Theoretical Conceptions of Curriculum: Implications for Juvenile Correctional Education
The problem. Despite a growing body of research identifying the positive impact of appropriate educational interventions in the successful rehabilitation of incarcerated juveniles, recidivism rates for juvenile offenders remain high. The costs of this apparent failure of juvenile corrections has led juvenile correctional educators to call for a thorough reexamination of the curricular experience available to juvenile offenders. To date, however, the field remains without a comprehensive analysis. Specifically, juvenile correctional education has not undertaken the theoretical analysis of curriculum within which current methods and programs can be evaluated. Procedures. Content analysis is employed to determine the theoretical orientation of juvenile correctional curriculum. Articles relevant to juvenile correctional education published in The Journal of Correctional Education are examined for points of correspondence with descriptors of empirical-analytic, hermeneutic, and critical curriculum theory. Frequency is employed to assess the impact of empirical-analytic, hermeneutic, and critical curriculum theory on juvenile correctional education. Findings. This paper concludes that juvenile correctional education is primarily influenced by the empirical-analytic approach to curriculum. While other theoretical orientations are also present in the descriptions of juvenile correctional education, the fundamental orientation to knowledge, activity, and values are those of an empirical-analytic approach. Recommendations. Further content analysis of other indigenous forms of communication in the field of juvenile correctional education would be useful in assessing the validity of this study. Further studies might also examine more closely the relationship between an empirical-analytic theoretical approach to juvenile correctional education and classroom practice, as well as the feasibility and desirability of the goals of juvenile correctional education both in terms of the field's theoretical orientation and the requirements of the society and students it serves.
- Dissertations