Attention Please: Positioning Attention at the Center of Curriculum and Pedagogy

Oren Ergas

Abstract


This paper explores two contradictory approaches to the concept of attention as it underlies curriculum theory based on conceptual analysis and empirical studies. The first approach depicts a common curricular-pedagogical conception based on the following premises: 1) Attention is a means for the acquisition of disciplinary knowledge. 2) Sustained voluntary attention is an unrealistic goal given the tendency of the mind to wander, hence the teacher is responsible for sustaining students’ attention. The second approach, stemming from theory and contemporary applications of ‘attentional training’ challenges both premises suggesting that: 1) Attention determines the quality of our life thus its cultivation is an end in itself. 2) The cultivation of sustained voluntary attention through self-practice is feasible and holds significant transformative educational potential. Based on the analysis proposed the paper suggests and exemplifies a balancing approach in which subject matter and attentional training can be integrated with each made subservient to the other at different times toward broadening the scope of education.


Keywords


teaching, attention, curriculum, mindfulness, William James.

Full Text:

Ergas.PDF



JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing, and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

The journal is published by the Foundation for Curriculum Theory and is associated with the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held in the autumn of each year. JCT is indexed in The Education Index.

NOTICE: As of December 2008, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing (Volume 24, Issue 1) and all future issues
are available freely and exclusively online to all individuals and institutions. More Information...

Contributors to the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing retain copyright to their work.

All other content: Copyright © Foundation for Curriculum Theory. All rights reserved.

ISSN: 1942-2563