You are here

Towards an ethically-oriented curriculum: resisting the growth of instrumentalism

Jim Neyland

Instrumentalism is a growing disposition of thought in authorised curriculum theory. It is detrimental to education because it enfeebles the curriculum's ethical orientation. Instrumentalism reflects an "instrumental orientation" that is based on five myths: (i) society causes goodness; (ii) individuals are radically free; (iii) individuals can handle this freedom; (iv) a perfect society is a rational possibility; and (v) experts ought to be in charge. The ethical orientation in curriculum needs urgently to become a focus. It can be summarised as five assertions: (i) questions of purpose are crucial; (ii) knowledge and identity are framed by backgrounds of significance that cannot entirely be made foreground; (iii) self-identity is primarily ethical; (iv) creative thinking requires an ethical/aesthetical sensibility; and (v) know-how is ethical.

Purchase the full text of this article