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Conceptions of curriculum: A framework for understanding New Zealand’s curriculum framework and teachers’ opinions

Gavin T. L. Brown

Five conceptions of curriculum (i.e., humanist, social reconstructionist, skills, technological, and academic) are described and used to analyse the New Zealand Curriculum Framework. It is argued that the framework contains aspects of all five conceptions, despite their apparent contradictory nature. The conceptions were used in a study of 235 primary school teachers’ opinions as to the nature of curriculum. Teachers were found to be mostly in agreement with the humanist conception, while giving moderate agreement to the technological and academic conceptions. Nonetheless, they still gave slight agreement with the social reconstructionist conception. Use of the conceptions will enhance understanding of current curriculum debates and pressures.

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Gavin Brown

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