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A Post-constructivist Perspective


Wolff-Michael Roth

Curriculum*-in-the-Making theorizes about the living curriculum as an event that is in the making, for the enacted curriculum is something finished, which, only as an object, can be compared to another object. A living curriculum, understood as an event*-in-the-making, leads to a very different appreciation of just what is happening in a classroom. Events* are understood to be in the making so we cannot know the precise nature of what we witness until after completion has been achieved. This book uses lesson fragments to develop a post-constructivist perspective on curriculum that is grounded in a phenomenological approach concerned with understanding the never-ending movement of life. This leads to radically different forms of understanding of curriculum issues such as the subject, ethics, the role of passibility and passivity, the nature of the response, and the learning paradox.
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Chapter 1. The Ground of the Image


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We live our lives inscrutably included within the streaming mutual life of the universe. (Buber, 1937, p. 16)

Once-occurrent uniqueness or singularity cannot be thought of, it can only be participatively experienced or lived through. (Bakhtin, 1993, p. 13)

We live within the streaming, mutual life of the universe. This stream never returns. The universe we inhabit therefore is once-occurrent and singular – a fact that natural scientists express by means of the law of entropy, which, taken over the entire universe, can only increase. The movement therefore is irreversible, in contrast to (non-entropic) representations, where movements are reversible. This once-occurrent uniqueness of life cannot be thought of, as Bakhtin states, but only participatively experienced and lived through. As Bergson (1907/1908) suggests in the quotation that appears in the epigraph, this living aspect of life, its generativity, is the most difficult phenomenon for the human mind to think; mind, he says, is characterized by a natural incomprehension of life. Failing to capture what is living about the curriculum is what characterizes much if not all of curricular thinking. Even when educators say they are thinking about the living curriculum, they tend to do so with inert categories. The very construction “to think about…” opens up a gap ← 1 | 2 → between the thinking and its object (content), here, the curriculum, which cannot be alive because it is already objectified. Life then has to be breathed into the result,...

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