Curriculum & Instruction: Research Initiatives

The Internationalization of Curriculum

With support from the School of Education and the College of Human Sciences & Education, we have worked in the past seven years to promote dialogues about democratic, moral, and aesthetic values worldwide. The International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (IAACS) grew from the two international curriculum theory conferences CTP held at LSU in 1999 and 2000. The Shanghai (2003), Tampere (2006), and Pretoria (2009) conferences carry on this tradition.


This sector of research under the Curriculum Theory Project is home to many international conferences with a vast cultural and educational impact.

  • The Fourth World Curriculum Studies Conference (Brazil, 2012)
  • The Third World Curriculum Studies Conference (South Africa, 2009)
    The Third World Curriculum Studies Conference was held in 2009 in South Africa. The University of Pretoria was the host site.
  • The Second World Curriculum Studies Conference (Tampere, Finland, 2006)
    The second IAACS conference, sponsored by the University of Tampere , again drew curriculum scholars worldwide, especially those from Europe and Scandinavia with increased attendance from Africa . Over 300 curricularists from 33 countries attended and shared their perspectives on curriculum reform issues. Professors Doll (Fulbright grant) and Pinar have played important roles in helping Finnish universities (post)-modernize their teacher education programs.
  • The First World Curriculum Studies Conference (Shanghai , China , 2003)
    This first IAACS conference, sponsored by East China Normal University , drew curriculum scholars from around the world, as well as officials from the Chinese Ministry of Education. Over 250 curricularists from 24 countries attended and shared their
    perspectives on national, regional, and international curriculum issues.

Reflective Teaching and Inquiry

Our programs draw upon critical, psychoanalytic, postmodern theories, teacher research, and reflective practice in order to understand the complex ways in which individuals learn. Currently, faculty members are specifically examining complexity, creativity, cognition, feminist and literacy theories. This research informs work in schools and universities in a number of ways including partnerships and the design of Professional Development Schools, development of teacher leaders and students as active citizens in shaping schools and society, and the creation of new curricular models to enhance learning.
Our programs emphasize (1) reflective practice, (2) effective professionalism, and (3) inquiring pedagogy as described below.

Reflective Practice continues to be a mainstay in our teacher preparation programs. For more than a decade now, we have experience with candidates journaling about their filed experiences. The heart of the concept of a reflective practitioner is a reciprocal one, one where the practitioner has a conversation with the situation at hand. Here the practitioner frames a situation, “the situation talks back, the practitioner listens, and as (s)/he appreciates what (s/)he reframes the situation once again” (Schon, 1983, pp. 131-132). Journaling is a unique and effective way of “talking with” the situation. Support for this reflective approach comes from Donald Schon (The Reflective Practitioner, 1983); Katherine Carter (The Place of Story in the Study of Teaching and Teacher Education, 1993); and James Holstein and Jaber Gubrium (The Self That We Live By: Narrative Identity in the Postmodern World, 2000).

Effective Professionalism is a move toward the practitioner being not only a professional, but also an effective change agent: one who is steeped in the history and sociology of schooling, knowledgeable about current legal issues and governmental policies, and open to diversity. Such a professional is one who not only teaches, but who also assesses the results of teaching, i.e., one who is concerned with the effective results of teaching, that is, with P-12, student learning in a practical, productive, assessed manner. As A. N. Whitehead says, “Education is the art of the utilization of knowledge,” (Aims of Education, 1967, p. 4) not just with the reception of knowledge, but with its
utilization. Support for this approach to being professional comes from, among others, Linda Darling-Hammond (Educating Teachers for the Next Century, 1999); Jean Clandinin and Michael Connelly (Professional Knowledge Landscapes, 1995); and Andy Hargreaves (Changing Teachers, Changing Times: Teachers' Work and Culture in the Postmodern Age, 1994).

Inquiring Pedagogy reflects our commitment to inquiry (Dewey, The Logic of Inquiry, 1938). Inquiry frames our study of the nature of education, schooling, teaching and learning. We believe firmly in Martin Heidegger's statement that “Inquiry is the Piety of Thought” (in his The Question Concerning Technology, 1955). We look not only at procedures and practices, but at assumptions underlying procedures and practices.

We want our candidates to engage in teaching and other professional roles as a continual mode of inquiry, constantly questioning and rethinking current practices.

Cultural and Gender Studies

Scholarship related to cultural and gender studies examines the intersections of culture, gender, learning and education. This focus specifically emphasizes issues related to history, memory work, media, popular culture, race, gender, autobiography, spirituality, social thought, political thought, and globalism as these shape understandings of curriculum. The CTP strives for impact through community outreach programs that promote real word learning for social justice, including service-learning, oral history, and French education projects, and collaborate with museums, hospitals, libraries, community agencies, correctional facilities, and university organizations 


The Curriculum Theory Project also produces several publications each year by faculty and students. 



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Molly Quinn


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