International Handbook of Curriculum Research

By William F. Pinar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 24
Curriculum Research:
Evolution and Outlook in Mexico
Ángel Díaz Barriga
National Autonomous University of Mexico

Like other disciplinary groups of educational sciences that have to do with the school system, the field of curriculum is an outstandingly practical domain. Scholarly reflection about education becomes concrete in action, and this is the reason that historically many parts of educational sciences have been considered as completely lacking in theoretical dimension, which is not acceptable at all.

It is also generally accepted that educational disciplines can be classified into theoretical and practical—a separation that does not necessarily reflect what happens, neither in the conceptual constitution of the research field nor in practice, and this distinction is observable in the entire history of education. This separation was first expressed at the beginning of this century by Durkheim (1979),1 who came to consider the professor as a practitioner, entirely different from the person who has conceptual responsibility to build the educational knowledge.2 All this contributed, in my view, to the conceptual impoverishment of those disciplines.

What we call the field of curriculum is fully concerned with this problem. The first tension comes from the absence of an appropriated articulation between theory and practice. On the one hand, there was a trend that only worried about the technical dimension of the formulation of plans and programs and its development in the classrooms; the other tradition, as a reaction to a reductionist technicality, began to build up an exclusively conceptual discourse in many instances rather remote from practice.

____________________
1
Se puede ser un perfecto educador y ser, sin embargo, completamente incapaz para las especulaciones de la pedagogía. …El pedagogo puede carecer de toda habilidad práctica; no habríamos confiado una clase a Rousseau, ni a Montaigne” (“Someone may be a perfect educator and nevertheless be completely unable to reach the high spheres of pedagogical speculation. …The pedagogue can be completely lacking in practical ability: we would never have entrusted a class to Rousseau nor Montaigne, ” my translation).
2
The German tradition of pedagogy granted an important place to theory in the teacher's job. That is what Herbart demanded in 1806: “He exigido del educador ciencia y reflexión. No me importa que la ciencia sea para los demás como unos lentes, para mí es como unos ojos y los mejores sin duda que tienen los hombres para mirar sus asuntos. …La pedagogía es la ciencia que necesita el educador para sí mismo” (“I require from the educator science and reflection. I don't care about the fact that science is considered by the others like glasses, for me it is like eyes, and certainly the best eyes that people have to look at their business. … Pedagogy is the science the educator needs for himself, ” my translation).

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