Self-Actualizing Curriculum

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by gowsley
Last updated 5 years ago

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Self-Actualizing Curriculum



Starting at the turn of the 18th century with Pestalozzi & Froebel, education became more in tune with the nature of the student. Gradually, curriculum shaped towards meeting the needs of the target audience. Then, as the 19th century rolled around, Caswell focused on the relationship between curriculum, instruction, and learning. Now curriculum centers itself around various other relationships. What is the relationship between curriculum and society? Curriculum and teacher? Teacher and student? School and parents? Religious institutions and society?

Who am I? What is the relationship between a student and himself or herself? Humanism, especially the work of Maslow & Rogers states that the goal of curriculum is to produce self-actualizing people and total human beings. Reconceptualists push this further by emphasizing the needs to provide freedom for students so that they can escape societal restrictions in order to become who they are.




Greg Owsley

With Montessori and Piaget, there is an emphasis on understanding the student context. There is an emphasis by Salovey for the curriculum to assist students in self-awareness, managing emotions, motivating oneself, and handling relationships. In modern times, the work of Deci & Ryan with self-determination theory and Carol Dweck and her theory of Growth Mindset challenges our assumptions regarding what is needed for student development. How do we create a curriculum that provides the autonomy of students, but also allows them to feel a sense of accomplishment? How can students continually feel a sense of competence that reinforces a growth mindset? All of this needs to occur within a relatedness context where students experience stable relationships and feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, participating in a greater and meaningful purpose.

With the rapid rise of blended families, society is trying to understand what 'normal' societal expectations really are. How does school help shape moral curriculum? Willard Waller emphasizes the importance of a school to affirm a student's identity. Joseph Campbell articulates the Hero's Journey; a journey that schools, teachers, and students experience together along a path for bliss. Parker Palmer claims that we all need to discover our hidden wholeness. He encourages teachers to teach who they are and students to become who they are. Jesuit education is premised on the fact that each student is created by God and therefore is loved by God as he/she is. Ignatian education aims to form men and women for others who are intellectually competent, open to growth, committed to justice, religious and loving. Jesuit curriculum strives to reaffirm one's identity within a greater and meaningful religious context.


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