Pursuing a problematic-based curriculum approach for the sake of social justice
CITATION: Zipin, L. 2017. Pursuing a problematic-based curriculum approach for the sake of social justice. Journal of Education, 69:68-92.
The original publication is available at https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/joe/
This article envisions, and argues for, what I call a problematic-based curriculum approach (PBCA) in which students work with/on knowledge in relation to local lifeworld problems that matter. In the process, students and teachers would extend curriculum work beyond school walls, engaging with diverse knowledgeable actors – ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ – in relation to mattering problems. In outlining PBCA, I draw significantly on Vygotskyan thought, including the Funds of Knowledge approach to curriculum design, and on Isabelle Stengers’ pragmatist arguments for a proactive politics of knowledge in which ‘expertise’ proliferates. The article also contrasts PBCA with the Social Realist approach to curriculum (SR) that underpins South Africa’s Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). In this contrast, I argue that SR/CAPS is re-formative, whereas CPBA would be trans-formative in Nancy Fraser’s sense of “chang[ing] the deep grammar” that frames curriculum, towards robust and vitally needed social-educational justice.