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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 31-35

A reflection on literature of children in the curriculum of elementary schools of Iran by using Eisner's expertise-critical model

Islamic Azad University of Isfahan (Khorasgan Branch), Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Zohreh Hamzehlou
Islamic Azad University of Isfahan (Khorasgan Branch), Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2555.170721

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The purpose of this article is to reflect on literature of children in the curriculum of elementary schools of Iran using Eisner's expertise-critical model. In this study, the evaluation of expertise-critical is talked about, and it is suggested that this evaluation be used which is in direction of applying the feature of literature of children in elementary schools. This study applies Eisner's expertise-critical method in education using a review-analysis method. The findings show that due to major damages, literature of children needs a basic review which entails applying a set of measurements. Having a bird's eye view, we have to inspect what literature of children has to put aside the damaging cases. By this, we can identify the criteria of literature of Iranian children. This way, a set of guidelines are provided which the curriculum of elementary schools need to follow. Those guidelines are to be guiding light for all of lesson plans in elementary education of children in Iran. As a result, a modern child of Iran has gotten away from his/her ancient literature and needs to make peace with it.

Keywords: Eisner, elementary school, expertise-critical evaluation model, lesson plan, literature of children

How to cite this article:
Hamzehlou Z. A reflection on literature of children in the curriculum of elementary schools of Iran by using Eisner's expertise-critical model. Eur J Psychol Educ Studies 2015;2:31-5

How to cite this URL:
Hamzehlou Z. A reflection on literature of children in the curriculum of elementary schools of Iran by using Eisner's expertise-critical model. Eur J Psychol Educ Studies [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Apr 23];2:31-5. Available from: https://www.ejpes.org/text.asp?2015/2/2/31/170721

  Introduction Top

The process of evaluation is done in order to determine the rate of the functionality or dysfunctionality of the plan and to discover the possible plans. Evaluating the operation of the plan and determining what the students have learned or experienced is a part of evaluation as well.[1] Defining lesson plan Eisner asserts: “Lesson plan is a set of educational occasions designed for fulfilling educational results which have been predicted for one of a couple of students.”[2] Educational systems always seek ways to upgrade their quality and to make the works aiming at students' education more effective.[3] This method is one of the correct ways of evaluation system. Eisner constructs the evaluation system based on two features: Expertise and critique. He names the expertise the art of evaluation and calls critique the art of disclosure.[4] Barron categorizes the educational critique into two distinct groups: “Inactive critique and experimental” and “Live critique and natural.” Whereas in inactive kind, separate from function, the critic investigates the total curriculum or physical condition of educational place; in active critique or natural environment, the critic pays attention to the relationships among people's lives and educational environment and it is the experienced curriculum that matters to him/her.[5] After a world named the world of children was known, literature of children in its modern sense of word was formed. Of course, it must be noted that maternal lullabies and other oral folklore songs have been formed from thousand years ago. They express the wishes of mothers for their children and nowadays are included in literature of children. According to the general definition of literature of children, there is not a difference between the literature of adults and children. In means that, in terms of quality, the literature of children is not inferior to the literature of adults; rather it is more constructive because it is created for those humans whose experiences are limited and their lives is formed.[6] The methods of evaluation are related to the ways they are provided and the responses of students using their experiences and learning. Basically, evaluation is a process that includes all of the decisions in the field of curriculum.[7] Literature of children is designated for a set of works and writings by expert writers which are provided for free study of children and in all of them the child's talent and level of development are considered.[6]

  Methodology Top

Using Eisner's expertise-critical of Eisner, the method of this study is qualitative. Having a method based on review, this research analyzes the pros and cons of ancient literature of children using the documents, articles, and specialized books.

  Findings Top

Literature of children in our era, without giving ethical pieces of advice and political and social slogans, tries to help our children to gradually play an important and constructive role in our changeable world.[8] In Iran, in spite of its literary grandeur and history, literature of children does not have a long history. This shortage is applicable to the literature written for teenagers and it is not ascribable to legends, proverbs and popular stories. When we deal with the phenomenon of literature of children in Iran, we face a question: To what extent literature of children is affected with tradition and modernism? Does this genre have a history, as some experts say? Has it experienced a structural transformation after Mashrooteh?[9] If we consider the oral literature as a part of the literature of children, we can say that literature of children has been triggered by lullabies sung by cave-resident mothers whispering into the ears of their children, but in its modern sense of meaning, literature of children begins when it comes in the books of children and teenagers.[10] It seems as if knowing lullabies and their tones had been prepared for the psyches of women.[11] Thus, literature of children is used for the writings and poems which are dedicated to children and teenagers. This kind of literature includes a part of our public culture such as lullabies, proverbs, and stories on the one hand and stories, dramas, poems and writings about religion, social science, knowledge and its uses, art and entertainment which writers and poets create for children and teenagers.[12] The strongest link between rates of publishing books in comparison to its previous year is related to 2000 or 2001. The methods of evaluation are strongly interrelated with the way of presentation and students' answers from their experiences and learning. Basically, evaluation is a process, which includes all of the making-decisions about curriculum.[13] Therefore, evaluation is not just done in postlearning stage. Preparing a guideline for curriculum and teacher guide paves the way for making use of it in education. Here, we talk about using evaluation in an artistic way and applying expertise-critical model is suggested for evaluation and test.[5] Literature is a set of expositions of each nation which is reflected in prose (drama, novel, short story, folklore, proverbs, fable, and different kinds of story) and poetry (songs, poems, enigmas); all reflecting beliefs, ceremonies, emotions, ambitions and wishes, lifestyle, and cultural criterion of every nation which leads them to salvation. The way this literature is expressed and interpreted can be either oral or written.[14] Literature of children discovers the talents and wishes of children and leads them into a correct direction, using them in new learning experiences. It acquaints children with their surroundings, God, faith, religious, and ethical values; and deals with internalizing these values. It teaches children to defend their rights and nurtures their courage to speak in public.[15] Eliot Eisner is one of the most famous and influential thinkers in the field of curriculum planning and aesthetics. He believes that environment shapes artistic attitudes and artistic education has an important role in students' development. Eisner enumerates eight key abilities which are achieved through artistic training: Artistic perception, attention to delicacy, different solutions for problems, ability to change purposes during the process, ability to make decisions in the absence of predetermined rules, development of imagination, ability to do things in a limited media, and ability to see things that have been invisible to him so far. He believes that mission of educational environment is too large to be limited to teaching breadwinning to the students, rather it is a place where how to shape and make their lives.[5] From Eisner's view, critique is social aspect of being expert about others. He believes that critique has three aspects: Discretional, interpretational, and evaluation. Five educational aspects must be taken into account by an educational expert: (1) Intentional dimension. (2) Structural or organizational dimension. (3) Curriculum-related dimension. (4) Training dimension. (5) Evaluation-related dimension.[16] The evaluation of curriculum, from Eisner's view, is closely linked to the direction of values or ideology of curriculum. From his perspective, evaluation is a process by which we can judge about the value of a phenomenon or occasion. Eisner harshly criticizes having a single understanding of evaluation as a tool to determine the fulfillment of predetermined purposes, merely using standard tests. Following the theory of cognitional theory, he does not deny the usefulness of quantity-based techniques of evaluation; however, he does accept their sheer sovereignty in evaluating curriculum.[17] Professionally familiar with arts and artistic critiques, he introduces an alternative approach in evaluating the curriculum which its similar type is acquired by artists in analyzing artistic works. That is why Eisner's alternative model as “expertise model and training critique” is one of types of threesome named as “research based on arts.”[18] Concepts related to “expertise” and “critique” point to the abilities of the evaluator or curriculum researcher in understanding and revealing delicate and vague qualities of training phenomena. From Eisner's view, expertise is the art of understanding the qualities and critique is a tool of disclosing the features or perceived aspects mediated by expertise.[4],[19] Expertise requires the ability of sensing and understanding the phenomena, knowing the delicacies, and understanding the experiences. Critique requires generalization in experiences through different ways of reflection. Unlike the common way of statistical reflection in evaluation studies, the language that a critic acquires in disclosing the qualities is a symbolic and metaphoric one, which Eisner calls it “propositional” or “creative”. This kind of language by describing the emotional qualities and their inherent meanings of experiences conveys one sense and meaning; this way it is distinguished from “propositional” or “logical” language. This language requires imagination or taking advantage of the lingual power of imagination. Thus, it is clear that far from common language, in this language ample of similes, allegories and metaphors are used.[20] Researchers believe that instead of testing one's knowledge, evaluation must deals with encouragement in learning. We have to know that the ways of conveying, making and reserving knowledge are ample, as talents and interests which are different.[21] Literature of children is one the most important issues in educational systems. Paying attention to language, psychology, and age-related needs of children are among categories which child experts emphasize on, but this important problem has no place in our cultural and educational system and has remained unknown. Nurturing and revisiting literature of children requires elite's efforts so that they come into the scene with noncommercial views and work for children. Translating instructive foreign stories, re-reading ancient Persian texts, like rewriting “Kelile and Demne” in modern language and making animations using native topics can nurture literature of children which are compatible with humane values.[22] Our era is not the era of the mastery of children; rather modern civilization does not allow children to develop in a way that this era has been called “the demise of childhood.” The increasing speed of trade has made adults enter children into the cycle of production. Paying attention to these points, the significance of the literature of children becomes clear. (1) Children are vulnerable. Due to the requirements of their age, they do not have critical minds and they judge with their senses. Thus, when exposed to cultural productions, their vulnerability is high. (2) Children are easily affected. This acceptance is higher and deeper in comparison to adults. As a hadis (narration) from Islam's prophet emphasizes: “Learning knowledge in childhood is like a print in a stone (it remains forever).” (3) Child population is higher and they have more free time. Especially, in Iran the potential addressee is high.[8] Literature of children is a cultural phenomenon which its developmental process throughout the history has a strong link with transformations in childhood and the way a child is perceived. Every generation's literature is based on the previous generations' literature. Children books are the product of their own era. We cannot evaluate them without considering the social, cultural, ethical and even political conditions of that era. We deal with terms such as “mothers' lullabies” and “grandmothers' songs” in universal level.[22] Concerning the aim of literature of children, Oker Land says: “Literature must be presented in order to meet the needs of particular groups in particular times.” This way, the result will be enjoying from beauty, which is literature's purpose. Literature should be a means to gratify society's needs.[16] Among the criteria in lingual models, it is the functionality that talks about the purposes and addresses of writing. A saying's proportion with teller's purpose and its proportion with its addresses determine the usefulness of lingual models. Sufficiency is a saying's being enough in conveying the intended meaning. When this sufficiency is not attained; for example it is compatible with criteria like beauty, purity, sufficiency and usefulness, but it is not acceptable to people, it is not considered a criterion.[23] Due to the new ligual-cultural texture, formal language became more prevalent than literary language and in new lingual situations like radio and TV, newspapers, magazines, school and science books became exclusive. The simplicity of formal language made people turn to it in their writings, therefore ancient literary language gradually which had a long history and was stable, for about a thousand years, seemed inappropriate in many lingual situations and its extent decreased. This caused a long distance between readers of school books and writers of ancient books. We can fill this gap by teaching ancient books alongside the books which are used for teaching language to children. As folklore is the preface of all arts, it is the beginning of literature and particularly literature of children. Lullabies, proverbs, child songs, child legends, adventure stories, epics, love stories, and legends which are the product of people's imagination throughout the history shape the basics of literature of children and teenagers. Hence, literature of children is rooted in folklore and its age is the same as humankind.[12] One of the obstacles in succeeding curriculum is improper evaluation system in education. In fact, country's educational plans are determined through tests which students answer and not through the planners and writers of schools books.[24] Today, we need a new generation of teachers which have new insight about educational leadership, teachers who take part in shaping students' fates, take ethical and social responsibility as a teacher and deal with critiques and transforming thoughts.[16] Due to its tremendous mission in humankind's life, literature must have transcendent aims; because self-recognition is one of literature's purposes. Human beings want to know themselves and justify their existences. Seeking humanity, one reaches the spiritual element of thought which is source of awareness and distinction and employs power of thought in two directions:First, to meet material needs and second to grant credit upon his/her spirit. That is why people need literature and take hold of it.[25] In the 19th and 20th centuries, writers appeared throughout the world that used all their power to create literary works in such a way that the 20th century became the acme of literature, variety and artistic quality; particularly for children.[26] Two features make literature different from other texts: Giving feeling of enjoyment to the readers and creating an understanding between the writer and reader. There are two general aspects of art (including literature). Literature creates a new experience in human beings. In Hack and Kohen's view, literature is based on two elements: (1) Writing beautifully, proper use of language and images (2) a reader's experience and the way he/she communicates with that writing.[27] In choosing literary texts, factors which are effective in thoughts and personalities of the students must be taken into account. Paying attention to different literary genres such as comedy, didactic and so on and facing different texts gives a universal view to the students and does not limit students' familiarity with literary texts to merely one aspect. Authentic Persian texts and translated works must be chosen harmoniously to make students become familiar with Iranian culture and terms. Selecting and teaching poetry must be considered apart from prose. Concerning choosing poetry, we have to consider to literary structure and details such as similes, metaphor, music and etc., Particularly, features that merely belong to poetry and their differences with prose like omission, combination, and propositions are important. Other texts like scientific texts, magazines, newspapers must be taken into account as well and from contemporary writers too. You should choose texts which have the capacity to be talked about and discussed after class.[15] Based on literary actions and reactions and criteria, we can define literary text as such: Ancient literary texts are works which according to the categorizations of Persian literature have been written in old structures and language (the common formal and literary language before Mashrooteh). It must be noted that thanks to new theories we consider many of these texts in prose or poetry as literary texts, but our ancient generations for a long time (before Golestan of Sa'adi's fame) used to merely regard poetry a literary text and not prose.[28] Sometimes in past, it was impossible to distinguish formal language from literary one. In our times, these two kinds of language are distinguishable, but due to the prevalence of literary norms, so many people mistakenly consider formal and literary languages as the same. Literary school books in not-too-far-past years used to create this doubt that formal language is equal with literary language which is embellished with literary techniques.[23] Researches and experiences show that with the present educational methods in elementary schools, so many problems in reading and writing will remain unresolved and even in their adulthood the readers of Persian texts, particularly ancient ones, will have problems in reading. Even the students of Persian literature have serious problems in reading old texts; for instance, they cannot read correctly, they do not recognize the relationship between the phrases and words and do not understand the infrastructure of the sentences correctly. However, if these skills are taught correctly when they are children, they will not have problems in upcoming years.[27]

  Conclusion Top

In the outset of entrance of literature of children into Iran, it has been employed as an educational tool. Besides, indirect teaching with literature of children has helped to purify the educational atmosphere from violence. This study seeks to design implications in the same direction with literature of children to include them in the curriculum of elementary schools. Literature of children looks at an addressee who due to his/her slight belonging to his/her nationality and region is regarded as universal child. Hence, cultural and geopolitical borders which are regarded as unchangeable in traditional views, facing borders of literature of children, are forced to accept a cultural give-and-take relationship. This phenomenon particularly occurs due to the fact that those borders find this tool useful for themselves and this familiarity with pros and cons of literature of children intensifies that phenomenon. Eisner's evaluation model of expertise-critical because of its thoroughness and artistic nature can meet the needs of today's students to live in an Iranian society which enjoys an old and rich literature in every aspect. The fact that today's student is far from his/her old literature entails us to make peace between students and their literature. Hand in hand with curriculum planners and along with providing an effective implication for elementary schools, it is teachers' duty to employ those plans in their classes. Regarding the literature of children as a significant issue means regarding significance for a brilliant future for humankind; because, literature of children is an infrastructure for mental, intellectual, social and scientific transformation of future-makers of the society.

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