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ERIC Number: ED422346
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Understanding Curriculum Better: Rise and Fall Progressive Curriculum and a Humanist Alternative.
McKenzie, Gary R.
This paper places the rise and decline of the progressive movement in education in the context of shifts in determinist-humanist philosophies, popular conceptions of social needs and demands of education, and genetic-cognitive trends in psychology. The following six theses are advanced to explain the rise and decline of the progressive curriculum and to suggest ways it can be adapted to restore relevance and credibility to the discourse that governs schools: (1) enlightenment humanists founded U.S. democracy and public education on a belief in free will, reason, the capacity to learn from others, and a disposition or duty to govern themselves wisely according to personally chosen principles; (2) turn of the century Progressives marginalized these humanist assumptions by synthesizing determinist philosophy, social Darwinist pseudo-science, and public demands for social engineering; (3) World War II caused paradigm shifts in American philosophy, popular priorities, and psychological theories; (4) subsequent curriculum theorists like Tyler included ideas of discipline and learning theory to meet rising demands for information and to fill the vacuum of heuristic ideas in the child centered curriculum of G. Hall and his followers; (5) progressives rejected many of the ideas of academics and cognitive psychologists and stagnated in the child-centered and individual-activity focus of the Great Society programs; and (6) curriculum theory may regain credibility and influence by synthesizing and applying cognate fields of disciplines and psychology. The curriculum field built by master planners before World War II did not adapt to postwar social demands, but the principle of building curriculum on a synthesis of different foundation fields is still a useful model for curriculum reform. (Contains 39 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A