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Autonomy and Interests: The social life of a curriculum

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Abstract

The claim that students should determine their own curricula is examined. If granted, primacy would be given to the autonomy and self‐ascribed interests of the students. The case for student autonomy is discussed in the context of the theory of philosophical anarchism. The anarchist dichotomy of autonomy and authority is criticised. A brief examination of Kant's account of autonomy leads to a rejection of the strong individualism that characterises that dichotomy. It is argued that the curriculum should be the outcome of the shared autonomy of students and teachers; such would serve the interests of students by maximising the autonomy of all. The curriculum would meet the interests of all students, but would not, indeed could not, represent the self‐ascribed interests of each individual.

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... 14 But I strongly suspect the "C-student" still learned more in class and had a more empowering experience, and thus the impact of the average grade may be less important than other lessons learned. 15 Reddiford (1993) claims that an [individualist] anarchist priority in the classroom or curriculum ought to be autonomy; while not unimportant, this prioritizes individual action over collective creativity and collaboration. 16 Rancourt (2007) describes how his students came "on board" to his project of "academic squa ing" a physics course (and then treating it as an activism course). ...
... He argues that " these different deinitions point to one common aspect which stresses that autonomy requires recognition of power and freedom to the teachers in their professional activities " (Ozturk, 2011). Autonomy involves not only making rational decisions of one's work but also " taking of full responsibility of those decisions and for what one consequently does " (Reddiford, 1993, p. 266). Teachers' autonomy does not mean absolute freedom and anarchy (Ozturk, 2011); pursuit of whatever they ind interesting without consideration of stakeholders. ...
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Who is the Autonomous man? Philosophy, 58, 223 Realism, power and objective interests Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Interests Autonomy
  • References Benson
  • J Benton
Autonomy and Interests 275 REFERENCES BENSON, J. (1983) Who is the Autonomous man? Philosophy, 58, 223. BENTON, T. (1982) Realism, power and objective interests, in: K. GRAHAM (Ed.) Contemporary Political Philosophy (Cambridge University Press).