The first 4 chapters of Contemporary Curriculum ( McNeil, 2015) identify the 4 most common types of curriculum: Humanistic, Social Reconstructionist, Systemic, and Academic. Humanistic Curriculum focuses on the playfulness of learning and puzzling out the problem at hand to develop innovation and flexibility of thought in an uncertain future (pg. 1). Social Reconstructionist Curriculum presents the social conflicts to students as topics, despite disagreement on whether they are fit for a classroom setting (pg. 21). Systemic Curriculum has rigid set of goals and standards and pathways to achieve the goals measured through standardized tests (pg. 41). Academic Curriculum follows more closely the Liberal Arts College curriculum, where students study a variety of disciplines and learn how they interact and affect each other (pg. 61).
Our class conversation regarding these various curricula was wide ranging and passionate. Some of the class felt that the Systemic Curriculum functions only to damage students’ learning and add power to multinational corporations. And some felt that the only true and important curriculum is Humanistic, because of the value it places on the whole person. We never resolved the discussion, we merely ended due to time.
Each of these curricula seem to be most effective for specific desired ends. While the class never came to a consensus, I think that each of the curricula works well for different settings and that none are inherently evil. I also think that using a blend of the best elements of each might serve as a way to ensure a quality curriculum for all students. Having some goals in mind for what students learn can help teachers develop lessons. And if 1 of the goals is to see how the interconnectedness of what is learned in the classroom plays out in social situations, this blends together several of the best parts of the Humanistic Curriculum and the the Social Reconstructionist Curriculum.