Curriculum in the Postmodern Condition

Michael A. Peters and Colin Lankshear
Vol 20, Number 1, p.8
A contextualisation of the curriculum in the postmodern condition, however difficult, is imperative to understand current developments in education. This article investigates postmodernism's relationships with various aspects of modernism: aesthetic, historical and philosophical. Applied to arts education, post-modern philosophical concepts suggest that conventional approaches to curriculum development remain blind to their own assumptions of what constitutes knowledge or skill, how students learn and what they ought to learn. Established subject areas may well have broken down in social practice but are still perpetuated in curriculum theory and planning. We simply cannot predict with the accustomed certainty what our students will need to know and be able to do. Current ways of transmitting knowledge and skill in discrete units of sequence and content may well fail to serve our students' present and future needs. We must widen our perspective of what arts education could and ought to be concerned with to open the way for alternative ways for curriculum planning. Here, the arts and humanities are capable of providing alternatives: concepts, images, and intellectual tools for re-imagining our natural, social and technological relationships. In an age that is increasingly formed in and through global relationships, experimentation and creative conceptualising are crucial to discover new forms of learning and new forms of pedagogy.