This primer for teachers (prospective and practicing) asks readers to question the historical present and their relation to it, and in so doing, to construct their own understandings of what it means to teach, to study, to become "educated" in the present moment.

Curriculum theory is the scholarly effort – inspired by theory in the humanities, arts and interpretive social sciences – to understand the curriculum, defined here as "complicated conversation." Rather than the formulation of objectives to be evaluated by (especially standardized) tests, curriculum is communication informed by academic knowledge, and it is characterized by educational experience. Pinar recasts school reform as school deform in which educational institutions devolve into cram schools preparing for standardized exams, and traces the history of this catastrophe starting in 1950s.

Changes in the Second Edition: Introduces Pinar’s formulation of allegories-of-the-present — a concept in which subjectivity, history, and society become articulated through the teacher’s participation in the complicated conversation that is the curriculum; features a new chapter on Weimar Germany (as an allegory of the present); includes new chapters on the future, and on the promises and risks of technology.

chapter |12 pages


part |2 pages

PART I The Problem That Is the Present

chapter 1|28 pages

School Deform

chapter 2|24 pages

From Autobiography to Allegory

part |2 pages

PART II The Regressive Moment: The Past in the Present

chapter 3|33 pages

The Defeat of Democracy

chapter 4|31 pages

Mortal Educational Combat

part |2 pages

PART III The Progressive Moment: The Future in the Present

chapter 6|17 pages

The Future in the Past

part |2 pages

PART IV The Analytic Moment: Understanding the Present

part |2 pages

PART V The Synthetical Moment: Reactivating the Past, Understanding the Present, Finding the Future

chapter 8|32 pages

Subjective and Social Reconstruction