Curriculum Theorizing: Everybody Hates an Ivory Tower
Work with me here. I have no idea how I will capture these thoughts in words, at least that make sense. I can start only with a deeply felt sense that I am in trouble.
At almost the midpoint of this semester course in curriculum theorizing, all of the following are true:
- If you were to ask me for a flat-out definition of curriculum theory since the reconceptualization of the field, I would draw a blank.
- If you were a classroom teacher in a school threatened with closure for failing to make AYP and you asked me how curriculum theory could help you, I would have no immediate answer. (A gut feeling, maybe. But nothing I could put into words.)
- If you were one of my M.A. students and told me to forget all that abstract stuff, why won’t I just tell you how to teach, I would have some answers. But they wouldn’t be directly about theorizing curriculum. They’d be arguments for the necessity of establishing a philosophical foundation for one’s pedagogy, a touchstone for reflective practice that would give you a shot at staying sane in a field gone mad with regimentation and intimidation.
In that my esteemed & beloved doctoral advisor has been and continues to be a key force in the development of the reconceptualized field, you can see how the above might be problematic.
It’s not that I don’t want to understand, be able to engage in professional discourse (i.e., not sound like an idiot). It is either that I have been so firmly entrenched in the Tyler Rationale that I will need to be dynamited out of that, or that my tendency to resist (& desire to subvert– in a friendly way, of course ;-)) institutional conventions makes me a genetic reconceptualizer.
Here are questions I have scrawled in the margins of one of the readings for tonight’s class:
–What are the possibilities of bridging theory & practice in this moment in time/history?
–What is the value of theorizing in a field under siege?
–How do I frame the process of theorizing curriculum in a way that will persuade anyone to do some thinking with me?
It’s possible these are not the best questions, but they are where I am starting right now. My assignment to myself: write some answers to these by next week. Or come up with different questions. Make that and.
For a closer view of the map, above, keep double-clicking on the image.