Curriculum Theory

For the topic Curriculum Theory the following literature should be studied:

School-based curriculum development: idealized or actual? (Chapter 11 pp. 137-150) in: Marsh, C.J. (2009).
Key concepts for understanding curriculum. New York: Routledge.

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Schooling is often characterized by turbulence and change. Organizational structures, leadership and financial underpinnings are constantly in a state of flux and ferment. To a large extent the turbulence is due to politicians, who in their zeal to appeal to voters constantly invent (and reinvent) reforms to perceived educational problems. School-based curriculum development (SBCD) in its various guises of  'decentralization' and 'school-focused' is exhorted by politicians in many countries. Currently SBCD is a vogue priority in a number of Asian countries such as Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (Juang et al., 2005). It is not a new approach. It has been widely practised in Israel for over thirty years (Ben-Peretz and Dor, 1986). In the UK, politicians are advocating personalized learning, which encourages teachers to seek out and promote individualized learning in local school settings (Miliband, 2004), but also high on their agenda are standards and accountability priorities across the system. Similarly, it might be argued that at the school district level in the USA school-managed activities are practised, yet with the advent of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, centrally planned and controlled standards are now firmly in place, especially for core subjects. This chapter examines some of the key factors for promoting SBCD and what is possible in current educational climates of accountability.


Thijs, A., & Akker, J.van den (2009). Curriculum in development. Enschede: Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO).

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Link to the book

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The title of this book refers to both the dynamic discussions that continuously take place across a wide range of curricular issues and the evolutionary thinking about concepts and approaches in curriculum development. Changes in society constantly demand new knowledge and skills and require the continuous development of our educational system. How do processes of curriculum development evolve? What actually is a curriculum? And how to ensure the quality of curricular products? This book will focus on these questions. What started as an endeavour to summarize our knowledge base about curriculum development for our colleagues at SLO, may also provide teachers, educators, policy makers, and other parties involved in educational development with a clear and concise introduction into the tricks of the trade of curriculum development. The book discusses basic concepts in curriculum development and presents useful frames of thinking and strategies.

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