Book

Towards a Compulsory Curriculum (1973) Available as individual chapters. See Chapters (1973)

Authors:

Abstract

There is a google books version of part of Towards a Compulsory Curriculum at https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4LIPvsVgCo8C&pg=PP2&lpg=PP2&dq=towards+a+compulsory+curriculum&source=bl&ots=S7hErlO9Le&sig=7lmQrjywd0yY6nfTSc72oyL0_K8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDoQ6AEwA2oVChMI6fXExdL0xgIVaUrbCh3dKQPX#v=onepage&q=towards%20a%20compulsory%20curriculum&f=false Written prior to the introduction of the national curriculum, this volume argued for precisely that: a broad framework of a compulsory education at national level for all schools. The author considers the question of the content of his proposed compulsory curriculum in terms of principles derived from a fundamental ethical position and from an analysis of kinds of human activity that seeks to establish important educational priorities. The discussion covers arguments concerning intrinsically worthwhile activities, the need for a practical component of the curriculum and the priority that humanistic studies should have. It puts forward a case for a new concept of voluntary education, partly on the model of the Pioneer organizations of Eastern Europe, to supplement the compulsory curriculum. More Info: Reissued by Routledge 2011
... Even in school systems where it has been described as a 'non-cognitive activity', as it was by the Munn Report in 1970s' Scotland (Scottish Education Department, 1977), it nevertheless managed to establish itself within the core curriculum, albeit with less curriculum time than the more lauded subjects of English, mathematics and science. There have been some individuals, such as philosopher of education John White (1973), who have vociferously disputed that physical education is in any sense a Educational Philosophy and Theory, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10. 1080/00131857.2013.785352 ...
Article
Full-text available
A models-based approach has been advocated as a means of overcoming the serious limitations of the traditional approach to physical education. One of the difficulties with this approach is that physical educators have sought to use it to achieve diverse and sometimes competing educational benefits, and these wide-ranging aspirations are rarely if ever achieved. Models-based practice offers a possible resolution to these problems by limiting the range of learning outcomes, subject matter and teaching strategies appropriate to each pedagogical model and thus the arguments that can be used for educational value. In this article, two examples are provided to support a case for educational value. This case is built on an examination of one established pedagogical model, Sport Education, which is informed by a perspective on ethics. Next, I consider Physical Literacy which, I suggest, is an existentialist philosophical perspective that could form the basis of a new pedagogical model. It is argued, in conclusion, that a models-based approach along with a reconstructed notion of educational value may offer a possible future for physical education that is well grounded in various philosophical arguments and the means to facilitate a wide range of diverse individual and social educational ‘goods’.
... Policy makers and curriculum writers had been influenced by the work of a number of philosophers of education (eg. Peters, 1966; White, 1973; Hirst, 1974) who, we can recall from earlier in this lecture, had argued that some knowledge was of greater educational worth than other knowledge based on a search for the essence of the concept of Education. These arguments lead policy makers to the view that some school subjects should be regarded as 'core' or essential in the curriculum and others as optional (Lawton, 1983; Skilbeck, 1984). ...
Article
Full-text available
Leeds Metropolitan University "After all, what would be the point of work or of political brinkmanship or, for that matter, of life, if there were no pursuits we humans find intrinsically satisfying that make life worth living in the first place, that is, worth all the struggle and hardship that are an inescapable part of life? And since play, games, and sports are best conceived, as the philosophical literature suggests, as just such intrinsically good things, they are among the most important and serious of human activities, and they are the very activities which things like work derive whatever seriousness they possess. All of which suggests, that when physical educationists endeavour to secure the academic legitimacy of their subject in (…) instrumental ways (…) they are barking up the wrong tree." (Morgan, 2006, p.102) Prologue: A Debate in Scotland, 1954 It is November 1954, and delegates from the Scottish Physical Education Association (the men's association) and the Scottish League of Physical Education (representing the women) are meeting in Edinburgh to discuss 'Physical Education Today and in the Future' (The Leaflet, 56 (1), 1955). The conference is expressly concerned with which of three versions of gymnastics should be taught to boys in Scottish schools. After prolonged and at times heated debate, the delegates could not reach an agreed position and a further four one day meetings were organized. Finally, an outcome is reached: the status quo prevails: the boys are to continue to be taught Swedish gymnastics, which have been the staple of physical education in state run schools since the 1880s. This outcome is ironic, not just because the status quo prevailed following so much debate about the future of physical education. The irony is that in less than a decade Swedish gymnastics had disappeared almost without trace from the school curriculum. A second version, educational gymnastics, survived mainly in primary schools and in physical education programs for girls until the 1980s. The distant third placer in 1954, Olympic gymnastics, emerged during the 1960s to take its place in physical education programs all over Britain, though from the mid 1960s in an increasingly minor role within a sport-dominated curriculum.
... Peters and others (White, 1973; Hirst, 1974 ) were taken seriously by educational policymakers and their advisors (eg., Lawton, 1993; Skilbeck, 1984). While they did not necessarily agree with all of the detail, the curriculum-makers accepted the main implications, such as the possibility of distinguishing between what knowledge should be in the school curriculum and what should not. ...
... The statement that: "Careful planning results in a school curriculum that is connected, coherent, and balanced" (Ministry of Education 2006, p 26) expresses the kind of progressive education sentiment associated with OBE, but there is no explanation of what is meant by "connected, coherent and balanced" and why such qualities should be given preeminence. Based on a liberal/humanist view of education, associated with writers such as Peters (1973), White (1973), Hirst (1974) and Crittenden (1981), an argument can also be put that the school curriculum should be grounded in the academic disciplines, be intellectually rigorous and focused on developing what Brian Crittenden describes as education for rational understanding. The statement in the curriculum draft that: "Curriculum design usually starts with the shared values and beliefs of the community or with an assessment of the learning needs of the students" also belies an unquestioned acceptance of OBE. ...
... on, the problem is acute. How are we to select from the class of intrinsically worthwhile activities? Instrumental justifications at least hold out the possibility of making meaningful comparisons. If we cannot rank activities with respect to their intrinsic worth, perhaps we can rank them with respect to how well they serve some extrinsic purpose. (White, 1973). White is dissatisfied with Peters' hedonistic and transcendental arguments and proposes that we shift our attention from the intrinsic to the educational worth of theoretical activities: ...
Article
Full-text available
R.S. Peters' arguments for the worthwhileness of theoretical activities are intended to justify education per se, on the assumption that education is necessarily a matter of initiating people into theoretical activities. If we give up this assumption, we can ask whether Peters' arguments might serve instead to justify the academic curriculum over other curricular arrangements. For this they would need to show that theoretical activities are not only worthwhile but, in some relevant sense, more worthwhile than activities of other kinds. I argue that Peters' hedonistic and transcendental arguments do not show this, but that his account of theoretical activities is suggestive of an instrumental argument which might fit the bill.
Article
Full-text available
This is the submitted version of the interview published in Theory and Research in Education 16.1. (2018) with minor changes. Mitja Sardoč’s interview with John White discusses a neglected aspect of the educational goal of equipping learners to lead a life of autonomous well-being – trying to ensure that they have adequate options from which to choose worthwhile activities and relationships. Following a brief account of the nature of autonomous well-being, White outlines and critiques Joseph Raz’s views on the adequacy of options in general as well as an earlier inadequate approach of his own to this topic in relation to the school curriculum. He then picks up and critically discusses Eamonn Callan’s curricular suggestions about how to open up a range of options. Drawing on both these discussions, the interview then leads to a threefold proposal about how schools and other agencies could go about providing the adequate range required. The last two short sections underline the wider changes needed in society if the work of these educational institutions is to bear fruit.
Article
Full-text available
Co-written with Patricia White. An account in Belorussian of political aspects of philosophy of education in Britain
Article
This paper aims to question anew the popular and supposedly self-evident affirmation of education, in its modern incarnation as in its historical notion. The “naive” questions suggest that we have recently taken for granted that education ought to be for the masses, that it ought to be upbringing, and that it is better than ignorance. Drawing on the tradition that calls such an understanding of education into question, the author shows that the hidden costs of disregarding such reflection end up, camouflaged and smuggled, taxing the current debates regarding generally accepted education strategies. The characteristic feeling of the currently accepted model of education being in chronic crisis is less a testament to an absence of alternative approaches than to a lack of thorough self-reflection.
Article
This article is based on an analysis of two types of argument, called utilitarian and educational respectively, which are commonly used to justify the teaching of modern/foreign languages in schools. Serious flaws are identified in the utilitarian arguments often employed to defend the teaching of modern languages and different educational arguments which might be offered as justification for their inclusion in the school curriculum are distinguished and appraised. The paper concludes with a consideration of the implications of the foregoing analysis for the place of modern languages in the school curriculum.
Article
Full-text available
Richard Peters argued for a general education based largely on the study of truth-seeking subjects for its own sake. His arguments have long been acknowledged as problematic. There are also difficulties with Paul Hirst's arguments for a liberal education, which in part overlap with Peters'. Where justification fails, can historical explanation illuminate? Peters was influenced by the prevailing idea that a secondary education should be based on traditional, largely knowledge-orientated subjects, pursued for intrinsic as well as practical ends. Does history reveal good reasons for this view? The view itself has roots going back to the 16th century and the educational tradition of radical Protestantism. Religious arguments to do with restoring the image of an omniscient God in man made good sense, within their own terms, of an encyclopaedic approach to education. As these faded in prominence after 1800, old curricular patterns persisted in the drive for ‘middle-class schools’, and new, less plausible justifications grew in salience. These were based first on faculty psychology and later on the psychology of individual differences. The essay relates the views of Peters and Hirst to these historical arguments, asking how far their writings show traces of the religious argument mentioned, and how their views on education and the development of mind relate to the psychological arguments.
Article
Like many readers of this journal, I have long been an advocate of having science students introduced to philosophy of science. In particular, influenced by the Philosophy for Children movement founded by Matthew Lipman, I have advocated such an introduction as early as possible and have championed early secondary school as an appropriate place. Further, mainstream science curricula in a number of countries have, for some time now, supported such introductions (albeit of a more limited sort) under the banner of introducing students to the “Nature of Science”. In this paper, I explore a case against such introductions, partly in role as “Devil’s Advocate” and partly exploring genuine qualms that have come to disturb me. Generally speaking, my judgement is that no justification is available in terms of benefit to the individual or to society of sufficient weight to outweigh the loss of freedom of choice involved in such forced learning. One possible exception is a minimalist and intellectually passive “Nature of Science” introduction to some uncontroversial philosophical views about science.
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides an outline about the basic ideas of the capability approach. It will be argued that the capability approach is able to provide an appropriate approach in order to evaluate educational and social human services. As an egalitarian approach to social justice, the capability approach has particular strengths when issues concerning the actual life-conduct of tangible human beings come to the fore. In particular educational aspects of welfare and well-being might thus be well grounded on the Aristotelian reasoning of the capability approach. The paper focuses on the potentially fruitful relations of the capability approach and the philosophy and practice of ‘just’ education referring to the idea of the autonomy of life-practice.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.