By Robert Burden
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Additional resources for Thinking Through the Curriculum
Links with other subjects such as art and archaeology are also implicitly made, as also is the use of creative imagination. The term ‘associative’ is used here to distinguish this type of creative thinking from a more logically oriented view of cognition. For Nichol, both aspects of cognitive development are vitally important and should be seen as complementary. History is seen therefore as a subject that lends itself ideally to both kinds of thinking. Chapter 3 by Leslie Cunliffe provides a searing indictment of what he sees as the cult of the individual in the recent tradition of art teaching.
By focusing upon a single case-study of a student with such difficulties struggling to develop ‘life skills’ as part of a college course aimed at fostering independence, Bayliss highlights the inadequacy of ‘structured experiences’ in themselves as providing the necessary transferable skills. Concepts of ‘choice’ and ‘appropriateness’ are shown to be central to an assumption of cognitive control and therefore to have far wider implications than can be met by a ‘small steps’ approach merely based upon task analysis.
Examples are the issues of context and culture, the interaction between process and content, the central part played by language, the link between autonomy and transfer and the importance of the philosophical belief systems of teachers. However, central to all the chapters is a search for the cognitive processes that form the basis of the particular subject area under consideration. Many of these issues will be revisited in the final chapter, where we shall pull together a number of threads that run through the different chapters and present a model with which to examine them further.
Thinking Through the Curriculum by Robert Burden