The formalization of curriculum development as a practice in the U.S. public schools can be traced to the early 20th century and the defining principles embodied in the work of John Franklin Bobbitt. Using a technique known as activity analysis, Bobbitt tried to identify activities in the school that he believed prepared the learner for specific tasks in life—among them vocational, sociocivic, familial, and intellectual tasks. His effort to connect the main activities of life to the actual conduct of the school represented an early systematic approach toward organizing and ultimately exercising some control over what got taught in schools. This desire to find a way to deliberately and consciously direct the conduct of the school became the driving principle behind the rise of ...

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