Publication Date

2005

Abstract

The current administration of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has created great controversy in response to many social reforms that have been implemented since his election. Major educational reforms claim to teach history in a new way, addressing issues of social justice and democratizing the classroom and learning in general. The purpose of this study is to ascertain to what extent history curriculum has changed, if it has, and if social justice is truly being addressed. The research question of this study is the following: Is the methodology and content of history curriculum allowing students and professors to deconstruct social justice issues? The subject of study of was the curriculum of history classes taught in Venezuelan schools, at the seventh-grade level and within schools of three distinct categories: Private school, public (Bolivarian) school, and an educative mission pursuing adult education. Research methods employed were primarily class observations, teacher interviews, and textual analysis of curriculums, books, and guides. Collected data was analyzed using the interpretive paradigm. My conclusion is that while the traditional teaching paradigm and curriculum persists in private schools, state-sponsored education is in a process of democratization, creating a new worldview that frames history in social, political, economic, and cultural contexts, where issues of social justice are of primary concern. These findings may aid educators and planners on local, state, and national levels to determine the impact that recent educational reforms have had on the individual (student) experience and aid in the planning and implementation of future reforms.

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