Some quick thoughts on Curriculum Research and Design by Lawrence Stenhouse and relevance to linking research and teaching in geography in higher education (John Bradbeer)
Bradbeer (2004) makes a similar argument in reviewing the ideas of Lawrence Stenhouse
Bradbeer, J (2004) Some quick thoughts on Curriculum research and design by Lawrence Stenhouse
and relevance to linking research and teaching in geography in higher education, personal communication 9 June
Some quick thoughts on Curriculum Research and Design by Lawrence Stenhouse and relevance to linking research and teaching in geography in higher education
Given that two colleagues were students of Stenhouse's
, perhaps it's not surprising that I finally got around to reading his
work and found it stimulating.
was an influential figure in UK schools education in the 1960s and 1970s.
He worked on some innovative curricula for the secondary schools (especially the Humanities Project for 14-16 year olds) and later was a founder member of the Centre for Applied Research in Education at the University of East Anglia.
The Humanities Project sparked two innovative approaches in Geography school curricula, the Geography for the Young School Leaver CSE programme (14-16) and the Schools Council
A Level Geography programmes (16-18).
sets out much of his
philosophy in his
1975 book Curriculum Research and Design.
To some degree one could look back at the period when Stenhouse
was writing as a golden age, although as one educated before the innovative curricula of the 1960s appeared, I would be careful not to extend this golden age for very long nor to suggest that it was uniformly golden!
Stenhouse revealingly feels that it is necessary to explain to his
(presumably mainly British) audience what a curriculum is and contrasts the very thin outlines that passed for curricula in the UK with the voluminous and detailed statements that were curricula in mainland Europe.
Central to his
argument is a passionately held belief that curriculum and teaching strategies are intimately related and need to be co-developed.
is critical of the naïve view that subject matter structure must determine what is taught, in what order and how it should be taught.
Curriculum is far more than a list of things to be learnt and tricks of the trade as to how they should be learnt.
, disciplines are central and the whole learning process (for teachers as well as for students) should endeavour as closely as possible to mirror disciplinary processes of enquiry and of the testing of claims against evidence.
is highly critical of the behavioural objectives model of the curriculum.
Chapter 6 of his
book is a powerful critique of this approach and makes uncomfortable reading thirty years later when fairly mechanical lists of learning outcomes are now regarded as the highest of best practice.
is adamant that we need to be clear about what we try to do with and for our students but he
is sceptical that we could specify anything more than general aims.
Learning is to some degree opportunistic and the most important things to be learnt cannot always be specified in advance or in direct ways.
Measurement is the enemy of the humane curriculum.
advocates a process model for(of) curriculum.
In essence he
argues for an approach to learning and teaching that mimics as closely as possible the actual pattern of enquiry in the discipline being learnt.
Making, contesting, comparing and validating knowledge is what research and learning are all about.
Even with a limited amount of knowledge and with fairly limited intellectual development Stenhouse insists that this approach can be used with school children.
If 14 year olds were held able to cope with this approach in 1969, surely 19-25 year olds should be able to cope 35 years later!
suggests that a school operates with at least 4 processes:
allows that the behavioural objectives model works for the first two of these processes but falls flat for the latter two.
goes on to say: "Education as an induction to knowledge is successful to the extent that it makes the behavioural outcomes of the students unpredictable.
, L (1975) An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development.
To this end, I think that John Bradbeer's points drawn from Stenhouse
are well made - "at the heart of the [geography] 'curriculum' should be research and enquiry".
here is nothing intrinsically geographic about this - nor is there anything intrinsic to an international organisation doing this . But without such effective understanding - little can be achieved by INTL . Here I thank John Bradbeer for sending us 'back' to Stenhouse
, Eric Pawson for exploring and questioning PBL …But these are largely generic issues . .