The Crisis of Curriculum Change

I hereby swear and affirm. Affirm. On my.... honour? My belief in... in… the technological revolution, the pressing, growing, pressing, urgent need for more and more scientists. My own belief in change, change for its own sake (Osborne, 1965).

It is not always time for a change.... often it is not time for a change even when change looks like the easy way out (Sheehy, 1981, p. 99).

The ‘necessity’ for change has been such a bludgeon in European history and has justified so much that was in fact unnecessary, stupid, or tragic that it ought by now to be a principle that its advocacy should always be countered with a very firm Why? This is not conservativism, even only with a small ‘c’, but common sense. We should remember how many times we have been here before (The Guardian, 1998, p. 24).
Firstly, the article raises some questions about the inevitable desirability of change, which seems an endemic expectation, especially within western societies. These questions are raised about the assumption that movements for change normally include progressive and inclusive elements. Rather, the article argues that we need to closely interrogate the historical circumstances of change forces before we judge their progressive or regressive potential.

Whilst most curriculum change emerges in specific local milieus, it remains true that, at times, there are ‘world movements’ that drive change forces. John Meyer has detailed some of these in his seminal studies (Meyer, 1980; Meyer et al., 1992). By understanding the historical circumstances in which change forces emerge, we can assess the likely balance of progressive or regressive elements. Looking at a number of instances, I posit a model of waves of change, where a more open, democratic inclusive period is often followed by a more reactionary counter movement.
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Subject: Curriculum
Available in: English
Appears in: Taboo
Number of editions: 1

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