The curriculum is a subject of social discourse. The state—as the embodiment of our collective will— has made basic education compulsory, while also acting as the major financial facilitator. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to request the state to give an indication of the intended learning effects that schools are to realise in pupils; both in terms of product and process. And, inherently, to indicate the extent of obligation imposed by the state concerning content, and how much freedom concerning content and pedagogy is left to the school, the parents, and/or the pupils. In a democratic country, such statements made by the government should be broadly supported by society; and therefore also by the social discourse about the curriculum. Four leading questions of curriculum development are being distinguished: 1 To what purpose should they learn? (curriculum rationale) 2 What should they learn? (objectives & content) 3 How do they learn this? (didactics & organisation) 4 Have they actually learned it? (assessment & conclusion) Very generally put, we can claim that: ∙ the state is the leading authority in the question ‘To what purpose should they learn?’ ∙ teachers and subject professionals are the leading authorities in the question ‘What should they learn?’ ∙ schools and teachers are leading in the question: ‘How do they learn this?’ ∙ when answering the question ‘Have they actually learned it?’, there is a social answer just as well as a professional answer; thus if we are to determine afterwards whether education has achieved its objectives—in the sense of learning effects in pupils—we must not only determine whether the objectives‐as‐operationalised have been achieved by education, but also whether the results achieved agree with the objectives‐as‐envisaged during the social discourse.
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Dec 2009|