Backtracking towards a Transformative Rizal Curriculum, pp. 2 of 11

Theoretical perspective

In studying the course’s potential for societal transformation, I employ the ‘curriculum as political text’ theoretical perspective, which has undergone significant development since its appearance in the curriculum field in the 1970s. Recognizing that education has complicated connections to larger society (Apple et al., 2009), it has evolved from the notion that schools merely serve to reproduce ideology and hegemonic power, to views that accord more agency to educators: schooling is now perceived to hold possibilities for resistance and, ultimately, societal transformation (Pinar et al., 2004).

This transformative potential, observable in Professor Dumol’s Rizal curriculum, is captured in the critical pedagogy movement’s view of education as counterhegemonic and activist (Apple et al., 2009). Fundamental to this movement is the idea that education is among the multiple dynamics that underpin relations of exploitation and domination in our societies (Apple et al., 2009). Critical education research is thus concerned with exposing relations of power and inequality in education and, above all, exploring the possibilities for counterhegemonic action (Apple et al., 2009). Counterhegemonic action is defined by Apple et al. (2009) as being “against the ideological and institutional processes and forms that reproduce oppressive conditions” (p. 3). At the heart of education’s transformative potential is the educator’s ideal for a counter-hegemony, a “new cultural vision of a genuinely different way of life” (Wexler & Whitson, 1982, as cited in Pinar et al., 2004, p. 251). Thus, critical pedagogy calls for educators to be “transformative intellectuals” (Carlson, 1987, as cited in Pinar et al., 2004, p. 260) who promote specific changes towards a new vision of a just society.     

With my data consisting mainly of my lived experience of Professor Dumol’s Rizal course, this paper takes on another theoretical perspective, curriculum as autobiographical/biographical text. Addressing a concern that the field of curriculum had lost sight of the individual and her experience of curricular materials (Pinar, 1995), the autobiographical method of research motivates students and teachers to perform a lengthy, systematic search of their lived experience of schools. Accessing inner experience allows individuals to “intensify one’s experience of education” (Pinar, 1995, p. 522) by leading them to a deeper understanding of the encounter and, ultimately, to deepened agency over one’s personal development (Grumet, 1976, as cited in Pinar, 1995). Returning to the public realm, understanding private experience allows curriculum researchers to “further comprehend [the roles of curriculum, instruction, and objectives] in the educational process” (Pinar, 1974, as cited in Pinar, 1995, p. 519).

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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