This “essentialist” curriculum created in 1982 by Mortimer Adler and The Paideia Group proposes a single, required, 12-year course in general, humanistic learning as a foundation for the future learning of all students.
The Paideia plan is built on the understanding that education serves to prepare individuals for (1) earning a living, (2) citizenship, and (3) self-development. With that in mind, here is the plan’s proposed framework:
|GOALS||Acquisition of organized knowledge||Development of intellectual skills (learning skills)||Enlarged understanding of ideas and values|
|MEANS||Didactic instruction||Coaching, exercises, supervised practice||Socratic questioning and active participation|
|AREAS||Language, literature, fine arts, math, natural science, history, geography, social studies||Speaking, listening, calculating, problem solving, critical judgment||Discussion of books (not texts) and art performances|
Theodore Sizer of the Paideia Group insists that Paideia is not a detailed curriculum for deliberate reasons. The Paideia Group believes that only the teachers and principals who can change education should design a specific curriculum blueprint. Instead, the Paideia plan provides a framework and process for “crafting the critical details of the program in ways appropriate to their own communities.”
Educational Leadership (March 1984): Dennis Gray, “Whatever Became of Paideia? (And How Do You Pronounce It?), p. 56-57. Daniel Tanner, “The American High School at the Crossroads,” p. 4-13.