Aiming at an Emancipatory Curriculum
Education Journal
Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2019, Pages: 89-96
Received: Mar. 14, 2019; Accepted: Apr. 29, 2019; Published: May 26, 2019
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Author
Jesus Maria Sousa, Research Centre in Education, University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal
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Abstract
I start the article from my own experience of teacher training addressed to the “curriculum development”, characteristic of technicist theories which dominated the last two decades of the twentieth century in Portugal, to contrast the “how to teach” movement with the new focus on “what to teach” brought to the field of curriculum studies by critical and post-critical theories. In fact, these theories have been responsible for drawing the attention of educational sciences to the issue of knowledge transmitted by the school without questioning it, i.e., only based on the simplistic view that “knowledge is knowledge”. They accuse the curriculum disciplines and subjects of reinforcing social inequalities, due to this concept of abstract, standard and universal knowledge without considering the specific regional, local, individual and popular knowledge. This curriculum is viewed as if it was castrating the raw material arriving at school in order to better adapt it to the desired standards. As a curriculum theorist, I acknowledge and share the dilemma regarding the ultimate mission of the school and the type of knowledge that is supposed to be valued: either an experiential knowledge, originated from the so-called commonsense, and limited to the students' worldviews of everyday experience; or a more academic and specialized knowledge, even if it is quite often labeled as elitist. And in a context of massive expansion of education, this dilemma becomes more relevant because the existing curriculum orthodoxy comes into conflict with nowadays cultural diversity of our schools. But at the same time, the present globalized and highly competitive world of accelerated change at all levels demands well-qualified, critical and creative citizens who has broader horizons, based on an academic knowledge, totally different from commonsense. Inspired by Paulo Freire and Michael Young, I end the article defending the idea that the curriculum can also be an instrument of emancipation, because every student, irrespective of color, race, gender or social class should have the same chances of exercising scientific thinking. In this context, “how to teach” gains a renewed relevance in a demanding curriculum with emancipatory possibilities. For this aim it is crucial that the two curriculum trends start a dialogue for the benefit of the field of curriculum studies.
Keywords
Curriculum Studies, Knowledge, Technicist Theories, Critical and Post-Critical Theories, Emancipatory Curriculum
To cite this article
Jesus Maria Sousa, Aiming at an Emancipatory Curriculum, Education Journal. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2019, pp. 89-96. doi: 10.11648/j.edu.20190803.11
Copyright
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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