The Vocational Quest: New Directions in Education and Training

By Malcolm Skilbeck; Helen Connell et al. | Go to book overview

3

THE CORE LEARNINGS CHALLENGE

[T]here must be a complete rethinking of the domains of human experience to be encountered commonly by children and youth in their progress through school toward effective, satisfying lives as citizens, parents, workers, and thoughtful participants in their culture.

(Goodlad, 1986, p.27)


INTRODUCTION

It is necessary to transcend the fruitless debates about which discrete subjects or topics to include in or exclude from the core curriculum, such debates leading inevitably towards a hardening of established academic positions and the politics of pressure groups and lobbies, while generally bypassing the wide range of curricular and pedagogical issues facing educational systems (Gorter, 1986; Skilbeck, 1990). A more strategic and creative approach is required, in order to address the relationship of the curriculum to educational goals, objectives and values, to account for the perspective of the learner and to ensure that there is a considered response to changes and issues in the broad social-cultural-economic context of education. Certain dimensions and aspects of the core curriculum are particularly salient in the vocational debate. These include core competences and skills, giving rise to a set of issues bridging the ‘schooling’ and ‘working life’ models of education and training.


DEVELOPING THE MEANING OF CORE CURRICULUM

There is a long history of core curriculum discussion and debate and, as a result, several ways in which we can think about ‘core curriculum’ (Skilbeck, 1985). All have their place, but they should not be confused with one another.

First, core can be analysed administratively, with explicit reference to the institutional or system-wide setting in or through which the contents and

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