The scourge of curriculum: genericism’s destructive power

Clio et cetera

It is not difficult to find problems in contemporary education. Many of the problems are acute and obvious and, quite understandably, therefore attract a great deal of attention. In this blog post, I want to draw your attention to a destructive force in education that is far more subtle in its workings, but which, I would argue, is undermining what we are trying to achieve in our classrooms. That threat, I shall argue here, is generic thinking.

The first stage in generic thought is not that different from what one finds in some branches of philosophy. It involves looking at a complex world, and then trying to find the things which each part of that world has in common. By looking for what is common or similar, we are able to make generalisations more easily: the very basis of human communication depends to a considerable extent on our ability to…

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