Curriculum Theory and Practice

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2011064

Semester to which offered: IISemester

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr.Gunjan Sharma (C)

Email of course


Aim: The course is intended to engage the students with the theory and practice of curriculum in the Indian context. The aim is to enable them to reflect on the nature of ‘curriculum’ with respect to its location in educational practice and thinking. In doing so, the course engages with the varied stakes involved in the envisioning, development and transaction of school curriculum, and how these stakes get played out in educational policy and practice. These explorations further facilitate reflecting on the idea of education, its institutional form and aims, and how a ‘learner’ is situated in this context. The foundational perspectives in education facilitate these pursuits. In this sense, this course is also one of the components in the MA Education programme where the foundational perspectives converge.

Course outcomes:

By the end of this course the students will be able to:

  • Identify different positions on the debates around the institutional education
  • Analyse the assumptions underlying curriculum documents using their understanding of models of curriculum planning
  • Critically read literature and policy texts on curricular issues in schools
  • Propose initial solutions to curricular issues while debating different alternative approaches to school curriculum.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Unit 1: Idea of institutional education and curriculum:

This unit will initiate the students into thinking about the idea of institutional education, the institution called school and the educational design called curriculum.

Unit 2: Society and school knowledge:

This unit will explore how society, school and curriculum are related and how conception of society reflects in conceptions of curriculum.

Unit 3: Curriculum development: Processes and debates:

This unit would focus on the seminal debates around and perspectives on curriculum development. The idea is to introduce the processes through which a curriculum emerges and the varied stakes involved therein.

Unit 4: Classrooms, pedagogy and curriculum:

The objective of this unit is to engage with transaction of curriculum in school contexts. It will focus on the relation between teachers and learners with a focus on understanding how curricular experiences are shaped in everyday classrooms as situated within the institutional and social context.

Unit 5: Curricular reform and ‘alternative’ education:

The central purpose of this module is to engage with curricular reform and ‘alternatives’ to ‘mainstream’ education. The module would do so by focusing on themes like – curriculum changes and shifts, agency of child, notion of quality of education, compulsory schooling, and the like.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Class participation and attendance: 10%
  • One group work assignment: 25% (Early-mid February)
  • One individual assignment: 30% (Mid-Late March)
  • End-term examination: 35% (AUD-SES schedule)

Indicative Reading List:

  • National Council of Educational Research and Training. (2006). Position paper: National focus group on aims of education, (MrinalMiri, Chairman). National Council of Educational Research and Training, Delhi, India.
  • Kumar, K. (1992). What is worth teaching? In What is worth teaching (pp. 1 – 22). Delhi: Orient Longman
  • Dhankar, R. (2003). Aims of Education: Policy documents and demands of democracy
  • Egan, K. (2003). What is curriculum? Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 1(1), pp. 66-72.
  • Young, M. (2007). What are schools for? Education Sociology, 28 (101), pp. 1287-1302.
  • Kumar, Krishna. (1999). Listening to Gandhi. In What is worth teaching? pp. 111 - 128. New Delhi: Orient Longman. (or Kumar, K. (1998). BuniyadiShikshakiprasangigkta. Shikshavimarsha)
  • Tagore, Rabindranath (1951/2000). What is real education? In Devi Prasad (Ed.) Rabindranath Tagore philosophy of education and painting, pp. 43 – 50. New Delhi: NBT.
  • National Council of Educational Research and Training. (2005). National Curriculum Framework, (Yash Pal, Chairman). National Council of Educational Research and Training, Delhi, India. (Foreword, acknowledgement, executive summary and the steering committee description)
  • National Council of Educational Research and Training. (2006). Position paper: National focus group on curriculum syllabus and textbook, (RohitDhankar, Chairman). National Council of Educational Research and Training, Delhi, India. (Summary)
  • Posner, G. J. (1998). Models of curriculum planning. In L. E. and M. W. Apple (Eds.) The curriculum: Problems, politics and possibilities (2nd ed.) (pp. 79-91). New York: Sunny Press.
  • Anderson, L W and Krathwohl, DR (eds) (2001) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Addison Wesley Longman).
  • Apple, M. W. (1993). The Politics of Official Knowledge: Does a National Curriculum Make Sense? Teachers College Record Volume 95, Number 2, Winter, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Kumar, K. (1988). Origins of India's "Textbook Culture". Comparative Education Review, Vol. 32 (4), pp. 452-464.
  • Ahvaan trust and Ambedkar University, Delhi. (forthcoming). Teachers in conversation. Proceedings of two focus group discussions with teachers.
  • Apple, M.W. and Beane, J. A. (2007). Democratic schools: Lessons in powerful education (2nd ed.). Heinmann.
  • Pathak, A. (2002). Mirambika: An alternative school. In Social implications of schooling: Knowledge, pedagogy and consciousness (pp. 166 – 235). Noida: Rainbow Publishers.
  • Vineeta, Sood. (2012). Foreword to Indian edition. In J. T. Gatto, Weapons of mass instruction: A school teacher’s journey through the dark world of compulsory schooling, pp. vii-xiv. Indore: Banyan Tree.
  • Documentaries: Summerhill; HSTP

Textbooks/ Books for reference:

  • Kelly, A.V. (2009). The curriculum theory and practice. Sage.
  • Marsh, C. J. (2004). Key concepts for understanding curriculum (3rd ed.). London: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Flinders, D. J. and Thorton, S. J. (Eds.). (2009). The curriculum studies reader (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.