Your Mouth Is Moving But All I Hear Is….
I’m about 15 pages away from fulfilling my academic obligations for the spring semester. (Yes, I realize it’s June. I have reasons. Just ask my Esteemed Advisor.) But I have to get a few things off my chest before I can finish the paper.
I spent hours this past semester reading hundreds of pages of curriculum theorizing. Many of these were written by a particular theorist– let’s call him the Fearless Leader of Curriculum Theorizing. Dutifully, I read. And re-read. And re-re-read. And I gotta tell you, those pages may as well have been written in Martian.
I’m no slouch in the brains department. But I’m trying to write this paper and I should probably cite the guy and I am disgusted.
We are experiencing a crisis in education unlike any we have ever known. Where “curriculum” consists of narrowly drawn content teachers must “cover” in classes in order for students to pass tests. Where the verb “reform” means to slash budgets, blame teachers, and turn schools into conveyor belts where children swallow information, regurgitate it in the form of little bubbles blackened with a number 2 pencil.
Here’s the kind of writing I’m trying to decipher: Teacher education must be re-conceived
from a skills-identified induction into the school bureaucracy to the interdisciplinary, theoretical, and autobiographical study of educational experience in which curriculum and teaching are understood as complicated conversations toward the construction of a democratic public sphere. Informed by curriculum theory, teacher preparation becomes the education of self-reflexive, private-and-public intellectuals whose primary loyalty is multiple, shared among their academic discipline(s), the social reconstruction of the institution and society in which they teach, and the intellectual and psycho-social development of the students they teach.
[My favorite phrase: “whose primary loyalty is multiple”.]
All is can say is, way to give ole’ Arne teacher-education-is-too-theoretical Duncan more ammunition to lob at schools of ed.
I don’t care how central to curriculum FLCT is perceived to be. I do not have time for this kind of verbiage, and I am certainly not going to include him in this paper. So there.
I leave you with some like-minded ideas written in a way that not only illuminate, they inspire.
“I believe it is the responsibility of the educator to reveal the values embedded in prescriptions that others take for granted and to provide alternative visions that others can consider concerning what education might be for the young.” ~Eliot Eisner
“Curriculum theory …might be said to be the essence of educational theory because it is the study of how to have a learning environment.” ~James P. Macdonald
“In my view, the classroom situation most provocative of thoughtfulness and critical consciousness is the one in which teachers and students find themselves conducting a kind of collaborative search, each from his or her own lived situation.” ~Maxine Greene
Image: “blah!!” © 2008 Francisco Polloek Estrada via Creative Commons // CC BY-NC 2.0