Written by two of the most-recognized names in the field, the heart of this book revolves around the seven “modes of inquiry” that serve as guiding principles for designing curriculum that meets the needs of students, educators, parents, and the community at large. Coverage carefully balances theory and practicality, draws inspiration from a wide range of disciplines and contexts, and incorporates the wisdom of practicing curriculum designers from this country and others. Chapter titles include Curriculum Wisdom in Democratic Societies, Pragmatism: A Philosophy for Democratic Educators, The Arts of Inquiry: Toward Holographic Thinking, Personal and Structural Challenges, and Implications for Educational Practice. For teachers and administrators responsible for designing and implementing curriculum.
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THREE WORKING ASSUMPTIONS
Three basic assumptions have guided the creation of this book. First, we believe that it is possible to approach curriculum work as an exercise in "practical wisdom:" As you will read in Chapter 1, human wisdom is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "the capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, especially in practical affairs:' Curriculum workers who adopt a wisdom orientation are, therefore, challenging themselves
Aristotle's philosophy is an important foundational source for understanding practical wisdom. He writes that the practically wise person is someone who can carefully deliberate over the concrete specifics of individual matters while keeping an eye on what is "the best for man of things attainable by action" (Aristotle, 1941, p. 1028). Aristotle continues, "Nor is practical wisdom concerned with universals only—it must also recognize particulars; for it is practical, and practice is concerned with particulars" (p. 1028). Practical wisdom requires a doubled problem solving. The intent is to solve an immediate problem while advancing enduring values. This is a "means/end" and "means/visionary end" way of operating. The problem solving is situated in both the immediate present and the visionary future. The search for the resolution of a particular problem is, at the same time, an aspiration to advance a critically informed moral vision. Sensitive perception and venturesome imagination are equally important. Though this is a very demanding professional standard for curriculum decision making, we think many educators are capable of working in this way.
Egan (2002) clarifies this standard for curriculum work. He notes that "it is always easier and more attractive to engage in technical work under an accepted paradigm than do hard thinking about the value-saturated idea of education" (p. 181). To avoid this trap, Egan writes, educators must think very broadly and deeply; they must make their conceptions of education "more elaborate and comprehensive" (p. 181), and as part of their decision making, they must carefully consider what "is the best way to be human, the best way to live" (p. 182). Approaching curriculum work in this way requires educators' best efforts to enact practical wisdom.
Second, we will approach curriculum wisdom from a love of wisdom perspective—the frame of reference that serves as the etymological source for philosophy. To love wisdom is not the same as assuming that one is wise. In fact, it is its humble opposite. To love wisdom is to practice an open-hearted and open-minded life of inquiry. Hadot (2002) presents a Western history of the practice of the love of wisdom from Socrates through Kant and Nietzsche to the present and describes Socrates' insight into this practice:
In the Apology Plato reconstructs, in his own way, the speech which Socrates gave before his judges in the trial in which he was condemned to death. Plato tells how Chaerephon, one of Socrates' friends, had asked the Delphic oracle if there was anyone wiser (sophos) than Socrates. The oracle had replied that no one was wiser than Socrates. Socrates wondered what the oracle could possibly have meant, and began a long search among politicians, poets, and artisans—people... who possessed wisdom or know-how—in order to find someone wiser than he. He noticed that all these people thought they knew everything, whereas in fact they knew nothing. Socrates then concluded that if in fact he was the wisest person, it was because he did not think he knew that which he did not know. What the oracle meant, therefore, was that the wisest human being was "he who knows that he is worth nothing as far as knowledge is concerned." This is precisely the Platonic definition of the philosopher in the dialogue entitled the Symposium: the philosopher knows nothing, but he is conscious of his ignorance. (pp. 24-25) (author's emphasis)
The love of wisdom is "a never-ending quest" (Hadot, 2002, p. 280), and we provide guidance for this disciplined way of working through the introduction of seven modes of inquiry. There is a phrase that captures the design of this book. In an essay on the critical foundations of pedagogy, Greene (1986) writes, "To do philosophy with respect to teaching ...is in part to stimulate reflections about the intentions in which teaching begins, the values that are espoused, the ends that are pursued" (p. 479). Greene envisions doing "philosophy with respect to teaching." This book alters this perspective in a subtle but important way. We envision doing curriculum in the spirit of philosophy.
To approach curriculum work in this spirit is very challenging, requiring "arts" that cannot be reduced to rules or procedures; we will consistently use the phrase arts of inquiry to refer to the practice of curriculum wisdom. Because Western insights into the love of wisdom trace back to ancient Greece, we will describe the seven modes of inquiry using both English and ancient Greek terminology. We do this to remind our readers that the arts of inquiry in this book, though applied to current, postmodern societies with democratic ideals, have a premodern heritage that traces back to Greece and other ancient civilizations.
This brings us to our third and final working assumption. We believe that an important, enduring focus for curriculum wisdom is the "democratic good life." When we use this phrase, we have in mind the exercise of responsible freedom in daily educational affairs. Our concern is with the quality of curriculum conduct, not with any particular form of government—though, of course, we don't want to deny the important relationship between curriculum and politics. This commits us to an interpretation of liberalism that is cogently summarized by Fleischacker (1999):
Most Americans are liberals ... as are, at least nominally, most people in democracies throughout the modern world. It has been plausibly argued that liberalism in the sense of a concern for liberty is the only appropriate mode of politics in the modern age. What marks modernity...is the loss of any substantial agreement about what constitutes the purpose of human life, and in that context it is essential that individuals have the liberty to explore that question, and pursue the answers they find on their own. (p. 3)
We believe educators should have the freedom or, more precisely, the professional liberty to responsibly pursue "democratically liberating" educational purposes. They do this by practicing an inquiry-based curriculum decision making focused on students' inquiry-based decision making; the seven inquiry modes in this book have been designed to encourage this teacher-student reciprocity.
Fleischacker provides philosophical and political insights into human freedom interpreted as responsible decision making, and these insights inform this curriculum text. Drawing on the work of Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant, he notes that a responsible decision requires a sophisticated judgment informed by a "free play of the faculties" (1999, p. 24). Human freedom is realized through the cultivation of this capacity for judgment:
It may sound unexciting to announce that one wants to make the world free for good judgment, but this quiet doctrine turns out to be the most sensible, most decent, and at the same time richest concept of liberty we can possibly find .... A world where everyone can develop and use their own judgment as much as possible is closer to what we really want out of freedom .... (p. 243)
This understanding of freedom is a middle way between the libertarian right, with its focus on governmental noninterference and private choice, and the egalitarian left, with its focus on multicultural inclusiveness and community solidarity (Fleischacker, 1999, p. 267). This middle ground draws on both the "negative" and "positive" conceptions of freedom, nicely summarized by Fleischacker (1999):
Berlin 1969 described two concepts of liberty: a negative one, by which I am free from constraint insofar as other people refrain from interfering with me, and a positive one, by which I am free to act insofar as I am included in the political units managing my environment. (p. 3) (author's emphasis)
Our focus is on the cultivation of responsible curriculum judgments centered on the facilitation of responsible student judgments. We believe that curriculum workers' professional freedom is bound up with students' personal freedom. Both educators and their students need to be included in informed curriculum decision making, but they should not be required to conform to any ideological script or agenda. Their inquiry capacities should be nurtured, without them being dictated to about how they should think. This delicate balancing act between active support and noninterference is the territory of "freedom" staked out by this book. We have created this book in a particular emancipatory, postideological spirit. Dewey (1963/1938) articulates this spirit: "The only freedom that is of enduring importance is freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and judgment exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worthwhile" (p. 61).
It is interesting to note that one of the defining characteristics of human wisdom—soundness of judgment in the choice of means and ends—is clearly operative in our middle position. Inquiry-based judgment is both the "means" for deciding how to educate for democratic living and its "end in view:" The curricular means is integrally linked to the educational ends; or, in more colorful metaphorical terms, what is good for the goose (the curriculum worker) is also good for the gander (the student).
This understanding of the integrity between means and ends in education is, of course, a central principle in Dewey's writings. Doll (2002) notes that this principle is based on an "emergent," as distinct from an "externally imposed," sense of control (p. 39). Doll (2002) explains:
External ends were anathema to Dewey. He felt that dichotomously separating the ends in activity from the activity itself reduced the activity (and the one doing the activity) to a mere means. To counteract this, he argued that ends or "aims fall within an activity instead of being furnished from without" (Dewey 1966/1916, p. 101). In his famous phrase on this point, he says (1974/1923):
Ends arise and function within action. They are not as current theories too often imply, things lying beyond activity at which the latter is directed. They are not strictly speaking ends or termini of action at all. They are terminals of deliberation, and so turning points in activity. (p. 70) (author's emphasis)
Dewey calls these turning points in activity "ends-in-view." (p. 39)
The heart of this book is the practice of certain arts of curriculum inquiry, and this disciplined inquiry requires the internal, emergent orientation described by Dewey and Doll.
We can summarize our three working assumptions by describing a set of possible alternative titles for this text. If we had based our book only on the first assumption, we might have titled it Curriculum Work as Practical Wisdom or, perhaps, Curriculum Work as Moral Deliberation or, more simply, Curriculum Deliberation. If we had based our book only on the second assumption, we might have titled it Curriculum Work as a Love of Wisdom or, perhaps, The Arts of Curriculum Inquiry or, more simply, Curriculum Inquiry. If we had based our book only on the third assumption, we might have titled it Curriculum Decision Making for Democratic Liberty or, perhaps, Curriculum Judgment for Student Freedom or, more simply, Curriculum Judgment.
Because we are working with all three assumptions, we have titled the book the way we have. Keep in mind, however, that when we use the title Curriculum Wisdom, we have in mind a Socratic love for pragmatic wisdom in curriculum affairs; and when we use the subtitle Educational Decisions in Democratic Societies, we have in mind the exercise of professional and student freedom through the cultivation of responsible, inquiry-based judgment.
THE DESIGN OF THE BOOK
The text's design carefully reflects our three working assumptions. Curriculum wisdom is enacted at the intersection of theory and practice, and this book reflects this balanced approach. Chapters 1 and 2 have a more theoretical flavor. Chapter 1 makes the case for the importance of curriculum wisdom as understood in this text. Because this chapter presents the rationale for the text, it has a more conceptual emphasis and draws on a wide range of literature for its support. Chapter 2 provides a brief overview of the history of American pragmatism, which is a philosophical tradition that provides a great deal of insight into curriculum wisdom. Because Chapter 2 focuses on philosophical foundations, it also taps into a broad body of literature.
Chapter 3 is the heart of the book and it is positioned between theory and practice. As mentioned above, it presents seven modes of inquiry that serve as a guide for the practice of curriculum wisdom. Each mode is carefully defined (through the use of theoretical literature) and then illustrated in one or more specific curricular contexts. The arts of practicing these seven modes of inquiry are depicted in a holographic image that serves as the organizing concept for the chapter. This strategy is used to stress the point that the seven inquiry modes are embedded in one another. "All is one and one is all" might serve as an appropriate motto for Chapter 3. Curriculum wisdom is a holistic challenge, and though the seven modes are presented separately to simplify explanation and illustration, they are deeply and playfully connected in practice. Chapter 4 discusses the kinds of personal and institutional obstacles that can inhibit, suppress, and/or overtly prohibit the practice of the arts of inquiry described in Chapter 3.
The practice of curriculum wisdom is explored in Chapters 5-9. Chapter 5 presents three perspectives on the enactment of curriculum wisdom: as a paradigm shift, as a disciplined way of living, and as systemic reform. In Chapter 6, a classroom teacher, a teacher educator, and a public school superintendent comment on these perspectives. The classroom teacher's commentary is the longest because it provides the most in-depth analysis. The other two commentaries are deliberately shorter owing to space limitations and to avoid unnecessary redundancies. The teacher educator's commentary has an additional feature in that it is based on two years of research into the challenges of teaching the arts of inquiry described in Chapter 3 to future teachers.
Chapters 7 and 8 present four practitioner narratives. The stories in Chapter 7 are teacher narratives because a kindergarten teacher and a college teacher wrote them. Two educational administrators, a directo...Review:
"Overall this text ...advances our notions of curriculum. It incorporates reflective thinking, higher order thinking, and widens the conversation to include international commentaries and examples for learners. I think this is a must-read for all in the field of curriculum." — Valerie J.Janesick, Ph.D., University of South Florida - Tampa
"...Curriculum Wisdom strikes me as a book that holds real promise to those educators who seek deeper understanding and wider kinship for the feelings, beliefs, and actions they currently find themselves struggling with ...(it) presents a more comprehensive (and complex) theoretical understanding of democratic curriculum leadership..." — J. Dan Marshall, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
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Book Description Pearson, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0131118196
Book Description Pearson, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0131118196
Book Description Pearson, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110131118196
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