The didaktik/curriculum dialogue: What did we learn?

Walter Doyle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


In the late 1990s, scholars from the Anglo-American curriculum community began a conversation with scholars in the German didaktik tradition (see Westbury I, Hopmann S, Riquarts K, Teaching as a reflective practice: the German Didaktik Tradition. Erlbaum, Mahwah, 2000). One major difference between these traditions is the perspective on content. In the US tradition, content is often seen as (a) a given that does not need to be analyzed and (b) inert, i.e., unchanging as it passes from curricular documents through classrooms to pupils (and even to standardized tests). Within this frame, school leadership need not be centrally concerned with the content of curriculum. In didaktik, content is fundamental and regulation is ideally normative and intellectual, i.e., it provides tools for teachers to come to pedagogical terms with the contents they teach. What didaktik thinking potentially brought to life for US curriculum thought was a more fruitful understanding of content processes as (a) formation for community and society and (b) transformation to rich pedagogical potential. This chapter elaborates more fully the lines of similarity and difference between the didaktik and curriculum traditions and explores the reasons why didaktik has had only a modest impact on turning the Anglo-American curriculum tradition toward a more fully developed sense of content and content enactment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEducational Governance Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameEducational Governance Research
ISSN (Print)2365-9548
ISSN (Electronic)2365-9556

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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