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A Critical Analysis of Three Worldviews and Their Implications on Curriculum

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Essay title: A Critical Analysis of Three Worldviews and Their Implications on Curriculum

A Critical Analysis of Three Worldviews and Their Implications on Curriculum


This paper discusses three worldviews: Modernism, Postmodernism, and Faith. It explores several different aspects of these world views such as their epistemologies and philosophies. Then it discusses how these foundations impact curriculum. Finally it attempts to make an analysis of which worldview is truly curriculum wisdom.

A Critical Analysis of Three Worldviews and Their Implications on Curriculum

The purpose of this paper is to look at 3 different worldviews and their implications on educational curriculum. I have chosen to explore modernism, postmodernism, and faith. In this paper faith will generally refer to Christianity; however, it is hoped that the reader can make broader generalizations to the concept of faith. There maybe many worldviews that I have missed, but I believe that these three are the most prevalent in our culture. This is important because many people are operating out of these different frames of mind and do not even realize it. Then when they come in contact with a person who is operating from a different worldview they cannot find common ground and misunderstandings occur. The primary purpose of this paper is to inform people of these different perspectives and how they impact society especially with regards to curriculum. A secondary purpose it to critique these three worldviews from a wisdom paradigm.

Robert Kegan has a hierarchal way of knowing that maintains similar labels as the ones used to describe the worldviews in this paper. Out of his five orders of consciousness his latter three seem to parallel the worldviews from a superficial perspective. Although there are similarities between the orders of consciousness and the worldviews, there are some fundamental foundational differences. Although there is some overlapping between the worldviews they are for the most part separate and distinct from one another. It does not necessarily concern itself with the way we know, but rather the idea that our worldview impacts what we chose to believe. It is possible to stand outside of our own worldview and critique that of another. In contrast the order of consciousness is hierarchal; each order is dependent

on the previous order. Kegan’s orders also come from some presuppositions about the way we know. He states, “The general idea of ‘ways of knowing’ derives from the tradition of constructivism.” (Kegan, 1994, 199) From this paper’s perspective that statement places him in the postmodern framework, which does not allow him to stand outside of his views as a postmodern knower. Although he himself states that he is not a postmodern knower, what he really means is that he subscribes to the postmodern philosophy, but that he is not fully mature in his developmental process within that framework.


Modernism got its start in the Renaissance period and came into maturation through the Enlightenment. The idea of Humanism is a current that underlies modernism. Coming out of the medieval structure of government, philosophy, religion, science, and art the Renaissance occurred. Then in 1517 a young monk named Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation which took the Scriptures out of the Catholic Church’s hands and placed them into the hands of the individual. (Glydenvand, 1981) This was the beginning of the emphasis on the individual in place of the institution. With time the individual was divorced from God and from society. Human beings were seen as autonomous without regard to society as a whole.

From here the Enlightenment in Western Europe was occurring along side of the Scientific Revolution. As Copernicus challenged the belief that the sun is the center of the universe with The Revolution in 1543, Galileo and Newton made new amazing scientific discoveries that discredited the Roman Catholic Church even more. People were no longer accepting the dogma that they were taught. Instead people started relying on natural law and reason to discover the universe. Rene Descartes instituted the idea of rationality, and John Locke, “father of modern empiricism”, developed the idea of natural law.

Rene Descartes was a mathematician who searched for certainty. In his Discourse he searched for primary truths that one could build upon. He went as far as proving

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