Episode 81: Curriculum Theory with Mark Helmsing

In Episode 81, Dan and Michael chat with Mark Helmsing of George Mason University about curriculum theory.

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VoE Mark Helmsing

Books, articles, lessons, and other amazing resources

  1. Check out Mark’s publications on his Google Scholar page and on his George Mason faculty page including:
    1. Helmsing, M. (in press). Youth, the Vietnam War, and Becoming-American. In S.R. Steinberg, B. Down, D. Nix-Stevenson (Eds.), SAGE Handbook of critical Pedagogies. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
    2. Helmsing, M. (2018). Making America great (again and again): Certainty, centrality, and paranoiac pedagogies of social studies education in the United States. In J. Sandlin & J. Wallin (Eds.), Paranoid pedagogies: Education, culture, and paranoia (pp. 99-120). New York, NY: Palgrave.
    3. Helmsing, M. (2016). Becoming-American: Experiencing the nation through LBGT fabulation in a ninth-grade US history class. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 40(3), 173-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jssr.2016.02.001
    4. Helmsing, M. (2014). Virtuous subjects: A critical analysis of the affective substance of social studies education. Theory & Research in Social Education, 42(1), 127-140.https://doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2013.842530
  2. Also, Mark and Dan are co-editors with Annie McMahon Whitlock on an upcoming curriculum book to be published by Peter Lang entitled, Keywords in the Social Studies: Concepts and Conversations.
  3. Here’s the War of 1812 College Humor video Dan mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2AfQ5pa59A
  4. For an overview of key readings in curriculum theory see: Flinders, D.J., & Thornton, S.J. (Eds.) (2013). The curriculum studies reader (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. And, there is now a 5th edition.
  5. Check out the work of Avner Segall of Michigan State University to learn more about what’s NOT in the curriculum. Dan particularly likes and uses Avner’s article, Segall, A. (2003). Maps as stories about the world. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 16(1), 21-25.
  6. We discussed Elliot Eisner’s null, hidden, and explicit curriculum. Read a short description of Eisner’s contributions to education: http://www.aera.net/SIG177/Eisners-Contributions
  7. Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education: A Report of the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education, Appointed by the National Education Association. Bulletin, 1918, No. 35; Wikipedia summary and context
  8. Here’s a page Dan has used to teach the five philosophies of education — essentialism, perennialism, progressivism, social reconstructionism, and existentialism — he outlined in the episode. It includes videos his students made!: https://educationalfoundations.wordpress.com/schedule/week-8/
  9. Shulman, L. S. (1987). The wisdom of practice: Managing complexity in medicine and teaching.
  10. Pinar, W. F. (2012). What is curriculum theory? Routledge.
  11. Learn more about Lynn Fendler of Michigan State University.
  12. For more on Deborah Britzman and difficult knowledge, see episode 53: Teaching Difficult Knowledge with Jim Garrett: https://visionsofed.com/2017/04/26/episode-53-teaching-difficult-knowledge-with-jim-garrett
  13. For graduate students, education professors, and other educators, the American Educational Research Association Division B focuses on Curriculum Studies (@AERADivB) if you would like to get more involved in the curriculum studies world.


Mark Helmsing, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. Dr. Helmsing’s teaching and research bridge the fields of curriculum studies and social studies education with a focus on theorizing approaches to teaching history, heritage, and cultural memory in schools, museums, and popular culture. His work considers how we feel about the past and how the past makes us feel in creating what scholars call the popular past, the presence of the past, and sublime historical experiences. He is currently studying the role of specific affects and emotions when learning about war, violence, and genocide (such as grief, mourning, suffering) with recent fieldwork conducted in Germany and Poland as well as numerous historic sites throughout the United States. He is also working with doctoral students on a project examining how U.S. History educators can conceptualize and theorize “the recent past” when teaching about the 1970s, 80s, and 90s in their curriculum. He is a co-editor of the volume Keywords in Social Studies: Concepts and Conversations (in press with Peter Lang) and the author of the book, Captivated by the Past: Popular History and Critical Media Literacy (forthcoming from Brill/Sense). Dr. Helmsing represents the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies in its House of Delegates and serves as a member of the editorial boards for The Journal of Curriculum & Pedagogy; The International Journal of Critical Youth StudiesTaboo: The Journal of Culture and Education; and various academic book series. Check out his George Mason page and reach Mark on Twitter @markhelmsing.


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