Curriculum is a field of study that has been evolving since the first educators began to teach and study what it meant to deliver knowledge. This field, however, has eluded a clear and concise definition of the word “curriculum” and what it should encompass. Opinions vary widely from those who ascribe a narrow focus on curriculum as merely subjects to be taught, or widely, as all that individuals require for full societal participation. It may be that there are no clear answers to be found in perfectly, or even adequately, defining curriculum, as our ideas about what and how to teach are shaped by our ever-changing society. Curriculum developers will organize content, emphasize subject matter, choose textbooks, recommend methodology, and evaluate learning based on (a) their philosophical leanings, (b) their view of what has transpired through history, (c) theories of learning, and (d) social factors. A curriculum developer’s actions are guided by his or her beliefs and attitudes that are formed by experience with the philosophical, historical, psychological, and social factors that have contributed to the field over time.
Curriculum Principles: Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation
Design: Curriculum Design must be considered because it is where essential attitudes, skills, and concepts are addressed in the curriculum. Existing designs include subject, learner, and problem centered that are historically and philosophically based. Each designer needs to carefully consider which design or blend of designs will serve best. Designers need to consider all domains of learning (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) when developing objectives. The Ornstein text describes cognitive learning as divided into six levels using Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy model (see pages 229-230). “Levels 2-6 address various problem solving skills and abilities. Each level depends on acquisition of the previous level.” It is rather like the foundation of a house supporting the upper walls. The use of such a model has direct and indirect implications for curriculum and teaching. Affective and psychomotor objectives have received less emphasis but should be considered in the design as well.
Development: As with designs, curriculum developers make choices based on their perceptions and philosophies. They develop content selecting from many models to meet the needs of their students, schools, and communities and to address the outcomes of their task and needs analyses.
Implementation: Successful implementation depends on many factors. Even the best materials must be carefully introduced and care must be taken to thoroughly understand and plan the change process.
Curriculum Evaluation: Evaluation must start at the very beginning of curriculum development. Every aspect of the curriculum is evaluated at every point before, during, and after implementation. Choices of approaches to evaluation and evaluation models are influenced by beliefs and attitudes rooted in varying philosophies and ultimately result in the evaluation steps taken.
Stimulating Your Learning
Consider this visual as you reflect on the components of curriculum. Imagine the curriculum you use in light of this model. How might you make revisions using each of these aspects of curriculum?
Please refer to the Activity Resources section of each activity for the required readings.
Activity 1: Building the Foundations and Exploring the Theories (10 Points)
Curriculum can be seen as a means to reaching an educational goal. It typically involves a written document outlining the desired outcomes and means of achieving those aims. The choice of curriculum is highly affected by a practitioner’s individual philosophies and approach. Depending on one’s orientation; whether behavioral, managerial, systems theory, academic, humanistic, or reconceptualist, the role of the learner, teacher, and curriculum will differ. Yet, even with these different approaches, there can be some generalization about curriculum as all approaches are concerned with the learner’s experiences. It can also be seen as a discipline of study with its own areas of knowledge and foundations.
• Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2009): Review Chapters 1-5
1. Review the brief overview of the four foundations.
2. Look up the definition of a white paper.
3. Read the assigned chapters noted above in the activity resources.
4. Use the NCU Library, and or other resources you may find helpful to research more detail regarding this topic.
5. Review APA Form and Style
Throughout this course, and other courses here at Northcentral University, you are required to follow APA form and style when preparing assignments. If you are unfamiliar with APA form and style, take this tutorial: The Basics of APA Style.
Are you already familiar with APA form and style? Keep up with the 2010 changes by taking this tutorial: What’s New in the Sixth Edition
Check out this blog for deeper discussions and examples: APA Style Blog
You can also visit:
a. Frequently Asked Questions About APA Style.
b. What’s New in the Sixth Edition
Main Task: Promote a Charter School
For this paper, you should will prepare a hypothetical white paper promoting your charter school. Include the following in your paper:
1. Explain how the foundation of the curriculum (philosophical, historical, psychological, or social, or a combination) is the best for the students who will be attending and why the curriculum is superior to any of the others.
2. Discuss the educational philosophy (perennialism, essentialism, progressivism, or reconstructionism (or a combination) that guides the curriculum and its delivery and how that philosophy will ensure students are successful.
3. Include charts, diagrams (you can find good Venn diagrams at Gliffy.com) and pictures but ensure the paper contains at least 1,750 words.
4. Include insights and solid reasons that will attract people to your school.
5. Use examples of different philosophies used at least two other schools that would make those schools poor choices.
Support your paper with a minimum of three (3) scholarly sources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.