UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Two approaches to curriculum criticism Menzies, Sandra


Curriculum critics borrow many of their concepts from traditions of criticism and inquiry outside education, and transform these into approaches to curriculum description and evaluation. Though these judge the significance of curriculum, each approach differs from others. The literature on curriculum criticism has not focussed explicitly on these differences or elucidated the similarities. This thesis investigates some commonalities and differences between two approaches, one developed by Elliot Eisner, and one by William Pinar. Specifically, this study investigates the purpose, form and substance of each approach in terms of their presuppositions, the nature of the data, methodological processes, qualities of the finished critique, and the difficulties with reader acceptance. Two sources for data were used: selected literature and the application of the two approaches to the critiquing of a videotaped learning material. Some of the conclusions reached were: Although both investigate the qualities of a curriculum exchange, one approach emphasizes the connoisseur's voice, one approach emphasizes the personal voice. Although the process in both necessitates the presence of the critic in the curriculum exchange, the record of the experience follows a different direction in each case. Accordingly, the methodology in each approach differs beccause the intent of the critic is different. Furthermore, in one approach, because the reader mediates the disclosures, structural corroboration and referential adequacy are stressed; in the other, because personal discovery validates the disclosures, personal experience and voice are stressed.

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