The terms I had the most difficulty defining from the exercise were Postmodern and Existential/Psychoanalytical curriculum theory. I find that these theories assume a class body which I understand intellectually but have difficulty imagining. In Scenario 6 (AIU, 2006) about postmodernism where the teacher is discussing how technology furthers cultural elitism, this would require a very advanced class of students. It is an approach which would only really impact 11th and 12th graders who have studied history and understand cultural elitism.
In addition, even if the students have studied the history, the material requires experience the students have only caught glimpses of. Certainly a discussion a little above the students comfort zone would lead to critical thinking, but it runs the risk of this vulnerable age using the belief that technology will somehow lead to oppression to stop them from seeing how it could lead to equalization of inequality. A postmodern approach would take a special teacher and a special set of students to be effective.
The problem I had with the Existential/Psychoanalytical theory of Scenario 7 (AIU, 2006) is that it assumes that you as a teacher really know a student. What a teacher observes of their student may not be accurate, and it takes a dedicated teacher to take the necessary time to understand what direction a student should take their potential. Students have great potential for many diverse things from, for example, being great artists or activists or sports commentators.
Teachers must examine their own biases to make sure that they are not encouraging one potential over another due to cultural, sexual or racial biases and perceptions. Similarities and differences among theories. Walker’s deliberative approach to curriculum development is similar to a postmodern approach. In both approaches it is assumed that curriculum is shaped by particular beliefs and values held by curriculum makers.
For the deliberative approach these biases are mitigated by the makers open discussion of beliefs and values and attempt to come to neutral ground before designing the curriculum (Scenario 3). In postmodernism, the teacher allows the receivers of the curriculum to provide input on and conceptualize the effects of the curriculum before it is implemented (Scenario 6). The Existential/Psychoanalytical approach, Hilda Taba’s approach, Eisner’s approach and the Autobiographical/Biographical approach to curriculum development all share a central tenant that students are individuals.
However, Existential/ Psychoanalytical theory optimistically focuses on nurturing who the student will be in the future (AIU, 2006, Scenario 7) while Taba’s needs assessment tends to focus on present deficiencies (AIU, 2006, Scenario 5). In contrast, the Autobiographical/Biographical theory focuses on how human differences in experience shape the developmental journey from the present to the future (AIU, 2006, Scenario 4). Eisner is more Autobiographical in theory but focuses on providing the right opportunity to learn rather than strict direction (AIU, 2006, Scenario 1).