In assessing what might be done to improve the state of the curricular art, we are inevitably drawn into discussion of the nature of motives for learning and the objectives one might expect to attain in educating youth. Obviously, matters of such enormous scope can be considered only briefly here. Yet certain issues seem to be particularly in need of closer scrutiny in relation to the designing of curricula.
In planning a curriculum, one properly distinguishes between the long-run objective one hopes to achieve and certain short-run steps that get one toward that objective. Those of a practical turn of mind are likely to say that little is served by stating long-term objectives unless one can propose short-run methods for their achievement. More idealistic critics may too readily dismiss short-run educational goals on the grounds that they cannot see where they lead. We are inclined to take a middle ground. While one benefits from clarity about the ends of education, it is often true that we may discover or rediscover new ultimate objectives in the process of trying to reach more modest goals. Something of this order seems to have occurred in recent efforts to improve school curricula.
The efforts of the past decade began with the modest intention of doing a better job of teaching physics or mathematics or some other subject. The impulse that led a group of highly competent physicists, for example, to join together in this effort was the sense of how great a gap had developed between physics as known by the physicist and physics as taught in school, a gap of particular importance because of revolutionary advances in science and the crisis in national security. But as the effort broadened, as scholars and scientists from other disciplines entered the field, a broader objective began to emerge. It is clear that there is in American education today a new emphasis upon the pursuit of excellence. There appear to be several things implied by the pursuit of excellence that have relevance not only to what we teach, but to how we teach and how we arouse the interest of our students.

BRUNER, JEROME S. (1997). The Process of Education. London: Harvard University Press

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