Reading Schwab's the 'Practical' as an invitation to a curriculum enquiry

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In this retrospective essay reviewing the implications of Joseph Schwab's essay, 'The practical: A language for education' (2013 [1970]), 40 + years after its first publication, I identify two 'practicals'. The first is a comprehensive 'Practical 1.1' embracing ends, subject matter, problem source and methods. This 'practical' has radical implications for curriculum studies, and for educational theory and research more generally. However, these implications have not been recognized. On the other hand, Schwab's deliberation-centred interpretation of the 'practical', the 'Practical 1.2', has been widely discussed but has not captured the field of curriculum studies because it fails to map onto the structures of most school systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-651
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • curriculum theory
  • school improvement
  • Schwab, Joseph
  • theory of curriculum-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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