Knowledge and the curriculum
The analysis of the concept of education attempted in the previous chapter suggested that the educated man would be one who had acquired some worthwhile knowledge, understanding and skills. What knowledge, what sorts of understanding and what skills will come under this heading will depend on the kind of society which does the educating, but any society sophisticated enough to have a concept of education must regard some knowledge and some skills as worth passing on to the next generation. Indeed, a society’s future will depend upon this cultural transmission. This corpus of knowledge and skill will constitute a curriculum, and a general theory of education must involve some assumptions about the curriculum, about what must be taught. These assumptions will be those about the nature of knowledge and this chapter sets out to examine what is involved in this concept. A preliminary distinction needs to be made, however, between the curriculum and the rules for educational practice, between what is taught and how it is taught. In what follows the curriculum will be understood as the content of education, what is taught. Educational practice and methods come under the heading of pedagogy which will be dealt with in the next chapter.