UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dreams of woken souls: the relationship between culture and curriculum Caddick, Airini Rosalind Milnes


This text is a venture in honoring principles manifest within conversations for being related. It focuses upon the relationship between culture and curriculum, combining academic discourse relating to the construction of identity, policy and curriculum with conversations undertaken with 42 members of a school community in Aotearoa New Zealand; the intention being to inform the project of teaching culture. This study contributes to curriculum theory by describing a 'language' for the processes and purposes of culture in education, and by modeling the principles of that 'language.' The 'language' describes the tone for conversations for being related, the assumption being that the speakers will contribute their own vocabulary. Principles of the suggested language include the following 'tonal' qualities: • adopting a global perspective of culture that honors particularities of the local context; • incorporating many ways of knowing culture and expressing that knowing; • developing non-oppositional interpretations of cultural difference; • perceiving the teaching of culture as a collaborative, long-term, holistic project; • affirming the coexistence of change and constancy in understandings of culture; • making explicit the teacher's curricular contribution to understandings of culture; • respecting the voices of community, voices that may amend and stand alongside the academic canon. In conclusion, this study suggests that while an initial premise of fluidity and complexity in understandings of culture is present in academic and community sources, so too are principles of constancy which emphasize relatedness. In order that these principles may inform understandings of culture in the teaching of culture, a revisionary perspective is needed towards the canon (particularly the sources of knowledge to be regarded as authoritative), and towards the research, interpretation and representation of understandings of culture. The development of a 'language for being related' is suggested as one way in which teacher and researcher understandings of culture might embrace diversity and equity issues in curriculum. This project contributes to the much needed discussion on ways in which 'culture' might work to promote a philosophy of education that combines many ways of knowing in conversations for being related.

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