CURRICULUM CANADA III
Edited by Andrew Hughes and Kenneth Leithwood.
Volume 10 Number 4.
This volume brings together the papers given at the Third International Symposium of the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies held at Halifax in 1981. The theme of the meeting was the issue of implementing curricular reforms, and the attempt to unlock the mysteries of this most complex and intractable problem in educational change links together the book's nine essays.
George Podrebarac of the Ontario ministry of education reviews three decades of frustration in the design of theoretically sound curricular reforms that could be effectively implemented at the classroom level. As a remedy, he advances a model of "co-operative involvement" in the development of programs of those responsible for their delivery, but he suggests little more than the secondment of token representatives of various institutions and interest groups to curricular guidelines committees. Floyd Robinson, on the other hand, argues that the "field-development" programs developed at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, in which curriculum researchers work directly with teachers and other educational officials in the drafting and implementation of curricular change, offers a more fruitful model.
Four essays concentrate on the relationship between the curriculum planner and the classroom teacher, one which more often than not reveals fundamentally different ideas about teaching aims and methods. A key to lessening the tension that arises from such conflict, according to Walt Werner, is on-going "conversation" among parents, teachers, administrators, and professional researchers. Robert Crocker, however, finds that pressure to maintain the status quo in the classroom is so great that overwhelming evidence of the inadequacy of current methods and programs must be produced, disseminated, and digested before a path to meaningful change can be opened.
The two best written essays in the collection are linked only marginally to the theme of the symposium. Ian Wright calls for a more rigorous logical formulation of curriculum policies as an aid to their implementation and evaluation. And David Pratt calls for the creation of curricula that aim at the satisfaction of a Maslovian hierarchy of needs in an era of rapid social and technological change. He suggests that such enlightened reform is impeded largely by parents and others who demand that their children's education replicate their own and proposes, not without irony, that schools offer a crash course in "the Basics" before moving on to relevant educational programs.
This collection is primarily technical in conceptualization and language and marred by frequent errors in typography. It would be of interest only to professional educators and graduate students in the field of curriculum studies.
Robert Nicholas Bérard, Dept. of Education, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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