WHAT IS THEORY
Theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking. Depending on the context, the results might for example include generalized explanations of how nature works. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it has taken on several different related meanings. A theory is not the same as a hypothesis. A theory provides an explanatory framework for some observation and from the assumptions of the explanation follows a number of possible hypotheses that can be tested in order to provide support for, or challenge, the theory.
A theory can be normative (or prescriptive), meaning a postulation about what ought to be. It provides “goals, norms, and standards”.A theory can be a body of knowledge, which may or may not be associated with particular explanatory models. To theorize is to develop this body of knowledge. In modern science, the term “theory” refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support (“verify”) or empirically contradict (“falsify”) it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better characterized by the word ‘hypothesis’). Scientific theories are distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.
WHAT IS CURRICULUM THEORY
Curriculum theory is the theory of the development and enactment of curriculum. Within the broad field of curriculum studies, it is both a historical analysis of curriculum and a way of viewing current educational curriculum and policy decisions. There are many different views of curriculum theory including those of Herbert Kliebard and Michael Stephen Schiro, among others. Curriculum theory (CT) can also be seen as an academic discipline devoted to examining and shaping educational curricula. Within the broad field of curriculum studies, CT includes both the historical analysis of curriculum and ways of viewing current educational curriculum and policy decisions.
Four different approaches to curriculum theory and practice include:
Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted.
Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product.
Curriculum as process.
Curriculum as praxis.
ISTE – International Society for Technology in Education.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.
• Davidson Reynolds, Paul (1971). A primer in theory construction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
• Hawking, Stephen (1996). A Brief History of Time (Updated and expanded ed.). New York: Bantam Books, p. 15.
• James, Paul (2006). Globalism, Nationalism, Tribalism: Bringing Theory Back In. London: Sage Publications.
• Matson, Ronald Allen, “Comparing scientific laws and theories”, Biology, Kennesaw State University.
• Popper, Karl (1963), Conjectures and Refutations, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, UK, pp. 33–39. Reprinted in Theodore Schick (ed., 2000), Readings in the Philosophy of Science, Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, California, USA, pp. 9–13.
• Zima, Peter V. (2007). “What is theory? Cultural theory as discourse and dialogue”. London: Continuum (translated from: Was ist Theorie? Theoriebegriff und Dialogische Theorie in der Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften. Tübingen: A. Franke Verlag, 2004).