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Article

Curriculum History  

Kelly P. Vaughan

The field of curriculum studies in the United States has transformed from an area of study primarily concerned with curriculum development in schools to one focused on understanding and theorizing curriculum inside and outside of schools. Since the 1960s, the field of curriculum studies also has become more historical. Curriculum history, as a subset of curriculum studies, originated during the reconceptualization of curriculum studies and debates about revisionism within those studying histories of education. The field of curriculum history emerged with a range of perspectives (revisionist, critical, international, postmodern), areas of focus (intellectual histories, single event accounts, biographies, institutional practices), and source materials. The differences in both theoretical perspectives and methodologies require that we move away from the idea of a singular account of curriculum history and toward the concept of a multiplicity of curriculum histories. In the period of post-reconceptualized curriculum studies, curriculum historians have moved the field in multiple methodological and theoretical directions. The areas of curriculum studies and curriculum history continue to develop and change. There are efforts to create a more international understanding of curriculum history. There are also efforts to move beyond linear narratives of progress and revisionist efforts to speak into this field’s silences. Within this complex field, curriculum studies scholars and curriculum historians will continue to grapple with the relationships of past, present, and future; with connections between theory and practice; and with expanding (both geographically and epistemologically) ways of understanding.

Article

Interdisciplinary Expansion and the History of Education in Sweden  

Johannes Westberg

The field of the history of education in Sweden has distinct features, yet also shares common characteristics with the history of education in other countries. As elsewhere, it has developed from being a field mainly occupied by schoolmen in the early 20th century to a research field firmly entrenched in the humanities and social sciences from the 1960s and onward. Like in other countries, the topics and theoretical frameworks have multiplied, making the history of education into a broad field of research. There are, however, several features that stand out in an international context. Most important, the history of education in Sweden has expanded in terms of active researchers and output since the early 2000s due to the favorable conditions in Swedish higher education presented in this article. It has also never developed into a discipline of its own but instead has remained multidisciplinary, with a strong base in the disciplines of education and history. As a result, the history of education in Sweden has remained quite independent from the international field. While it is certainly possible to identify the impact of various international trends, including those of the new cultural history of education, the history of education in Sweden is marked by the disciplines that it is part of. From this follows that this national field is less determined by international associations, conferences and journals, and the so-called turns that one might identify in these. Instead, it is the Swedish context of educational research, Swedish curriculum theory, social history, economic history, history education, sociology of education, and child studies that provide the history of education in Sweden with a character of its own—that is, a field with research groups, conferences, workshops, and a journal that encompasses several research fields.

Article

Histories and Theories in Childhood Studies  

Lisa Farley and Debbie Sonu

Childhood studies is an interdisciplinary area of theory and research comprised of intersecting fields that have evolved since the inception of childhood itself. Despite the pervasiveness of psychological frameworks that predominate early studies of childhood and that continue to dominate within teacher education programs, paradigmatic shifts within childhood studies have opened critical questions about the exclusive social norms, racial privileges, and unequal life chances maintained by the idea of childhood as a biologically determined and universal stage of life. Across a range of perspectives, critical scholarship in childhood studies begins with the idea that childhood is a social and historical construction tied to colonial discourses and ongoing injustices that have material effects on children’s lives. Drawing on the fields of history, sociology, postcolonial studies, psychoanalysis, and educational theory, scholars of childhood show how childhood is inextricably bound to philosophical ideals, political forces, social constructs, and emotional conflicts. In identifying and interrogating the ways that race, class, ability, gender, and sexuality affect and limit meanings of childhood, scholars open new metaphors for rethinking social life, development, belonging, relationality, and existence as such.

Article

Higher Education Curriculum in the United States  

John Rury and Susan Twombly

The American collegiate curriculum has undergone significant change in the past two centuries. From its beginning through much of the 19th century a classical curricular approach prevailed, focusing on ancient languages and the liberal arts, while favoring recitation and debate as instructional modalities. The rise of “land-grant” institutions with a focus on practical instruction in agriculture, engineering, and military sciences in the later 19th century was a harbinger of change. It was followed by the rise of research institutions and comprehensive universities that further emphasized the importance of practical and professional education. The adoption of an elective approach to course-taking and the development of college majors led to debates about core curricula and the need for general education. Following publication of the famous Harvard Red Book in 1948, a broad consensus regarding the need for a liberal arts core emerged in the postwar era and has broadly persisted. Since the 1980s, new debates have emerged about the content of the core and curricular innovations intended to augment student learning. Older content representing a “canon” of received knowledge or wisdom has been challenged by proponents of non-Western, feminist, or oppressed minority perspectives, not always successfully. New instructional modalities, including online and “flipped” courses, have also impacted longstanding curricular practices. New models for assessing and planning collegiate curricula also have emerged. But if a particular theme has predominated in such changes, it is that student and societal demands for more practical and marketable learning outcomes have continued to exert an outsized influence on the ever evolving American collegiate curriculum.

Article

Curriculum Theory and Historical Connections  

Thomas S. Poetter

Curriculum studies has paid attention to its history through writings, conference presentations, and the development of professional and personal relationships in the field over the course of many decades. As contemporary scholarship and educational practices take shape, they are built on ideas and practices of the past, of course. One commitment of scholar-practitioners engaged in curriculum studies is to work across the field to understand the nature of movements in thought and practice as they manifest in the field’s literature and have an impact (or not) on educational entities where teaching and learning take place. The author offers a description of an ongoing curriculum project with doctoral students that has historical implications for the curriculum field and represents an example of this ongoing, complicated conversation in the field of curriculum studies. Students work with the author during a course on curriculum theory to create research essays examining books from the curriculum field, ultimately producing volumes of their work for current consumption by scholars. Their article treatments of past, historic curriculum books and the entire project are meant to challenge and reclaim the foundational ideas imbedded in the field of curriculum studies. The author discusses the nature of the work at hand, historical implications of the current work, and the potential the project poses for future work.

Article

Oral History Illustrated by the Case of Cyprus  

Nicoletta (Niki) Christodoulou, Miranda Christou, and Maria Hadjipavlou

Oral history offers unique meaning for curriculum studies by presenting, analyzing, and interpreting experiences and memories of participants in an educational situation. The situation and context of Cyprus, an island with protracted conflicts and ethnical division, provides sites of illustration for oral history in curriculum studies. Couched in an historical background of oral history and definitions, as well as characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of narrative inquiry, the essence and application of oral history can be conveyed through the case of Cyprus. Oral history projects undertaken in Cyprus are conveyed, with prominent reference to the Cyprus Oral History Project (COHP), which has delineated the nuances of language, performance, and creation of pedagogical spaces. For example, COHP established a link among oral history, curriculum, instruction, and education, which has been used in Cyprus to understand memory as curriculum and to rethink issues of language and curricular questions in light of the knowledge drawn from oral histories. Further, oral history projects in Cyprus have delineated refugee trauma through the description of loss, painful memories, and silence; how narratives worked as significant evidence and material in conflict and reconciliation workshops; and the importance of the gender lens of oral history in Cyprus. The themes of cultivating historical consciousness, shaping responses to conflict, discomforting pedagogy, memory and trauma, and their role in the reunification process have been explored extensively through such projects; yet, more extensive work needs to be done. The number of oral history projects is still limited, yet there is still so much to be uncovered through people’s narrations. In the case of Cyprus, oral history is considered as a source of information about ordinary people’s lives but also for the role it can play in understanding how being dispossessed and returning to the homeland can reconstruct and reorganize education and culture. The uses of oral history to understand curriculum in Cyprus is offered as an example for modified use for exploring a broader sphere of curriculum studies in other settings.

Article

Intellectual Property and Education  

John Willinsky

Concerns about intellectual property in education typically involve administrative interest in improving institutional compliance with copyright and patent laws. The focus on compliance, rather than on intellectual property as an area of educational inquiry for students raises two questions: Are educational institutions adequately preparing students (a) to participate in a global economy that is increasingly driven by intellectual property and (b) for a future in which the creation and distribution of intellectual property is being reshaped by the emerging digital era? The educational value of intellectual property begins, however, with history of the concept in which learning played a strong role in giving shape to the idea of text as an intangible good associated with distinct properties, rights, and responsibilities, with all of this taking place well before the 18th-century introduction of the modern concepts of copyright and patent law. In light of this history and its contemporary standing, intellectual property has much to offer as a way for students and teachers to gain insight into the nature of creative work in relation to private property and the public domain. While education benefits from exceptions made for “fair use” and other exemptions in copyright law, the digital era has seen the introduction of new intellectual property strategies that support the collective educational enterprise, including Creative Commons licensing, open educational resources, open access to research, and open source software. While intellectual property has played a small part in business education and composition classes in the past, a number of innovative programs now involve students in different approaches to balancing the private and public interests associated with this concept, suggesting the value that intellectual property holds, as a teachable topic, for the curriculum and for thinking, more broadly, about education’s role as a public good.

Article

Learning in History  

Liliana Maggioni and Emily Fox

At first glance, learning in history might be characterized as committing to memory sanctioned stories about the past. Yet a deeper consideration of this process opens up several questions about the specific features that make the generation of shared knowledge about the past possible and meaningful. Some of these questions regard the very object of such learning: What makes specific aspects of the past historically significant? What relations among people, events, and phenomena are especially salient in fostering understanding of the past? Another set of questions regards the affective and cognitive traits and abilities that characterize a successful learner in history. Researchers from different countries have worked at the intersection between history, history education, and educational psychology, and have investigated how experts and novices address historical questions on the basis of sources provided to them, identifying certain differences in their strategy use, their ability to contextualize information gleaned from the sources, their use of prior knowledge, and their ideas about the nature of historical knowledge and historical evidence. Researchers have also studied the influence that learners’ epistemic beliefs, school curricula, pedagogical practices, testing, and classroom discourse may have on student learning in history. By their variety, these studies have illustrated the complex nature of learning in history and evidenced several tensions among educational goals and between these goals and educational practices in the 21st century.

Article

Homeschooling in the United States: Growth With Diversity and More Empirical Evidence  

Brian D. Ray

Homeschooling (home education) is parent-directed, family-based education, and is typically not tax-funded, with parents choosing assistance from other individuals or organizations. Home-based education was nearly extinct in the United States by the 1970s but grew rapidly during the 1990s to about 2.6 million K–12 homeschool students in March of 2020 to then about 5 million in March of 2021. The demographic variety among homeschooling families rapidly increased during the 2000s to the point that in 2016, 41% of homeschool students were of ethnic minority background, with about 79% of those living in nonpoor households, and with parents’ formal education levels similar to national averages. Since the early 2000s, parents’ main reasons for homeschooling have shifted from an emphasis on religious or moral instruction to a somewhat more emphasis on concern about institutional school environments and the academic instruction in schools. Empirical research shows that the home educated, on average, perform above average in terms of academic achievement, social and emotional development, and success into adulthood (including college studies). However, there is scholarly debate about whether enough well-controlled studies have confirmed these overall benefits. Some theories have been proposed to explain the apparent positive effects. They include the concept that elements such as high levels of parental involvement, one-on-one instruction, low student-to-teacher ratios, effective use of time, more academic learning time, customization of learning experiences, and a safe and comfortable learning environment that are systemically a part of home-based education are conducive to children thriving in many ways. However, more research is needed to test these theories.

Article

Drama in Education and Applied Theater, from Morality and Socialization to Play and Postcolonialism  

Kathleen Gallagher, Nancy Cardwell, Rachel Rhoades, and Sherry Bie

The field of drama education and applied theater is best understood through a consideration of the major developments and aspirations that have shaped its trajectory over three historical periods: the latter years of the 19th century up until 1960, between 1960 and 1990, and the years encompassing the turn of the 21st century, 1990–2015, which was a decidedly more globalized epoch. The drama education/applied theater scholarship of the English-speaking world, including the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and North America, offers a fascinating distillation of the relationship between making drama and learning, including the history of alternative forms of education. Scholarship from Asia drawing on traditional forms of theater-making, as well as imported and adapted structures of Western drama education movements, speak to hybrid and ever-expanding practices across the globe. Although young as a discipline within the academy, drama education/applied theater has all but made up for its relative immaturity by spanning a wide domain of multidisciplinary thinking, embracing an eclectic theoretical field that covers an enormous breadth of social issues and a vast range of learning theories, while straddling a compelling spectrum of political positions. The development of the field is infused with pioneering ideas that broke with entrenched historical traditions and habitual ways of learning, harkening toward new ways of thinking, being, relating, and creating. Taking the world as its source material and humanity as its target audience, the history of the progressive discipline of drama education/applied theater tells the story of an ambitious, flawed, idealized, politicized, divisive, and deeply humanistic scholarly and practice-driven field.