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Lawrence Stenhouse, curriculum theorist

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Helen Black

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of Lawrence Stenhouse, curriculum theorist

Lawrence Stenhouse, curriculum theorist
Who is he?
Born in 1926 Stenhouse was a British Educational Theorist who was credited to reshaping the curriculum
What is his theory?
Lawrence Stenhouse (1975) produced one of the best-known explorations of a process model of curriculum theory and practice. He defined curriculum tentatively: "A curriculum is an attempt to communicate the essential principles and features of an educational proposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny and capable of effective translation into practice."
A curriculum, like the recipe for a dish, is first seen as a possibility, then the subject of experiment. The recipe offered publicly is in a sense a report on the experiment. Similarly, a curriculum should be grounded in practice. It is an attempt to describe the work observed in classrooms. Finally, within limits, a recipe can be varied according to taste - so can a curriculum.
Let's cook!
Yes you read that right!!!

Stenhouse likens curriculum to a recipe in cookery......
Stenhouse process theory promotes:
• More student choice.
• Looks at curriculum not as a physical thing but as the interaction of lecturers, students and knowledge.
• Content and means are developed as teachers and students work together.
• There is a clear focus on learning, rather than teaching – lecturers and students as partners in meaning-making.
• Curriculum as an active rather than technical exercise.

Some would argue;

• Many have high expectation of exam success and don’t want this end result devalued.
• The process curriculum becomes dependent on the quality of the teacher. There is no safety net in the form of prescribed materials.
• There is a danger that examinations become a by-product with the implication being that a students may under perform in an exam.
• Grundy(1987:77) says that ‘Process can end up becoming the Product’

Stenhouse and Research

It was in Stenhouse’s work with the Humanities Curriculum Project (1967-72) that he first started to question the role of academic research in improving education. Questioning the power relationship that put teachers in a position of authority over students let to a questioning of the power structure that placed academic researchers, who were influencing the ways teachers taught and students learned, in a position of authority over teachers and schools. Stenhouse believed that studying, developing, and experimenting with curricula was the task of teachers, not academic researchers.
How does this demonstrate in today's practice?

* Group discussions
* Evaluation of our lessons
* Promoting Independent Learners
* Team meetings
* Self-assessment and peer assessment

Can you think of any other ways?...........


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