CDT and the Curriculum

A. V. Kelly
1980, Vol. 13, No. 1,

Abstract


The area of the curriculum that is now called CDT has changed, in its conception if not everywhere in its reality, more completely and dramatically in recent years than any other area of the curriculum. In my view this transformation reflects some wider changes in our notion of education, the effects of which can be discerned also elsewhere. And these changes are at certain points in conflict with the view of schooling taken by many people, politicians, industrialists and others, who look at education from the outside. The tensions created by this conflict and by the resulting pressures and constraints under which we, as teachers, work are being felt across the curriculum and across the age-ranges. They are felt nowhere so much, however, as in those areas of the curriculum that are regarded as being concerned to promote what are glibly called 'the basic skills' so that the areas in which I am most conscious of their impact are those of CDT and Primary Education. In fact, the similarities between these two are interesting in a number of ways. In both cases too this tension has, in my view, led to conflict and sometimes a confusion of purposes within the activity itself and it seems to me that what is needed more than anything else is a clarification of these issues as a basis for the continued development of a proper practice.

It is to this that I wish to devote most of my attention here. I want first of all to say a little about what I believe to be the essential features of education. I want then, in the light of that, to look at CDT and to try to demonstrate that the main characteristic of the recent developments in that subject has been an increase in the emphaSis on its educational value, perhaps even the emergence of an awareness of this for some people. I then want to suggest that there are several aspects of the approach to both curriculum planning and provision in this area which, albeit as a result of external pressures, are in fact at odds with that general movement. And then, finally, against that background, I shall spell out what I see to be the role of CDT in the curriculum.


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