Schiro: Curriculum Theory – Part 1: Scholar Academic Ideology

These are my study notes from Michael Stephen Schiro’s Curriculum Theory – Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns (2nd edition, 2013).I have a tendency of writing notes for myself as I read through my course literature, it helps me remember things and make sense too. I thought I post these here in case you’re interested in curriculum theories (like, who wouldn’t be, right?) and are interested in reading the book but can’t find right now or whatever.

Now, first Schiro introduces four curriculum ideologies: scholar academic, social efficiency, learner centered and social reconstrucion ideology. Here I’ve written what I thought were the important bits of Scholar Academic Ideology that hopefully help me remember all that I need to know to pass my tests.

Scholar Academic Ideology

–       It all comes down to: academic disciplines. The Goal of this ideology is: induction of the child into an academic discipline.

–       learning to think and behave like university academians do.

–       do not embody just a back-to-basics, get tough, content-oriented approach BUT ->  translate the discipline into experiences that acculturate children into the discipline by both teaching the knowledge AND enabling them to think, behave and feel as members of the discipline.

–       ”a curricula embodies a portion of a discipline”

–       subject matters, its the essence of the discipline -> central concern while creating curricula, other concerns are secondary (society, learner, learning process)

–       for every school subject, there must be a corresponding academic discipline

–       Immediate demands (physical, social, economic or political) should NOT influence what occurs in schools.

–       The school is to have as its highest priority the cultivation of the human mind as expressed within the academic disciplines…

–       …THUS schools are NOT to include occupational, professional, vocational, technical, commercial, agricultural, business, industrial or home-making training for children.

–       ”A man’s essence is summed up by his ability to think”.

–       The worlds of intellect, knowledge and the academic disciplines are viewed as roughly equivalent in terms of both what they  include and exclude.

–       Academic disciplines:

  • Defined area of study
  • the collection of facts, writings and other works
  • a community of individuals whose ultimate task is the gaining of meaning

–       Scholars -> teachers -> students

–       Search for knowledge <—-> dissemination of knowledge

–       Curriculum Issues:

  • Identifying separate disciplines and determining the nature of each and deciding the relationships among them.
  • What is the actual essence of an academic discipline?
  • How to cope with the changing nature of any discipline?
  • How students should learn the discipline?
  • How the discipline discovers new knowledge?

–       Historical context:

  • other educatiors associate academic ideology with traditional education and with an ”imaginary traditional classroom”.
  • Scholar Academics do not want education to be sterile, regimented and boring.
  • Academic education for everyone = great equalizer of democracy that allows children from all socioeconomic classes to compete for success.

–       Aims:

  • Extend the academic disciplines and
    • preserve the existence of the disciplines by guaratneeing that there exist future members of said discipline.
    • building literacy of the disciplines’ knowledge within the general population.
  • These aims are rather vague and intangible, and do not specify why a particular item is included in the curriculum.
  • Scholar Academics assume a priori that the benefits of being acculturated into the world of the intellect need no pragmatic defence.

–       Knowledge

  • knowledges ables you to understand the world (contrast to giving people, for example, the ability to do things etc.)
  • knowledge takes the form of both content and process. It means both ”what which is known” and ”the way in which something is known”.

–       The Child

  • Scholar academics are concerned more with the curriculum content than with the child.
  • the child = child’s mind = creature of intellect

–       Learning

  • Learning <—> teaching
    • in the core of academic disciplines
    • learning is a function of teaching, learning results from teaching

–       Teachers

  • Mediators between the curriculum and the student
  • mini-scholars
  • presenting a discipline to students, rather than creation of new knowledge
  • transmitters of a discipline
  • teachers need to have three kinds of knowledge:
    • knowledge of the discipline
    • curriculum knowledge
    • pedagogical knowledge

–       Teaching Methods

  • didactic discourse
    • can be accompanied by pictures, demonstrations etc.
    • primary mode in reporting findings in a discipline
  • supervised practice
    • students learn ”how to”.
  • Socratic discussion
    • teaching by asking questions

–       Evaluation

  • objective
  • testing and assessment results are important
  • evaluation has as its intent the ranking of evaluees. It is not used to separate students according to what they know, but according to who knows it best.

–       Concluding perspective

  • The Scholar Academic ideology is unfairly often assumed to represent traditional education.
  • The ideology has done much to give intellectual vitality, excitement, depth etc. to school curriculum.
  • Intent to stimulate and excite children to explore the world of knowledge and intellect.
  • Insists that students understand the knowledge they aquire -> education should promote intellectual excellence.


Now… I’m sorry, but Wikipedia is not an okay reference in my opinion 😛 I mean, even Wikipedia says that it’s probably best not to use Wikipedia as an actual reference.. I bet Scholar Academics would frown upon this.


7 thoughts on “Schiro: Curriculum Theory – Part 1: Scholar Academic Ideology

  1. […] are the notes for the introduction of Learner Centered Ideology. In Part 1 are the notes on Scholar Academic Ideology and in Part 2 Social Efficiency […]

  2. […] chapter of the book where Schiro compares these four ideologies. My previous posts on the book: Scholar Academic Ideology, Social Efficiency Ideology and Learner Centered […]

  3. Thank you for sharing your notes. It’s actually very helpful. I’m working on a paper for this right now.

  4. Eman says:

    Hi Subbing, your notes is very helpful, I read them first then I read the chapter. It helps me to focus on what is written there. Thank you

  5. naila says:

    Thanks. This notes has helped me a lot. Am discussing with my group

  6. Tama says:

    Thank you very much , you helped me a lot .

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