ERIC Number: ED274621
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Persistence of Myth in Curriculum Discourse.
Myth is integral to modern as well as ancient societies in its service to multiple interrelated social functions. Among these are to explain phenomena and direct action, to justify particular interests or practices, to dramatize ideals, and to provide cultural cohesion. Three prevailing myths that are especially problematic are the myths of thinking skills, the right answer, and stages/styles of cognition and learning. The purpose of this paper is to explain the appeal of these myths, the assumption being that such understanding can prompt the modification of old myths or the creation of new ones more compatible with the professed goals of schooling in democratic states, for example, to promote the acquisition of valued knowledge, and to contribute to social justice. Related to the abstract quality and scientific veneer of modern myth is the appearance of universalism. What is created is decontexualized and made to seem universal. The myth of thinking skills can be seen as a manifestation of a western middle class world view and psychology made to appear universal. Myth is perpetuated in part because it supports the political, economic, or cultural interests of groups that are dominant in the larger society, justifying what might otherwise be viewed as discriminatory practices. Not all myths are pernicious, however, and since myth is integral to social life, what is needed is a reconstruction of both myth and curriculum, a process that requires moving beyond prevailing conceptions to consider and create alternatives. A 7-page reference list is appended. (BZ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1986).