What Is Curriculum Theory?
Routledge – 2012 – 296 pages
This primer for teachers (prospective and practicing) asks readers to question the historical present and their relation to it, and in so doing, to construct their own understandings of what it means to teach, to study, to become "educated" in the present moment.
Curriculum theory is the scholarly effort – inspired by theory in the humanities, arts and interpretive social sciences – to understand the curriculum, defined here as "complicated conversation." Rather than the formulation of objectives to be evaluated by (especially standardized) tests, curriculum is communication informed by academic knowledge, and it is characterized by educational experience. Pinar recasts school reform as school deform in which educational institutions devolve into cram schools preparing for standardized exams, and traces the history of this catastrophe starting in 1950s.
Changes in the Second Edition: Introduces Pinar’s formulation of allegories-of-the-present — a concept in which subjectivity, history, and society become articulated through the teacher’s participation in the complicated conversation that is the curriculum; features a new chapter on Weimar Germany (as an allegory of the present); includes new chapters on the future, and on the promises and risks of technology.
Preface Glossary Introduction PART 1: THE PROBLEM THAT IS THE PRESENT 1. School Deform I. The Race to Nowhere II. The Less You Know III. Untimely Concepts IV. Too Little Intellect in Matters of Soul V. The School as a Business VI. The Figure of the Schoolteacher 2: From Autobiography to Allegory I. To Run the Course II. Allegories-of-the-Present III. Allegory as Montage IV. Why Weimar? PART 2: THE REGRESSIVE MOMENT: THE PAST IN THE PRESENT 3. The Defeat of Democracy I. The Terrible Question II. States of Emergency III. The Highly Fissured Republic IV. The Regimented Mass V. Art as Allegory VI. Economic Crisis VII. The Great Age of Educational Reform VIII. Correctional Education 4. Mortal Educational Combat I. Gracious Submission II. The Racial Politics of Curriculum Reform III. Students and the Civil Rights Movement IV. Freedom Schools V. The Gender Politics of Curriculum Reform PART III: THE PROGRESSIVE MOMENT: THE FUTURE IN THE PRESENT 5. The Dissolution of Subjectivity in Cyberculture I. Dream, Thought, Fantasy II. Let Them Eat Data III. The Death of the Subject IV. Avatars V. Breaking News VI. Intimacy and Abjection 6. The Future in the Past I. The Technology of Cultural Crisis II. The Degradation of the Present III. A Philosophy of Technology IV. Technology and Soul PART IV: THE ANALYTIC MOMENT: UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT 7. Anti-Intellectualism and Complicated Conversation I. Anti-Intellectualism II. An Unrehearsed Intellectual Adventure III. Curriculum as Complicated Conversation is Not (Only)Classroom Discourse IV. Is It Too Late? PART V: THE SYNTHETICAL MOMENT: REACTIVATING THE PAST, UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT, FINDING THE FUTURE 8. Subjective and Social Reconstruction I. A Struggle Within Each Person II. Reactivating the Past III. Understanding the Present IV. Finding the Future References Index
William F. Pinar is Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.