Values and the curriculum : economics and business education at different stages in the development of young people
This thesis presents an account of curriculum initiatives in the related fields of economics and business education between the years 1982 to 1998. These developments are placed in the context of a national curriculum for schools in England and Wales, rapid changes in the post-16 education and training environment and alterations in working practices brought about by the information and communication revolution. The work employs a pluralist methodology based on fitness for purpose. Thus, the national scene largely relies on documentary sources, whilst the case studies are examined through the use of interviews and questionnaires as well as secondary data. In one example the author is a participant observer. The central theme is the relationship between business education curricula and values: the account of curriculum developments are subject to analysis both of the values that have underpinned or guided their contents and the contribution that their configurations of business education can make to values education. It introduces the notion of 'congruence' in curriculum development, a term used to describe the interface between curriculum, values and the development of young people. The thesis is in the most part an original contribution to the study of curriculum and curriculum development. In identifying the key concept, 'values', and analysing the degree of 'congruence' achieved by curriculum developers, the thesis is able to contribute to the literature on values education and the development of young people. In particular, the final chapter shows the potential of business education to promote in young people an understanding that values underpin and help to explain the workings of the economic world. The main conclusions are two-fold. First, that value positions underpin curriculum developments but that they are not always made explicit, even in subjects dealing with business and economic systems. Second, that business education curricula need to demonstrate more overtly their role in encouraging the critique of values alongside more fact based enquiry. The research shows that development of young people is only considered as a by-product of other aims and objectives, which results in a missed opportunity. The holistic perspective examining the intellectual and emotional needs of a 'complete' student and what this means at various stages of the educational process (from 14 years-old), is rarely considered when curriculum change is contemplated.