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Curriculum as Spaces

Aesthetics, Community, and the Politics of Place


David M. Callejo Pérez, Donna Adair Breault and William White

This book has won the «O.L. Davis, Jr. Outstanding Book Award» 2015 from the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC)

Curriculum as Spaces: Aesthetics, Community, and the Politics of Place can be viewed as a holistic approach to education, conservation, and community development that uses place as an integrating context for learning. It argues that curriculum and place is a much deeper subject, with roots in aesthetics, community, and politics that go beyond the individual and profoundly address the formation of our current belief system.
Despite the unique efforts described in this book to address the curriculum of space, major issues persist in our educational system. First, the rigor of curriculum studies is not usually applied to this complex field that encompasses philosophy, aesthetics, geography, social theory, and history. Second, the conflict caused by studying the place without contextualizing it within the larger social milieu ignores the nuances of our intimately global social network. Third, current responses ignore the uncritical assessment of underrepresented groups within the theoretical landscape. With these problems in mind, Curriculum as Spaces introduces foundational principles that ask us to imagine the full realization of curriculum spaces and show us how to examine the philosophical and cultural roots of these most essential principles.
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Chapter 1. The Transactional Spaces of Curriculum: Rethinking “Community” and Re-Engaging Educators


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Rethinking “Community” and Re-Engaging Educators

In the past four decades, narratives regarding curriculum have shifted away from their original experiential core. Rather than focusing on the quality of a shared, lived experience, educational reformers have argued for growth in measurable performance indicators. Thus, students are objects, and education involves doing things to them (Freire, 1970). Rather than considering the qualitative immediacy of the classroom and nurturing the kinds of relationships needed to promote authentic growth, educators narrow their focus to trajectories that will lead to gains on standardized measures. This two-dimensional image of curriculum objectifies the students and dismisses both the physical an existential conditions within which they live. Further, it objectifies the teachers as instruments administering treatments in largely prescribed ways. As such, teachers and students function as passive bodies—much like the figures found in William Hogarth’s engraving, Gin Lane (1751), a print designed to warn the working class of London about the evils of gin. In Hogarth’s image, villagers share a common space of a London street, yet they are unaware of those around them. With glazed-over, drunken expressions, the villagers in the scene withdraw from each other. A child falls from her mother’s breast, unnoticed as she topples into the stairwell. Others on the crowded street are either bloated from their binges or emaciated—neglecting their own bodies as well as those around them. Images of corpses appear throughout ← 1 | 2...

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