oa Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) - Taking a longer view : processes of curriculum development in the Department of Graphic Design at the University of Johannesburg

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2310-7103



In the face of the complex array of competing pressures currently faced by higher education, globally, nationally and institutionally (Maistry, 2010; Clegg, 2005) academic staff who are required to reconceptualise their curricula are often tempted to focus on the immediate demands of the classroom rather than the broader knowledge and curriculum-related issues which inform pedagogical practice. In this paper we argue that opportunities should be created for staff to consider knowledge domains and the curriculum in all its dimensions from a distance and in a more nuanced, theoretically informed way (Clarence-Fincham and Naidoo, forthcoming; Luckett, 2012; Quinn, 2012). The paper aims to show how a model for curriculum development which mirrors the three tiers of Bernstein's pedagogical device was used in the field of Graphic Design as a means of facilitating a deeper, more explicit understanding of the nature of the discipline and the values underpinning it, the kind of curriculum emerging from it and the student identities associated with it. (Bernstein, 1999, 2000; Clarence-Fincham and Naidoo, forthcoming; Maton, 2007). Drawing on staff responses during early curriculum development workshops, examples from the curriculum as well as data emerging from group discussion and individual interviews, it identifies a range of positions about several aspects of the field of Graphic Design (Maton, 2009) and the related curriculum. This reveals both areas of agreement as well as contestation and provides a solid platform for further interrogation and development.

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