Educational projects : theory, practice and curriculum change.
This thesis sets out to add to our understanding of the "what"
"how" and "why" of curriculum change in the following ways:
(a) it takes a broad view of "curriculum", including the
interactive as well as the pre-active; and evaluation and pedagogy as
well as curriculum content. By means of the concept of
"curricularisation", it forces attention upon the constructed nature
of curriculum and the knowledge-constitutive interests it serves,
whilst the notion of "evolution" is looked at in the context of
(b) by focussing upon the "educational project" and its
relationships between theory and practice, it renders problematic the
rationalism, pedagogy and assessment procedures associated with
(c) substantively, it takes two sixth-form student projects
as case-studies: the "pure" science of Nuffield Biology, and the
"applied" science of Cambridge Technology;
(d) methodologically, it views their pre-active curricula
from both micro- and macro- sociohistorical perspectives, and studies
their interactive curricula by ethnographic methods. The former method
explores the cultural roots of the curriculum and the major external
forces acting upon it, whilst the latter seeks to identify its
internal dynamics in terms of linguistic sequences and their
The sociohistorical evidence presented suggests that, contrary to
fashionable belief, it is the aristocratid culture with its academic
curriculum which is hegemonic. Whilst interactional data shows that,
despite opportunities for "practical" curricularisation, it is the
"technical" mode which predominates, raising the issue of the limits
of curriculum change.
Several other issues are raised in the course of this research.
Those addressed here concern the problematic relationships between
theory and practice in the fields of subject content, pedagogy and
evaluation. Whilst underlying all such issues are the assumptions,
foundations and curriculum structures which, although problematic, are
taken for granted.