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Curriculum History of the United States - Essay Example

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This essay functions to analyze the major shifts in curriculum development within the United States and situates the analysis within the way institutions have influenced curriculum developments, as well as the way society has altered its perceptions on the changing role of the…
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Curriculum History of the United States

tes formal education system experienced a relative period of stabilization that allowed institutions to come together under a common ideal (Zais 1976). Even as curriculum development began to gain structured form, initial developments occurred through the gradual accumulation of diverse subjects: mathematics was followed by an array of sciences, including botany, anatomy, physics, astronomy, and geology. Soon after this subjects for non-college bounds students were added, such as typewriting, woodworking, and metallurgy. However, the ultimate array of subjects remained haphazard, unlike the well-structured form it progressively attained.
Recognizing the haphazard curriculum, in 1892 a famous committee was formed to help add structure to the loosely formed curriculum. The group was termed the Committee of Ten and was headed by the President of Harvard at the time – Charles Eliot. The committee understood that the unstructured format of the current education system was pernicious to societal development, so they set out to bring order to the chaos (Zais 1976). Eliot and the committee determined that the greatest means to accomplish this would be to have the curriculum adhere to the already established college structure and function solely to prepare students for higher education. As a result, the core courses that had come together immediately after the Civil War were kept and substantiated, yet the elements of the curriculum designed for students not college-bound was discarded as unnecessary. Historians and educational theorists regard this last point as especially relevant to the changing view of learners over time, as its underlining assumption was that these core courses, even if they didn’t target specific vocational aspects of the learner’s development, would have the ultimate benefit in preparing them intellectually for whatever task they undertook.
Even as these earlier curriculum formulations considered the development of the human, it wasn’t ... Read More
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