Students experiencing and developing democratic citizenship through curriculum negotiation: The relevance of Garth Boomer's approach

Jeroen Bron, Catherine Bovill, Wiel Veugelers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When students are involved in curriculum design they offer unique perspectives that improve the quality and relevance of the curriculum. The processes involved in negotiating their curriculum give school and university students possibilities to practice, experience and develop the abilities to participate as citizens of a democratic society. Enabling students to have a role in curriculum design requires that the curriculum is regarded as a process instead of a predetermined, externally established product. Treating the curriculum as a
process supports teachers to co-create the curriculum together with students based on broad principles or aims, but with greater freedom for students to negotiate the content and methods of learning.

In the 1980s the concept of curriculum negotiation was developed by the Australian curriculum specialist Garth Boomer and colleagues. We explore Boomer's ideas about curriculum negotiation and how his approach can: 1) enable students to become meaningful agents in curriculum design; 2) integrate student voice into the curriculum, and foster a more democratic educational environment; and 3) develop specific citizenship skills and graduate attributes.
We demonstrate the potential application of Boomer’s curriculum negotiation approach to current school and university settings and make comparisons with other related democratic citizenship education and curriculum approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalCurriculum Perspectives
Volume36
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Curriculum
  • curriculum design
  • democratic education
  • Citizenship
  • student voice

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