Influential People in Curriculum Development

Prepared for LEAD Thurston County by Eileen Reilich,
Feb 13, 2007

Whose educational philosophy has had a great impact on our educational system

To accompany Slide #7

influential thinker

purpose of education

role of the student in education

role of the teacher in education

role of the teacher in the community




highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding,
because to understand is to be free—– The greatest
good of human life, then, is to understand one’s place in the structure
of the universe as a natural expression of the essence of god.

human behavior results from desire or the perception of pain, so
(like events of any sort) it flows necessarily from the eternal
attributes of thought and extension– speak of moral responsibility
when every human action is determined with rigid necessity? Remember
that, for Spinoza,
freedom is
self-determination, so when I acquire adequate knowledge of the
emotions and desires that are the internal causes of all my actions,
when I understand why I do what I do, then I am truly free.


specific doctrines from
, medieval
and the
Spinoza blended everything together into a comprehensive vision
of the universe as a coherent whole governed solely by the immutable
laws of logical necessity. Rigorous thought reveals that there
can be only a single substance, of which we (and everything else)
are merely insignificant parts.



and educator

original philosophy, called instrumentalism, bears a relationship
to the utilitarian and pragmatic schools of thought. Instrumentalism
holds that the various modes and forms of human activity are instruments
developed by human beings to solve multiple individual and social
problems. Since the problems are constantly changing, the instruments
for dealing with them must also change. Truth, evolutionary in nature,
partakes of no transcendental or eternal reality and is based on
experience that can be tested and shared by all who investigate.

occurs through experimentation and practice.


revolt against abstract learning, Dewey considered education as a
tool that would enable the citizen to integrate culture and vocation
effectively and usefully.


of the United States and



the condition of man is to be progressively ameliorated, as we fondly
hope and believe, education is to be the chief instrument in effecting


W. Bush?


of the United States

the shuffling of children through the system; and building an education
system that prepares children for the demands of the global economy.
The Administration is raising expectations and increasing accountability;
giving local authorities more flexibility with Federal funds; requiring
curricula based on proven methods of successful teaching; and giving
parents options when schools fail.

children can leanr

must be highly qualified in order to teach all children

educated society is a competitive society

Jean Piaget?


Professor of Psychology

  Piaget viewed children as little philosophers and scientists
building their own individual theories of knowledge. best known for reorganizing
cognitive development into a series of stages– the levels of development
corresponding roughly to infancy, pre-school, childhood, and adolescence.
The four stages, which expand earlier work from
Mark Baldwin
, are labeled the Sensorimotor
, which occurs from birth to age
two, the
, which occurs from ages two ,the Concrete
operational stage
, which occurs from
ages seven to and the
Operational stage
, which occurs after
age eleven. Each stage represents the child’s current understanding of
reality; Development from one stage to the next is thus caused by the
accumulation of errors in the child’s understanding of the environment,
an accumulation which eventually causes such cognitive disequilibrium
that thought structures require reorganising.
  “Education, for most people, means trying to lead the
child to resemble the typical adult of his society . . . but for me and
no one else, education means making creators. . . . You have to make
inventors, innovators–not conformists

Lev Vygotsky?


Developmental Psychologist


Vygotsky’s work includes several key concepts, the
most widely-known of which is the
of Proximal Development
(ZPD) which
relates to the gap or difference between what the child can learn unaided
and what he or she can learn with the help of an adult or a more capable
peer. This idea of assisting the learner is known as


Noam Chomsky?


Professor of Linguistics

Teaching should not be compared to filling a bottle with water but
rather to helping a flower to grow in its own way Part of real education
would be to make sure people understand very early on that the burden
of proof is on those who claim the legitimacy of authority.

Humans can come to understand many things
about the nature of the physical world through an arduous process of
controlled inquiry and experimentation extending over many generations
and with the interventions of individual genius. Knowledge is not ability;
it is not explicable in terms of skills, habits, or dispositions. Learning
doesn’t achieve lasting results when you don’t see any point to it. Learning
has to come from the inside. You have to want to learn, if you want to
learn you’ll learn no matter what.

Any good teacher knows methods of instruction and range of materials
covered are matters of small importance as compared with the success
in arousing the natural curiosity of students and stimulating their interest
in exploring on their own. What students discover for themselves will
be remembered and will be basis for further exploration and inquiry and
perhaps significant intellectual contributions. 99% of teaching is making
students feel interested in the material; the other I% has to do with
your methods

A truly democratic community is one in
which general public has the opportunity for meaningful and constructive
participation in the formation of social policy: in their immediate community,
in their workplace, and in society at large.

Who is to be educated?
Who is to be schooled? Everyone should be educated. You want to press
your capacities to the limits. You want to appreciate what you can do

Jürgen Habermas?


Philosopher, political
scientist, and sociologist

Critical pedagogy argues that school practices need to be informed
by a public philosophy that addresses how to construct ideological and
institutional conditions in which the lived experience of empowerment
for the vast majority of student becomes the defining feature of schooling.”

Human interest generates knowledge

Teachers create new forms of knowledge
through emphasis on interdisciplinary knowledge. –raise questions about
the relationships between the margins and centers of power in –reclaiming
power and identity, particularly as these are shaped around the categories
of race, gender, class, and ethnicity–reject the distinction between
high and popular culture so as to make curriculum knowledge responsive
to the everyday knowledge that constitutes peoples’ lived histories differently.–
illuminate the primacy of the ethical in defining the language that teachers
and others use to produce particular cultural practices.

One must become conscious of how
an ideology reflects and distorts reality. and what factors influence
and sustain the false consciousness which it represents especially
reified powers of domination.
Habermas’ ‘perspective
or transformed consciousness is similar
to that of Marx and is akin to that experienced by research into
the way that ‘sexual, racial,
religious, educational, occupational, political economic and technological
create or contribute to our dependency on ‘reified

Maria Montessori?

1870 – 1952). Physician

First the education of the senses, then the education of the intellect–
The essential thing is for the task to arouse such an interest that it
engages the child’s whole personality’

Her aim was that children should become independent, and able to do
things for themselves. She looked to spontaneous self-development, however,

Teachers teach skills not by having children repeatedly try it, but
by developing exercises that prepare them. These exercises would then
be repeated: Looking becomes reading; touching becomes writing. The teacher
was central to deciding what needs are to be addressed and broad activities
to be undertaken.


469BC- 399BC

Philosopher and teacher

The unexamined life is not worth living


Pope John Paul II?



He placed “sanctity” as the single most important priority
of all pastoral activities in the entire Catholic Church– “dependence
of freedom on the truth”. He warned that man “giving himself over to
relativism and skepticism,
goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself”.