5 Orientations to the Curriculum The Educational Imagination, 1985 2nd Ed. Elliot Eisner


Development of Cognitive Processes
Help children learn how to learn

Use and strengthen the intellectual facilities through process

Academic Rationalism

Foster growth in subject matters most worthy of study, especially basic fields of study e.g. science

A “liberal education” for everyone, therefore, a common educational experience for everyone. “What’s best for the best is best for the rest”

Personal Relevance
Children are individuals and require a personal buy-in

Teachers must establish a rapport with a student

People are stimulus seeking, therefore, provide a rich environment for growth

Child centered; the teacher as gardener or travel agent

Social Adaptation and Social Reconstruction

Social Adaptation

Maintain the status quo and meet the social needs

Career and vocation education so that one may fit in Social Reconstruction

Focus on real problems with a view to do something about them

Build anew, change and cope with the difficulties

Curriculum as Technology
Once ends have been formulated, establish the means to get there

A planning model, very sequential

Chart progress towards specific objectives

Images of this curriculum include a staircase with few landings and no hallways feeding into it or an efficient machine

These orientations are infrequently encountered in a pure state although commonly one dominates.

Context is critical to any given situation.

Activity from Class Meeting




Social Science

Physical Training



Foreign Language



Graphic Arts

Art History






Practical Arts



Creative Writing

Driver Training


Work Experience

Vernacular Arts

Travel Abroad

Interpersonal Skills

Intrapersonal Skills

A = Actively Engaged In

E = Explicit Curricula

I = Implicit Curricula

N = Null Curricula

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