Standardised curriculum and hermeneutics: the case of Australian vocational educators
Curriculum theorists have acknowledged the relevance of ‘hermeneutics’, or theory of interpretation and understanding, to curriculum studies. In the European ‘Didaktik’ tradition hermeneutics has also been applied to the curriculum work of educators, but such an extension is rarer in the Anglo-American tradition. Educators in the latter tradition are expected to implement rather than actively interpret standardised curriculum. However, working with standardised curriculum is a process rich with hermeneutic significance. In this paper educator work with one form of standardized curriculum, so-called ‘competency-based’ education, is investigated. The touchstone of this investigation is a small study of educator curriculum interpretation practices in the Australian vocational education system, a system that allows educators very little scope to exercise professional autonomy with respect to the content of learning. Wilhelm Dilthey’s seminal hermeneutic theory is used to analyse the interpretative work of these educators. The paper foregrounds the complexity of this hermeneutic practice and challenges the assumption that the interpretation of standardised curriculum is a straightforward process. The argument is made that Australia’s vocational education system underestimates the hermeneutic dimension of educator work and further complicates the process by promulgating a textual form that is hermeneutically ambiguous.
Journal of Curriculum Studies
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.
Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified