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Traditional Subjects

  • By: Larry D. Burton
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Traditional subjects are by far the most common conceptualization of the school curriculum. Although most people feel confident in their understanding of what is meant by the phrase school subjects, history illustrates that what is considered “traditional” in one era may be viewed as outdated in another era. The ongoing social process through which subjects become “traditional” or “ nontraditional” is highly complex. Political realities and philosophical positions that undergird educational decision making at all levels are key to shaping the ongoing debate. What subjects are considered traditional vary greatly depending on whether the purpose of schools is viewed to be the reproduction of the existing culture or the creation of a new social order. Similarly, traditional subjects for the education of society's elite would ...

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