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Archive for June, 2011

When a teacher is told that he/she will be teaching a new course next year, the first step in planning is to consult curriculum documents and previous course outlines to see what is to be taught in the course.  However, the education that a student in that teachers class will not be planned and implemented solely on what is in the document.  The curriculum documents outline what objectives a student must meet in order to succeed in the course.  How one decides to implement that guide by teaching is not found on any page.  Ted Aoki describes the relation and complication between curriculum-as-planned and curriculum-as-lived in his lecture “Legitimating Lived Curriculum: Toward a Curricular Landscape of Multiplicity”.

Aoki begins his discussion on lived curriculum by telling a story that explains how Science students in a University course are displeased with the outcome of their course because it was boring, not about the real world and over-emphasized skills.  Aoki’s ‘story’ was his introduction into his comments on “curriculum as planned” and “curriculum as lived”.  Curriculum-as-planned is best described as the work of curriculum planners, usually written outside the classroom. Curriculum-as-planned is forming statements of what students and teachers should do in the classroom, recommended resources as well as information regarding evaluation (Aoki, 2005).  However, as all practicing teachers know, the curriculum does not detail what will actually happen in the classroom.  How we interpret the curriculum-as-planned can vary, our experiences may be different every time, and every student and teacher may interpret the curriculum in a different way.  Aoki (2005) describes the other curriculum as a multiplicity of lived curriculum that a teacher and his/her pupils experience.  There can be many lived curriculums that can vary and be different in every classroom.  It is difficult for a teacher to plan a course without knowing the dynamics of the classroom.  A course can easily change if one has a large number of students with learning disabilities or if many of the students displayed gifted qualities.  With their own previous experiences in mind, the teacher reader who acknowledges Aoki’s discussion can relate to their own lived experiences of bringing the curriculum to life, bringing to light the concept of lived curriculum.

To bring curriculum-as-planned and curriculum-as-lived into another complex form is the idea of multiplicity.  Aoki (2005) states that curriculum and instrumentalism is very predominant in the fabric of curriculum work.  The curriculum-as-planned and curriculum-as-lived is essentially the curriculum and implementation of said curriculum.  Aoki (2005) writes about a teachers place in the midst of multiplicity of curriculum, between both the lived and the planned.  Essentially as teachers when designing our courses we should try to encompass both methods; what is given in the form of a written document as well as plan to implement that material so that it is experienced by both the teacher and students, rather than just stated in front of the classroom.  We, as teachers, Aoki (2005) writes of the “significance of allowing space for stories, anecdotes, and narratives that embody the lived dimension of curriculum life”.  As the students who complained about their science course, the teacher in the multiplicity of curriculum should be bringing the curriculum to life and engage the classroom.

Curriculum is commonly developed by writers in an office environment away from the classroom.  These curriculum planners plan for faceless people, Aoki (2005) writes, without acknowledging their uniqueness.  In the lived curriculum, students are the “faces of others”.  Aoki (2005) describes the difference between “self/other”, summarizing with a question of “Is this pedagogic leading a pedagogic wisdom that comes to thoughtful teachers who, in the midst of the practice of teaching, listen with care to the voice of the silent other” (p. 213).  A thought about the teachers responsibility to the student rather than simply leading because the teacher knows best is a pondering note to any teacher.

What one can take from Aoki’s thoughts on curriculum-as-planned and curriculum-as-lived is careful consideration of how one plans to do a job that essentially has no manual: teaching.

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