5 Orientations to the Curriculum
The Educational Imagination, 1985 2nd Ed.

Elliot Eisner

1. Development of Cognitive Processes
• Help children learn how to learn
• Use and strengthen the intellectual facilities through process

2. Academic Rationalism
• Foster growth in subject matters most worthy of study, especially basic fields of

study e.g. science
• A “liberal education” for everyone, therefore, a common educational experience for

everyone. “What’s best for the best is best for the rest”

3. Personal Relevance
• Children are individuals and require a personal buy-in
• Teachers must establish a rapport with a student
• People are stimulus seeking, therefore, provide a rich environment for growth
• Child centered; the teacher as gardener or travel agent

4. Social Adaptation and Social Reconstruction

Social Adaptation
• Maintain the status quo and meet the social needs
• Career and vocation education so that one may fit in

Social Reconstruction
• Focus on real problems with a view to do something about them
• Build anew, change and cope with the difficulties

5. Curriculum as Technology
• Once ends have been formulated, establish the means to get there
• A planning model, very sequential
• Chart progress towards specific objectives
• Images of this curriculum include a staircase with few landings and no hallways

feeding into it or an efficient machine

These orientations are infrequently encountered in a pure state although commonly one
Context is critical to any given situation.

Activity from Class Meeting


1. Mathematics
2. English
3. Science
4. Social Science
5. Physical Training
6. Sports
7. Health
8. Foreign Language
9. Music
10. Dance
11. Graphic Arts
12. Art History
13. Drama
14. Technology
15. Business
16. Law
17. Economics
18. Practical Arts
19. Religion
20. Journalism
21. Creative Writing
22. Driver Training
23. Cooking
24. Work Experience
25. Vernacular Arts
26. Travel Abroad
27. Interpersonal Skills
28. Intrapersonal Skills

A = Actively Engaged In (personally)

E = Explicit Curricula (advertized)
I = Implicit Curricula (not advertized)
N = Null Curricula (non-existent)

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