Instructional designers never quite get the chance to go into the in-depth assumptions of instructors regarding their curricular culture. We exist often to deal with assignment-level builds, and the theoretical seldom gets brought up. As a matter of fact, one of my interviewers for this present job said that he could count on one hand the times that he's had such discussions in his many years in his job as an ID.
So after his laughter quieted, I thought about the cultures of curriculm concept. Joseph, et al., suggest that each curriculum is a culture, with a "revealing system of implicit and explicit beliefs, values, behaviors, and customs in classrooms and schools." (2000, p. ix- x) An articulate, coherent, unified and planned curriculum will be more effective in the long run than a "melange of unarticulated methods and purposes." (2000, p. ix) Culture is seen as the "complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by (a human) as a member of society"
She and her colleagues suggest six cultures of curriculum.
Joseph, et al. Cultures of Curriculum: (Joseph, et al., 2000, pp. 12 - 13) 1. "Training for Work and Survival: To gain the basic skills, habits, and attitudes necessary to function in the workplace and to adapt to living within contemporary society. 2. Connecting to the Canon: To acquire core cultural knowledge, traditions, and values from the dominant culture's exemplary moral, intellectual, spiritual, and artistic resources as guidelines for living. 3. Developing Self and Spirit: To learn according to self-directed interests in order to nurture individual potential, creativity, and knowledge of the emotional and spiritual self. 4. Constructing Understanding: To develop fluid, active, autonomous thinkers who know that they themselves can construct knowledge through their study of the environment and collaborative learning with others. 5. Deliberating Democracy: To learn and to actually experience the deliberative skills, knowledge, beliefs, and values necessary for participating in and sustaining a democratic society. 6. Confronting the Dominant Order: To examine and challenge oppressive social, political, and economic structures that limit self and others and to develop beliefs and skills that support activism for the reconstruction of society."
Joseph, P.B., et al. (2000). Cultures of curriculum. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
These concepts seem very Western-centric, but they're a fine jumping-off point in thinking about such things, even if we only have this discussion among ourselves.