The educator faces the responsibility of developing a curriculum. What kind of learning experiences shall be planned for pupils? How should these units of experiences be organized? What kind of curriculum should the school provide to ensure that pupils attain the objectives of education? This research paper sheds some light on similar questions by looking deeply into curriculum development and curriculum planning.
II. THE FORMULATION OF A CURRICULUM PLAN
Galen says, “the nature of the educational experiences to be provided pupils, the methods of selecting and organizing the elements of the curriculum into a coherent and unified program of education, and the place in the education of the child and the sequential arrangement in which the elements of the curriculum are to be developed” (1966, p89). A plan for the curriculum is essential so that the schooling of the young may be guided systematically and efficiently to the attainment of the outcomes sought for pupils. The curriculum of a school is encompassed within these aspects of an educational program: A curriculum plan, therefore, to be comprehensive, significant, and adequate, should embrace all these aspects of schooling (Galen and William, 1966). Galen mentions that It should give guidance, insight, and assistance to the staff of the school on the proper kinds of learning experiences to be provided pupils for the attainment of goals and the structure for organizing and developing the program ( Galen,1966).
Important factors to consider in formulating a curriculum plan:
1. The Process of Curriculum Planning
In the process of curriculum development, we should provide some specific learning experience in the school. The aims of the school constitute the basis for determining the nature the learning experiences to be provided pupils. The values and beliefs of the social needs, capabilities, potentialities, and motivations of pupils; and on society’s conception of the role, responsibilities, and functions of the school. Galen mentions that the teacher may select and develop many types of learning experiences to enable pupils to attain his aim (Galen, 1966.p271). They can write an essay, or give complete freedom to choose the subject.
2. Factors Influencing the Curriculum PlanNing
Fowler mention, the curriculum plan is the result of decisions made by all of those who have legal responsibility for the government and operation of the school, the state legislature, the state department of education, the local board of education, the superintendent of schools, and the faculty of the school(1980,p 129). A good curriculum plan designates the elements that are necessary for the proper education of all children and youth and shows how these elements are to be selected, organized, and developed.
3. Should the Curriculum Be Planned in Advance?
The teacher can plan in advance the kinds of learning activities in which pupils will engage. Galen believes, that curriculum must be planned in advance of the act of experiencing (1966, p175). Teachers and other curriculum workers are responsible for choice making. Curriculum guides, plans of scope and sequence and other helps for the teacher should have a broad sweep, be suggestive, list many alternative possibilities for pupil experiences, and encourage the teacher to use initiative and imagination in his efforts to select, plan, and guide the development of units of experience for the realization of aims. Betty describes a teacher may achieve a desired end through a number of specific acts of behavior; thus he should be free to choose those which are most significant and meaningful to the group of pupils taught and which best challenge them to develop their talents and potentialities (1971, p. 72).
III. THE CLASSROOM PROGRAM OF THE SCHOOL
The most significant part of the curriculum development plan for a school, system, or a state system of education among those listed in the model is the organized class program. It is this aspect of the educational program that constitutes the major endeavors of the school and, from the standpoint of parents and citizens, the primary reason schools are established.
1. Planning the Class Program
In formulating the program of class work from kindergarten through senior high school three types of decisions must be made:
a) The Scope of the Class Program.
Tanner says, “What should be encompassed within the educational experiences to be provided pupils in organized class situation the range of possibilities for learning activities in a school is almost unlimited; curriculum planners must decide what types and kinds units of work should be included within the class program”(1975,p304). Should kindergarteners be taught to read? Should a study of human reproduction and sex relationships be included in the work of the junior high school?
B) The Allocation and Sequential Study of Content.
At what level or of schooling should instruction in the various areas of subject matter be introduced, how long should it be continued, and what should be the sequence in which aspects of the subject are to be studied?
C) Organization of Class work.
What shall be the structure for unifying and systemizing the learning activities of pupils? Neither a scope nor a sequence for the educational program is possible without a structure or an organizational plan for education.
2. Scope of Class work
The scope of educational experiences made available to pupils should enable each of their attain the goals and objectives of education. This becomes, then, the primary consideration in determining the scope of the curriculum. Galen says that, “The scope of the curriculum includes areas related to all stated aims. In developing a curriculum plan, the school faculty should analyze the units of experience to be developed in the classroom to make certain that the pupils will have the opportunity to attain objectives defined for their schooling” (Galen, 1966, p.277).
This should be an analysis of scope on both a longitudinal and a horizontal basis. One of the most serious deficiencies of curriculum plans throughout the schools of the nation is the failure to match objectives and the planned unit of class work.
3. The Program of Studies
The scope and sequence of class work in a school is usually shown by a program of studies. Almost everyone who has attended school is familiar with such a program. Many school systems publish curriculum guides for both the elementary and the secondary schools that contain the program of studies and, often, a brief description of the various subjects or the offerings of other types. At the secondary level such a guide is also published in student handbooks or in bulletins prepared for pupil registration, a daily schedule of class work is often included in these bulletins; in elementary schools, each teacher of a self-contained classroom may post a daily schedule showing class work and time allotments. In upgraded elementary and secondary schools, only a list of subject areas or other broad designations of class activities may be prepared.
4. The Organization of class work
There are four bases for selecting and organizing class work (1) bodies of subject matter selected and logically organized on the basis of designated structures, focal points, strands, or consenters; (2) life activities (3) needs, problems, interests, and-,experiences of pupils: and (4) analysis of job requirements. Which of these provide a desirable base for planning class work?
Among the elementary and secondary schools of the United States, all four bases are used. But each is used for specific parts of the class program at particular levels of schooling. Let us illustrate some common practices in the selection and use of organizational bases.
In kindergarten, content is usually selected on the basis of life activities and of personal needs, interests, problems, and experiences. Little attention is given at this level to organized bodies of subject matter, but many of the experiences do provide a basis for using knowledge in the acquisition of further knowledge.
In the primary grades, most schools make use of three of the four bases for organizing content—bodies of subject matter; life activities- and needs, interests, problems, and experiences of pupils. Job analysis is not appropriate as a direct means of organizing content at this level. Many units of classroom work in these grades are planned and taught specifically for the purpose of developing psychomotor skills, with content being a minor consideration, although content appropriate for the skill-is of course used.
Galen says “effective behavior is fostered in units of work developed also for the achievement of cognitive behaviors. Content is usually selected for its contribution to knowledge and understanding, with effective behaviors associated with these outcomes” (Galen, 1966.p-282).
Subject matter units, can organized on the basis of a focal point, such as strand, theme, concept, structure, chronology, or spatiality, are extensively used in the primary grades.
Galen explain, In the upper elementary school grades, even a cursory examination of curriculum guides reveals extensive use of organized bodies of subject matter as a basis for planning, class work. Content becomes more structured on a logical rather than a sociological or psychological basis.
It is selected primarily because it will contribute to the systematic mastery of a subject field (1966, p203).
The Junior High School
In the junior high school, the organizational basis of class work in the academic school subjects is subject matter, selected in accordance with a designated focus. Galen says, that in block or core programs a life activity, a social problem, or a personal problems base may be used to select and organize content. But it should be recognized that subject matter is also used as an organizing base for units of work in these programs (Galen, 1966. p283).
Senior High School
In the senior high school, as in the junior high school and the elementary school, many of the school subjects also provide learning experiences directed primarily to the development of psychomotor skills, and a number of subjects are offered primarily for this purpose.
The responsibility facing the curriculum planner is to make certain that appropriate methods of selecting and organizing content be used so that the education of the children results in growth and development that enable them to realize the full potential of their capabilities. Galen mention, Learning experiences must have direction, they must provide for further growth, they must lead to the realization of desired objectives, and they must enable each pupil to realize his own potential(Galen, 1966. p285).
IV. THE CORE AND BLOCK-OF-TIME PROGRAMS
According to Daniel, the term “core” is a familiar one to curriculum workers, and the concepts embodied in this construct have significantly influenced educational developments for much country (Daniel, 1975.p168). Many secondary schools have made provisions for a core or a block program in their curriculum plans. In a consideration of the class program of the school and of the selection and organization of content, we should examine the characteristics of these programs and understand their use in secondary schools.
1. Characteristics of Core and Block Programs
Tyler describe that, a core program in a school meant the elimination of certain required school subjects and the substitution of a new integrated type of class program that utilized a different kind of organization of content (1969, p124).
The remainder of the day is devoted to a study of subjects of the traditional type, including disciplinary, practical, and functional courses. Many school systems having core programs have recognized the educational advantages of having pupils work with a teacher for a longer block of time than the usual 40-55-minute class period, but dissatisfied with units of study based on areas of living or needs, Gail discus the content for the block consisted of subjects, pure and simple.
In most schools the block extended for only two secondary school periods, and two subjects were included, usually English and one of the social studies, but in others a block included mathematics and science subjects(1966. p46). Often good teachers in block programs integrated the content usually developed in these subjects, and sought to attain a broader range of behavioral goals than is expected when each subject is taught separately.
2. Present Status of Core and Block Programs
Elementary Schools. In educational circles, neither “core” nor “block-of time” is applied to elementary school programs, although practice in most of these schools is to have one class group of pupils remain together with a teacher for the entire school day, or for at least a major portion of it. But the self-contained classroom or even a half-day platoon program offers the same advantages as that claimed for the longer period arrangement in the secondary school. Tanner believe, In practice, a curriculum worker determines what administrative arrangements are best at each school level for attaining most effectively and completely the aims of the school, with no thought of imposing a common organization or design on all schools(1975,p 245). Thus the elementary school has not followed blindly any plan instituted for the secondary school, and vice versa.
Secondary Schools. During the heyday of core programs, only a very small proportion of the secondary schools of the country adopted the plan. No status studies were made during that period, and even studies made at a later date, when block-of-time programs had replaced most of these core programs, reveal only limited use of either type of program in the schools.
V. PLANNING THE SERVICES OF THE SCHOOL
The services a school provides its pupils should be regarded as another part of its educational program. These include:
Guidance and counseling services
Services for exceptional children and youth
Planning the contribution that each of these services will make to the attainment of educational objectives is an essential and necessary part of the process of curriculum development. Galen mention, these services, in sum, constitute major undertakings of a school system: not only do they facilitate and contribute to the education of pupils; the services themselves are educative. Their contributions to the achievement of the objectives of the school should be deliberately planned and sought by the school staff, both the professionals and the non-professionals (1966, p204). In many school systems, these services are regarded as merely service units and not educational activities. Except for the guidance and library services, and to a lesser extent the special services rendered exceptional children, school faculties are seldom asked to participate in planning educational experiences that may be provided by these service units of the school. Again, it seems essential that thoroughgoing and comprehensive curriculum planning include consideration of the educational objectives that may be achieved through these parts of the educational program.
According to Galen, “Good curriculum planning is possible only when all the teachers and other educators responsible for the education of children throughout their period of schooling from kindergarten through high school. They should work together to make certain curriculum plans take proper and adequate account of all the basic factors that enter into the making of curriculum decisions” (1966, p205).
We hope this post will shed some light on the process of curriculum developmental, curriculum design, and curriculum planning.
Galen, J. (1966). Curriculum Planning. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
Tanner, D. and Tanner, LN. (1980). Curriculum Development: Theory in to Practice. New York: Macmillan. (LB1570.T35, 1980)
Betty, A and Louie T. (1971). Elementary School Curriculum. New York:
Fowler, W. (1980). Curriculum and Assessment Guides for Infant and Child Care. USA: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.
Gail, M. (1966). The Emergent in Curriculum. New York: John Wiley and sons, Inc.