Thoughts on Adopting Curriculum from Other Countries

The trouble with adopting a curriculum from another country (or even from any different setting in this country or state, etc.) is that the contexts of what is relevant, meaningful, etc. change. However, it all depends on what assumptions we’re basing our ideas of education. If we see education as merely taking in fragmented pieces of knowledge and spitting it back out again, then that could be implemented anywhere. At the other end of the spectrum, if we see education as a personal and social process of developing understandings of highly interconnected and complex “knowledges” that are, in turn, connected to the betterment of society and to personal growth as human beings with a wide range of potentialities, then there is no way we can use one set curriculum across contexts of any kind. The other aspect to this is that the role and view of the teacher varies. At one end of the spectrum (same end at the first end in the last statement), the teacher is viewed as a technician who can mindlessly implement a scripted or other highly structured curriculum document. At the other end of the continuum, teaching is viewed as a personal process of engaging with diverse students in a process of producing knowledge and taking social action. If we view the teacher as a technician, we really could hire anyone off the streets (we’re doing this with “Teach for America” already). In fact, most ideas of online classes take the positions that are first mentioned on these two ends of the continuums.


About Jeff Bloom

I’m a Researcher with and am on the Advisory Board of the International Bateson Institute and am a professor emeritus with the Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education, Northern Arizona University.

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