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Spiral Curriculum

  • By: Nancy J. Brooks
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

The spiral curriculum is a key feature of the curriculum design process popularized through Jerome Bruner's post-Sputnik classic, The Process of Education. Although John Dewey wrote of a similar principle, his notion of spiraling focused on the learner's experience and the interrelated-ness of all areas of knowledge. In contrast, Bruner based his spiral in the structure of separate academic disciplines as provided by university scholars. A central notion was that basic principles in any discipline can be represented in some intellectually honest form to even very young children and that this process would build in the readiness for them to engage in later and progressively more complex presentations of the principles. Writing in 1960, Bruner emphasized the advantage of teaching structural principles because of the ...

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