Curriculum theorizing is a deductive approach that explains the various perceptions of education. It communicates the different thoughts and diversities of the curriculum through an array of theories (Huenecke, 1982). The various professionals such as the curriculum consultants, teachers, researchers, educationalists, modernized students, and the supervisors have different perceptions of the curriculum. Curriculum developers receive vast suggestions from their advisors who invent new ways to upgrade the curriculum. The developers are in dilemma, wondering which curriculum to adapt because each proposed curriculum is supported with research that shows its workability. The gender, race, moral, modernization, postmodernization, and the aesthetic factors are just but a few of the overtly politicized aspects of curriculum theorizing.
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There is vast diversification in curriculum theorizing that goes to the extent of discarding early theories. The allegations that curriculum theorizing is a cohesive field are perceived as fictitious (Pinar & Bowers, 1992). The educators who believed that curriculum theorizing is unified, or that it has boundaries are considered outdated because their ideas conflict with the current perceptions. In the globalized and modernized world, curriculum theorizing is unlimited, appropriate and adequate for all scholars around the globe. The new status quo in curriculum theorizing denotes that curriculum theorizing is an ongoing project that will never end as long as humankind exists. Curriculum theorizing is a set of interdependent theoretical approaches that are upgraded to have the capacity to accommodate flexibility and tolerance to meet the demands of the modernized and globalized world. This paper will address the overtly politicized aspects of curriculum theorizing.
Curriculum theorizing and institutionalization
The institution and the instructor are the two significant aspects that determine what the students will learn. Different learning institutions have instructors who approach curriculum theorizing in different ways, where some instructors act as intellectuals while others will act as researchers. The intellectuals will insist on adhering to the theorists’ perspective of curriculum theorizing while the researchers will adhere to the practitioners’ perspective, but in the real sense, one can derive theory from practice. The practitioners directly affect the students’ ability to contribute their ideas concerning the current theories, where students will have a tendency to stick to the critical traditions. Connelly, for example, was a stringent theorist who overlooked all his roles to engage in curriculum theorizing. Connelly overlooked his administrative duties at the university, his ongoing work with principals and teachers and even his pedagogy to involve himself actively in theorizing. The theorizing works of Connelly are widely acknowledged, but they caused him a lot of sacrifice. This shows that theorists have a natural and active engagement in curriculum theorizing regardless of what it would cost them.
As stated, different institutions have different approaches to handle students. An institution that has adopted the student-centered learning technique does not actively engage students in real sharing. Such institutions will focus on the individual learner while disempowering the students’ from social interactions. The students’ ability of real sharing is disempowered which could lead to social class discrimination, gender and race discrimination. Society has many times raised blame on the individual of their weird characters of discriminating against people in terms of their race, gender or social class; however, it is now clear that the educational institutions are to blame. Educational institutions should adopt the universally accepted mode of learning and the universally accepted cultures.
They should adhere to particular national cultures and social justice practices without minding the borders. The learning institutions ought to produce modernized individuals who will in turn upgrade and shape the society (Wright, 2000). Individuals ought to use the skills and scientific knowledge gained in school to make the society a better place. This ought to trickle down to the families of the learned fellows who will also have the desire to educate their children. Generally, learning institutions should privilege all global students who would wish to study in the institution. The politics of curriculum theorizing and institutionalization have not raised much criticism, where a greater percentage of the educationists agree that learning institutions play a great role in shaping the individual students and the society. They are the central areas that expose individuals to modernity and civilization.
Curriculum theorizing and how it has been queered
Children begin schooling at the tender age of three years or even two years in some places, and they spent the better part of their entire life in schools. It is not until they are fully trained to being resourceful people that the learning institutions release them to the society. The question is whether the learning institutions teach the students everything they need to know. The curriculum has underrepresented the subjects on sex, gender, and disability as they are regarded as queer subjects. Lesbianism and gay subjects are almost never discussed anywhere in the curriculum. In addition to the queer subjects, we have hermaphroditic subjects that raise gender ambiguity concerns. The above-mentioned subjects not fully integrated into the curriculum, and instructors only give their superficial teachings while leaving the students with many unanswered questions.
Queer theory debunks on the subjects of sex and gender. It exposes full knowledge of sex education. While the instructors may find it absurd to throw full light on the subjects, students have the right to understand fully the queer subjects by the time they complete the K-12 curriculum. The social constructionists insist on sexual orientation classes to students before they attain the adolescent stage. In fact, in the technological world, children are exposed to sexual materials as early as when they are five years of age. If they do not obtain the full sexual education in time, there is a high probability of practicing immoral sexual behavior at tender ages. The sexual subjects directly related to culture, whereby most cultures will advocate for heterosexuality rather than homosexuality or lesbianism. The K-12 curriculum needs liberal multiculturalism that advocates for stable and culturally accepted practices that discourage social discrimination. In the United States, liberal multiculturalism is upgraded to a more radical version of a radical and revolutionary multiculturalism.
The issue of integrating sexuality as a learning unit in the curriculum has received critics for many years. On one hand, some educators argue that teaching the subject has dangers of arousing the sexual desires for the students. On the other hand, arguments are that failure to teach the subject is what leads students to practice the immoral acts of lesbianism, homosexuality and the desire to watch and read phonographic materials. However, according to research, there is a need for instructors to integrate race, gender and disability lessons with sex education. The most appropriate way to teaching these subjects is by integrating the subjects into literature set books. In so doing, the social differences would end, and the queer theories of sexual education will become interrelated to literature.
Curriculum theorizing and how it has been raced and gendered
Various nations have different perceptions of the education curriculum. The nations have varying cultures and identities that directly affect the formal education of their students. The child-rearing practices, as well as the adult initiation practices, directly affect the desire and ability to learn. In actual sense, urbanization and industrialization directly influence education. It is evident that that formal education becomes universal and gender unbiased in urbanized and industrialized nations. The perceptions of gender roles and gender relationships differ from one nation to another (Zembylas, 2010). These perceptions have a direct effect on the adoption of educational practices. In some nations, more especially the third world nations, the female genders are disadvantaged.
They do not get access to educational opportunities as the male gender does. Some nations still cling to old-fashioned cultures that look down upon the female gender. According to the old-fashioned cultures, the females ought to be homemakers, children bearers, and caretakers of their husbands. There is no chance for the female gender to access any formal education. Curriculum theorists of the1960s and 1970s described education as the road to socialization. Education plays an essential role in maintaining social order and controlling the roles of every individual in the society (Woodrow, 2000). The westernized political overtone holds that education is the driving force to the enculturation of the minority and majority cultures. When education, religion, and politics are integrated, they formulate a holistic, ideal and thorough view of the world. It is so unfortunate that the female gender is denied the chance of knowing all these in some nations.
Curriculum theorizing has gone to the extent of analyzing mathematics as a subject. In many societies, perceptions that the female gender is weaker in mathematics as compared to the male gender prevail. To some extent, the assumption is true and some educators regard mathematics as a disabled subject. Special educators are tirelessly trying to conceptualize the problem and come with a remediated solution. In many cases, students are deficient in mathematical skills yet it promotes justice and social fairness in societies. Apart from relating cultural traditions, cultural believes and social behaviors, curriculum theorizing seeks to explain the different learning methodologies within different social-cultural customs. In fact, the meaning of “learning” would differ from one social construct to another. A macro-analysis depicts that the difference in meanings would leads to a mismatch in understanding between the two societies. On the other hand, a microanalysis indicates that the learners from the two cultures are more likely to experience a sense of disagreement and awkwardness. In general, the politics of curriculum theorizing in relation to race and gender is ongoing and is not likely to end any soon. The politics would only end if all ethnic groups, all nations, and all people globally become urbanized and industrialized.
Curriculum theorizing and aesthetician
The politically oriented curriculum scholars would always inquire about the main intention of a learning institution. In so doing, the scholars will seek to understand if the institution has some aesthetic value. According to Marxism theory, culture has an aesthetic value. While businesspersons would equate an institution with its economic value or economic benefit, educators and curriculum scholars would equate an institution with its aesthetic value. As discussed in the subtopic of curriculum theorizing and institutionalization, a learning institution plays a critical role in modeling the character traits of its students. Individuals from a particular learning institution will tend to have similar traits.
The factor that determines the character traits is the culture in an institution. If for example, an institution has a culture of immorality, there is a high possibility of having a great percentage of students from the institution becoming immoral. In fact, some learning institutions are blacklisted. If a student from such an institution goes out seeking for employment, employees would feel threatened to absorb them. They may fear that they would be hiring a thug into their company. Such students will have no aesthetic value in the society. A student with clean papers and with all necessary skills would tarmac for years without getting any formal employment because of the lack of an aesthetic value. On the other hand, an institution that adheres to a culture of religion, hard work and good ethics will bear the best students, which companies will compete to employ. In essence, such students will have a high aesthetic value.
As usual, the subject is politicized where the opposing side argues that the aesthetic value of an individual in inbuilt and that the institution cannot change a stringently moral student. However, in reality, the level of peer influence is so high such that peer influence can lure stern Christians into unethical actions.
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Curriculum theorizing and how it has been psychoanalyzed
Education is a process that entails a teacher giving systematic instructions, and the students on the receiving end. The level of grasping things differs from one student to another. From the analysis of the educationalists, the mental ability of a student determines the level of understanding and comprehending instructions (Wright, 2000). Scientists have identified some external factors such as economic factors, social factors, cultural factors and disruptions that influence peoples’ psychology. In the school curriculum, students’ attitudes towards a subject influence their brains’ resistance or acceptance to grasp and understand the instructions of the subject.
Generally, students have a negative towards mathematics. A study in the 1970s showed distinct differences in national outputs. America, Europe, and Britain readily accepted a subject named new mathematics, but Africa resisted the subject. Research indicated that the Americans vested on an interest of knowing things; the British vested on the interest of doing things, while the French vested their interest in understanding things. On the other hand, Africans had not developed firm educational principles and thus found it problematic to adopt the system. The stereotypical variations brought in the differences in accepting the new mathematics as a subject in Africa. Overall, an attempt to introduce, compare or contrast schooling within countries and students should consider, recognize and understand the existence of underlying differences. So far, the British adopted the Piaget’s developmental psychology, while the Americans adopted the behavioral psychology. On the other hand, the Europeans have embraced grand ideas rather than particular skills. Currently, the systems could have changed, but the three continents still have distinct curriculum theorizing characteristics.
Once again, the English system to differentiate and sort students at an early age influenced England to adhere to a quasi-practical approach, which was somewhat hospitable. The baseline of Curriculum theorizing and how it has been psychoanalyzed emphasized on ensuring the orderliness of the mind of the student, subjecting the students into a comfortable environment where they can comfortably learn, and having the teacher pass the knowledge in a logical manner. England has adopted the rule that students should not be forced to score highly at the expense of hurting the self-image of the student. England emphasizes on creativity rather than knowledge because psychoanalysis shows that some students who would have difficulties in gaining knowledge could be good in creativity.
On the contrary, some educationalists argue that having the students have the freedom of choice in education will ruin the world. Students would have a tendency to escape learning technical subjects such as mathematics, which is an essential subject in life. Arithmetic, science, and English are some of the subjects that nations should teach at all costs. Mathematics bestows an authoritative and discordant character in the students making them powerful. Therefore, no matter the conclusions of the psychoanalysis debate on curriculum theorizing, mathematics, English, and science should be taught globally. The theory of prioritizing the individual student’s need should focus on other subjects other than the above-mentioned subjects. It would be difficult for nations that think they would import an education system and disregard the associated values of the educational system. This would lead to conflicts regarding the educational practice as well as the cultural assumptions related to the imported educational system.
Curriculum theorizing and moralization
Learning institutions play a significant role in installing knowledge as well as installing morals to the learners. Education and knowledge are factual, whereas morals are the perceptions of right and wrong. The curriculum integrates education and morals, where, students ought to adhere to the authoritative rules. They ought to adhere to the corrective measures in an institution as well as the natural proof of what is ethical or morally upright. An institution that holds morally upright cultures will insist on viewing education as a “body of knowledge” instead of viewing education as a journey of discovery. From the education perspective, science and mathematics are bound to facts that are correct and accurate. In science, for example, either students will know the truth about a phenomenon or they remain ignorant.
Mathematics also works on the same principle of either knowing or not and adhering to accuracy. It is noteworthy that mathematics is a subject that 50% of the students are forced to do by the educational curriculum. There is no freedom of choice of study subject, unless at higher levels of learning. This raises an ethical and methodological problem in education because the central ethical standard for obtaining the right morals is freedom. Freedom for the choice of subjects would bring in justice and equality, thus embrace naturalist moral ethics. Educators should apply a friendly manner in the scientific goal of attaining the truth of phenomena and use ideological flow charts to bring a sense of understanding. The most difficult aspects of complicated mathematical formulas can be reduced into simple and empirically-based formulas that are easy to understand.
The politics that arise between curriculum theorizing and morality is whether education has anything to do with morality. Talking of mathematics and science, there is nothing good or quality about mathematics or science. Having more mathematical or scientific knowledge does not have any relationship with ethical morals. However, if folk knowledge would be integrated into the education curricula, then some sense of morality would be drawn from the same (Wright, 2000). Moreover, teaching social ethics as a subject in schools would help in upgrading the moral values of an individual. Incorporating technology and social practices into the curriculum would help to bring out the morality sense. To enable this, educators would incorporate dance music classes, dance classes and painting classes among other classes that enhance sociality and moralization. The social classes would enable students to adopt the moral templates of developing healthy relationships that are ecologically sustainable. The social classes would transform the students’ experiences from ordinary mortals to extraordinary individuals with a high sense of morality.
Curriculum theorizing in relation to modernization and postmodernization
The world is evolving, and in recent years, various schools have transformed their curriculum to adopt the demands of the modernized world. In the early days, education would heavily rely on general education theories and gain of satisfaction. Curriculum theorizing was based on selfishness and discrimination against race and gender. However, that is not the case in the modernized world because there is no readily acceptable general theory in the curriculum. The post-modernized curriculum is reformed to advocate for class and gender equality, social and economic rationalization, and enhanced global humanism. Gone are the days when the administration or government would dictate the curriculum to adopt in all levels of education. The teachers, professional researchers, professors, and the modernized students critically analyze every new curriculum development. They propose reformations of the available curriculum theories to fit their needs and the needs of the modernized world. The modernized world presents cases of conflicts and disjunctions between what is in theory and what exactly happens practically.
Democracy in the postmodern world has caused streaming arguments on curriculum theorizing that happened thirty years ago. The modern curriculum theorists argue that there is a need to draw attention to the talents of the students. According to the postmodern curriculum, students have a right to explore their talents. The curriculum allows class-divided systems that accommodate every brain. The postmodern curriculum advocates for individual freedom of the students, unlike the earlier days when the authoritarian uniformity rule existed. The post-modernized reformers advocate for the extension of the curriculum to accommodate practical activities that enhance the empowerment and enlightenment of the students. This exercise aims at enabling the workplaces to obtain young individuals who have enhanced entrepreneurial skills and vast experiences to input into the organization.
The present demand flexibility and tolerance in curriculum theorizing
Curriculum theorizing has been politicized to the extent that those who cling to the old traditions need to embrace the modern and postmodern curriculum. The world is evolving and it needs the flexibility of the educational curriculum. The developers of the curriculum ought to be open-minded and to accept any effective proposals to reform the curriculum. If any rule in the current curriculum proves to be ineffective, there should be room for amendments. In essence, there should not be an indisputable rule in the curriculum. The current curriculum theorizing should be debating towards bringing clarity to each aspect of the curriculum. Post modernization, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, and post-colonization are politicized aspects that need flexibility. In essence, the present demand for flexibility and tolerance in curriculum theorizing calls for the following actions.
- The current curriculum theorizing should identify the right approach to employ in teacher education and a clear understanding of the teaching methods for every subject. Analysis of the limitation of each method is essential, where, if the limitations outweigh the benefits, the teaching method is considered unworthy. If, for example, a teacher employs the cultural study approach to curriculum theorizing, there should be a clear report of what the students are gaining, and a corresponding report of the associated costs and limitations.
- New interventions should accommodate the modern dissertations, interrogations, and suggestions on the improvement of the curriculum and individual subjects in all levels of formal education.
- There should be approaches to embrace technology in all levels of learning. Learning institutions should install and enhance the mediums of communication networks within the learning institutions. The internet and the World Wide Web are very essential in learning institutions because they enhance seriousness and consistency in theorizing concepts. However, in the process of improvising technology, the possible challenges of the improvisation are identified. If the internet opens ways for immorality then control measures need employment.
- The curriculum developers should critically analyze and utilize ideologies generated during the process of politicizing curriculum theories.
- Curriculum theorizing should be made complex and comprehensive to synchronize culture, history, and pedagogical space into the formal education curriculum.
- There should be distinct strategies to reform the current education curriculum and establish substantial projections for future education.
The future of curriculum theorizing and education practice
The future of the curriculum is dependent on the measurements adopted currently in response to the demand of flexibility and tolerance in curriculum theorizing. If there is full adoption of the proposed approaches to respond to flexibility and tolerance, then the future of curriculum theorizing will have the following characteristics.
- Teacher education and the teaching methods used in class will be the most efficient. The teaching methods will focus on developing all-round students. The teachings approaches in schools will have both economic and aesthetic values.
- The future curriculum theorizing will apply modern dissertations, interrogations, and suggestions that will upgrade and enhance the curriculum at all levels of education.
- The future curriculum will fully embrace technology, where, the World Wide Web will enhance communication, socialization and efficient learning.
- The future educational curriculum will contain a complex and comprehensive synchronization of culture, history and folk knowledge into the formal education curriculums. This factor will enhance moralization and socialization.
- The current education curriculum will undergo substantial projections to accommodate students of any race, any gender, and students with disabilities. This will promote international studies, online studies, and exchange programs.
From the discussions, it is evident that most educational conflicts arise from the different notions of what is correct in relation to the authority. An education action, classified as moral or immoral, right or wrong, is in accordance with the grammatical rules or the nature of the proof. However, the moral or immoral, right or wrong actions differ from one nation to another and from one culture to another. In investigating an action, there is a need to carry out a content-based assessment rather than a personal assessment. The problem-solving approach differs and presents different meanings across cultures. Mathematics, as a subject has raised politics in many aspects, however, in trying to solve the problem in a particular nation, it is necessary to understand the authoritarian culture and opinions of the society (Wallin, 2011). A society that clings to old traditions with no tangible reason to reject the mathematical teachings needs employment of investigatory and exploratory methods. Thereafter, psychological counseling may work efficiently.
The discussions present aspects that depict overtly politicized curriculum theorizing. However, this is not the end of the politics because curriculum theorizing is still encountering an expansive growth in literature. Curriculum theorizing still has a wide field of discussions. Theorists are yet to politicize curriculum theorizing in relation to globalization, religion, phenomena and autobiographical aspects. This is not to suggest that the field is becoming or ought to be contention-free. Indeed, the characteristics of current curriculum theorizing ought to generate considerable debate on practical issues. Curriculum politicizing should focus on not only politicizing but also putting their politics into practice. They should stretch towards reaching the developing nations and particularly reaching those societies that cling to traditions to disable the female gender. The female gender needs protection, and this is possible through practical actions and not politics. The leaning institutions need reforms, which also need action. In essence, there is no more time for politics, and the curriculum theorists should rise and take action. If a learning institution is not adhering to producing aesthetically valued students, it should face a warning followed by astringent action. It is a high time action rather than politics ruled in curriculum theorizing.
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Wallin, J. (2011). What is? Curriculum Theorizing: For a people yet to come. Journal of Studies of Philosophical Education, 30 (1), 285–30.
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Wright , H. K. (2000). Nailing Jell-O to the Wall: Pinpointing Aspects of State- of-the-Art Curriculum Theorizing. Educational Researcher, 29 (5), 4-13.
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