Subject: Curriculum Critical Trends

Scientific Area:



27 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - This course aims at providing students with the tools necessary for a critical analysis of curriculum. To achieve this goal they should: Analyze the theoretical assumptions of curriculum in its historical, epistemological and political relations;
2 - Understand the concept of curriculum in its various meanings;
3 - Understand the evolution of curricular models;
4 - Question the neutrality of the technological curriculum;
5 - Integrate the systemic approach into the curriculum analysis;
6 - Relate the curriculum with educational policy;
7 - Understand how the curriculum can be an inducer of inequalities;
8 - Critically perspective the curriculum, in its relation to ideology, culture and power;
9 - Recognize the role of the educator (teacher) in curriculum development;
10 - Develop reflection attitudes and critical analysis regarding the education act


1 - Curriculum situational definitions (definitions and dimensions);
2 - The presumed neutrality of technological curriculum and the pedagogy by objectives;
3 - Ideology and the State "ideological apparatus" by Althusser;
4 - Social reproduction, cultural capital and symbolic violence; habitus; the school as a reproductive mechanism of the status quo; studies of Bourdieu and Passeron;
5 - Roles of submission and domination and the hidden curriculum; studies of Baudelot and Establet and studies of Bowles and Gintis;
6 - Relation between school and economy;
7 - Problem­based education and liberation of the oppressed: education as a political act and a pedagogy of hope; studies of Freire;
8 - New Sociology of Education as opposed to the classical sociology; studies of Young, in its first stage;
9 - Curriculum reconceptualization movement and the two divergent lines: Pinar and Apple;
10 - Relations between curriculum and power, ideology and culture;
11 - Multiculturalism; Giroux?s studies on popular culture.


Apple, M. W. , 2006 , Ideologia e Currículo , Artmed
Bourdieu, P. , 2008 , A reprodução , Paris : Éditions Minuit.
Freire, P. , 2006 , Pedagogia da esperança: um reencontro com a pedagogia do oprimido , Porto: Afrontamento
Pinar, W. , 2004 , Understanding curriculum: an introduction to the study of historical and contemporary curriculum discourses , New York: Peter Lang
Young, M. F. , 2003 , The curriculum of the future: from the new sociology of education to a critical theory of learning , Porto: Porto Editora
T. T. Silva (Org.) , 2000 , Identidade e Diferença. A perspetiva dos Estudos Culturais. , Petrópolis: Editora Vozes.
Althusser, L , 2010 , Aparelhos Ideológicos de Estado , Graal Editora
Bowles, S. , 1987 , Democracy and capitalism: property, community, and the contradictions of modern social thought , New York: Basic Books
Giroux, H. , 1997 , Os professores como intelectuais : rumo a uma pedagogia crítica da aprendizagem , Porto Alegre: Artmed

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
In a 1st phase, a historical route of the evolution of the concept of curriculum, from the classical theories, is presented, based on slide projection, short texts reading and discussions. The technicist curriculum theories are also addressed with a view to its deconstruction, since they are supposedly part of the educational experience of most students. Only afterwards the critical trends of curriculum are set out by the professor through oral presentation, in order to provide students with a large scope of trends for further development by the students, who individually or in groups, choose an author or a certain trend, to present, using effective seminar methodologies so that everyone may have some knowledge on the subject in which he/she has specialized himself/herself. In addition to participating in classroom activities, students must submit an individual written work with an academic article format, to the training necessary for the further elaboration of the dissertation.