "the narrow but personal world of the child against the impersonal but infinitely extended world of space and time; second, the unity, the single whole-heartedness of the child's life, and the specializations and divisions of the curriculum; third, an abstract principle of logical classification and arrangement and the practical and emotional bonds of child life." (Dewey, 1902)

The curriculum works as a great powerful piece of machinery in the educative process that effectively "subdivide[s] each topic into studies; each study into lessons; each lesson into specific facts and formulae." (Dewey, 1902) The great curriculum mechanism effectively orchestrates the feeding of the child's mind that is expected to appear as "ductile and docile." (Dewey, 1902) Not so according to the other "sect" as the child is centric to the process with the child's "development…growth" being that which is held as "the ideal." (Dewey, 1902)

II. Bernstein and the Curriculum

The work of Bernstein observed that pedagogic identity "emerges as a reflection of a differing discursive bids 'to construct in teachers and students a particular moral disposition, motivation and aspiration, embedded in particular performances and practices' (1999, p. 246: as cited in Moore, 2008) Specifically, initiatives focused toward curricular reform focus on inclining "pedagogic dispositions one way or another. Importantly though -- and policy proposals tend to ignore this -- identity is as much a social as an individual achievement, and Bernstein reminds us that pedagogic identity 'is the result of embedding a career in a collective social base'. But what is not clear is how policy-driven shifts in identity -- and the curricula that are supposed to produce these identities -- are to be supported by appropriate social bases, or in other words the forms of social organization that legitimate and sustain particular values and patterns of practice." (Moore, 2003)

III. The Paradigm Shift

The work of Anne Murphy (2008) entitled: "The Interface Between Academic Knowledge and Working Knowledge Implications for curriculum design and pedagogic practice" states that the definition of a 'paradigm' may be loosely based on "Kuhn's original definition which is broadly defined as a set of practices underpinned by shared epistemology, values and beliefs, habits of reasoning, patterns of judgment and working techniques, with broad agreement on theories and concepts." (Murphy, 2008) Murphy additionally states that one paradigm may effectively emerge from another and as well one may replace the other in a process of displacement or they might very well exist right alongside one another. (Paraphrased) From the larger view which Murphy refers to as the "meso level of epistemology, a paradigm" is that which determines "what counts as acceptable, or legitimate, knowledge." (Murphy, 2008)

Murphy goes on to state that a paradigm is the mediator the community practices "at the micro level of ethics and praxis…" (2008) However, this paradigm will experience shifts depending upon "circumstances, events, and actions" and the field of education also "organizes itself and positions itself within the world" and education as well may be the cause of the shift of change of paradigm. Paradigmatic change makes a requirement of the "power elite" as they are "generally accepted" to be to "accept" this change and only then is the paradigm to which the shift has been made going to be one that is sustainable.

IV. Prescribed Curriculum and the College

The work of Robert Freeman Butts entitled: "The College Charts It Course: Historical Conceptions and Current Proposal" states that one example of the school or educational institution and its aims as regards the 'prescribed curriculum' can be viewed in the Philadelphia college, which in its earlier days was not aiming to train ministers, but instead had as its aim to "enrich our country with many Minds that are liberally accomplished," and the function of religious study was to "compleat their Wisdom, to regulate their conduct thro' life, and guide them to happiness forever." (1971)

Plans for the college included three 'Schools of Philosophy' in addition to the usual classical and rhetorical studies: and a long list of miscellaneous readings to supplement the required lectures was appended to the curriculum." (Butts, 1971) During the early 19th century it is related that the 'prescribed curriculum' weakened. Butts relates that the interest is "speculative philosophy" became "overshadowed by the rise of research in the physical sciences in the 1830's as increasing specialization in the fields of investigation took place." (Butts, 1971) The result was that with the increase of the number of departments of study increased and the numbers of professors in the departments grew that the student was 'thrown entirely upon his own resources as a free individual." (Butts, 1971)

The ages of students upon entering advanced programs of study were on the increase an approximately 23 years of age as the secondary school had expanded and the great need of specialization resulted in the necessity for the use of elective studies. It is related by Butts that the American Revolution served to confuse and disorganize "the political, economic and social structure of the new nation" while at the same time serving to bring it "into closer touch with the main stream of world affairs." (Butts, 1971)

The nation was then swept toward industrial revolution and following that the European intellectual currents enter the mainstream in the United States. French humanitarianism and its doctrines of democracy are stated to have entered first into the state of Virginia and the thought framework of the French romantic spread toward the West and combined with "an aggressive individualism already growing on the frontier" and effectively invaded New England" donning the robe of Unitarianism "…to preach human perfectibility so strong that New England was aroused to several efforts for the reform of man and society." (Butts, 1971)

Following were the middle classes and their founding of "theoretical justification for economic aggressiveness in the doctrines of English capitalists who had gained virtual control of the English government and had set of the social ideal in which economic forces were to have free play." (Butts, 1971)

V. Stenhouse, Habermas and Bernstein

The present paradigm in education is one that is extremely adherent to standardized instruction and testing and this issue is addressed in a study in Ireland which places an emphasis on the statement of Noddings (1998) as follows: "The odd notion that establishing national goals will make teachers work harder and more effectively, thereby making students work harder and more effectively is part of a long tradition that assumes an autonomous agent can logically plot a course of action and through personal competence somehow carry it out, even if others are intimately involved. Noddings (1998:196; as cited in: Moles, 2005) In other words, a merely prescription does not ensure the proper… [END OF PREVIEW]

Four Different Ordering Options:

?
Which Option Should I Choose?

1.  Buy the full, 8-page paper:  $28.88

or

2.  Buy + remove from all search engines
(Google, Yahoo, Bing) for 30 days:  $38.88

or

3.  Access all 175,000+ papers:  $41.97/mo

(Already a member?  Click to download the paper!)

or

4.  Let us write a NEW paper for you!

Ask Us to Write a New Paper
Most popular!

Ethics in Accounting Term Paper


Humanities the Role Essay


Sork's Technical-Rational Approach to Educational Program Planning Thesis


Compare and Contrast the Differing Definitions of Critical Term Paper


Future of Education in USA Term Paper


View 38 other related papers  >>

Cite This Thesis:

APA Format

Ethics of a Prescribed Curriculum.  (2009, May 3).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ethics-prescribed-curriculum/73251

MLA Format

"Ethics of a Prescribed Curriculum."  3 May 2009.  Web.  22 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ethics-prescribed-curriculum/73251>.

Chicago Format

"Ethics of a Prescribed Curriculum."  Essaytown.com.  May 3, 2009.  Accessed July 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ethics-prescribed-curriculum/73251.