Complexifying the ‘Visualised’ Curriculum with Actor-Network Theory

Complexifying the ‘Visualised’ Curriculum with Actor-Network Theory

Sue De Vincentis (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/jantti.2011040103
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Rather than conceptualising the curriculum as a mandate which guides a teacher’s task of advancing the knowledge of students, or what the author will call the simple story, the curriculum as an object of complexities is explored in this article. The article considers how approaching the curriculum relationally can be a more fruitful quest than simply accepting that curriculum activity is predetermined, predictable, or standard. Drawing on actor-network theory and the fieldwork resulting from a funded, primary school Arts project in Australia, the curriculum is examined as a relational effect of education. In doing so, it is shown how interdependent webs of heterogeneous relations contribute to this entity called ‘the curriculum’, encouraging activity to be practised in particular ways, yet suggesting activity could be otherwise.
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‘The Curriculum’

The curriculum as an object of educational enquiry has created thought provoking debate in the last decade (Apple, 2000; Moore & Young, 2001; Weiss et al., 2006; Young, 2008). One of the outstanding questions is: What is ‘the curriculum’? Conversations surrounding the curriculum imply school activity involving teachers and students: subjects or topics to be taught at an educational institution (Encarta Dictionary, 2010). Centred within a broader framework, the curriculum here in the state of Victoria is framed as the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. According to the Victorian education organisation responsible for curriculum development:

The Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) outline what is important for all Victorian students to learn and develop during their time at school from Prep to Year 10. They provide a clear set of common state-wide standards which schools use to plan student learning programs, assess student progress and report to parents (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2009).

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