Unit 2IP: Approaches to Curriculum Theory
Running Head: APPROACHES TO CURRICULUM THEORY
Approaches to Curriculum
This paper focuses on analyzing the four important approaches to curriculum theory, concerning the definition of curriculum, which had changed over the years. Content model which considered as the classic and traditional approach was somewhat similar with my own approach to curriculum theory, primarily because syllabus is used to serve as a guide in knowing if my entire lesson is on the right track, at the right time. However, in order to maintain smooth learning process application of open communication and feedback, together with the help of evaluation tools in measuring the outcome, enables me to overcome the flaws of content model, which focus on the fact that it only focus on the content of the learning, and does not focus on the relationship between the learners and instructors which is considered as one of the most important factors in the process of learning.
Curriculum is connected to learning. Learning is planned and guided, therefore there is a great need to identify in advance what we are seeking in order to accomplish and know how to go about it. Aside from that, the definitions refers to schooling, therefore it is vital to distinguish that the recent approval of curriculum theory and practice materialized and happened in school and in connection with other schooling ideas, including subject and lesson (Smith, 2000)
In connection, there are four ways of approaching curriculum theory and practice, curriculum is considered as: a body of knowledge to be transmitted; or an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product; or a process; and praxis (practice) (Mullen, 2007). These four approaches or point-of-view towards curriculum is important because it help the process of designing and implementing curriculum in order to meet the specific needs in a specific situation.
Approaches to Curriculum Theory
As mentioned, there are four ways of looking at curriculum, which can be described as the: content model, product model, process model and praxis model. The content model focus on the thinking that knowledge is frequently determined by history, or seen as a more traditional or uniform series of topics which are believed to be valuable knowledge, not considering the context in which they are being taught. In the product approach, priorities are being determined with accordance to the product or outcome of learning (McCaffrey, Merrifield, & Millican, 2007). The process model focus on the thinking that curriculum is not a physical thing, but the contact between teachers, students and knowledge (Smith, 2000). The last approach sees curriculum as praxis or as a process of reflection which lead to action. It has similarities with the process, but it brings together the experience of the facilitator and the learner in the process of negotiating and deciding on what the groups will learn (McCaffrey, Merrifield, & Millican, 2007).
Content Model in Designing, Developing, Implementing and Evaluating Curriculum
Based on the definition given above, I can say that I considered curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted or the content model. Syllabus, originates from the Greek which means a brief or short statement or table of the heads of a discourse, the content of treatise, the subjects of a series of lectures (Smith, 2000). Knowledge is considered as something that is similar to a product that is manufactured, where in, at first, one starts knowing nothing, is taught and then transmit that knowledge into action (Mednick, 2006). Thus, I focus on a curricula design which serves as a guideline on what to deliver and to be taught on the students, at the same time, enables the learning process on the right order or track (McCaffrey, Merrifield, & Millican, 2007). The main difference is that, I make sure that communication between me and my student is two-way, which enables feedback. In addition, I also focus on the outcome of my teaching by focusing on the different evaluation tools which enables me to know if my lesson is being absorbed by my students. By doing this, it enables me to surpass one of the flaws of content model, which is, students are generally left out of the picture, because of a pre-specified plan or program, thus instructors tend to direct their attention towards the process of teaching (Mednick, 2006).
The content model can help me in focusing on the curriculum and learning process of higher education because, it is applicable in introducing new knowledge and skills towards the students. This is important because it can help me during the initial phases of the knowledge and information transfer, at the same time, enables me to be on the right track, with accordance to the designated or planned time. Thus, the said factors can also be applied by the educators or trainers in the process of designing, implementing and evaluating curriculum. Primarily, it can help to focus on a given area of knowledge or skill that is needed to be known or developed, at the same time, help to maintain consistency of the different tools and teaching approaches to be used, by the use of syllabus. This is very important in secondary education, because subjects and areas of knowledge are wider and in great needs of managing time, in order to make sure that all of the subtopics and areas of knowledge have been tackled. However, in order to ensure success, it will be necessary to also apply other approaches.
Because curriculum is directly connected to learning, it is very important to focus on the different factors that are connected on its design, development and implementation. Curriculum can be seen in four different ways: content, product, model and praxis. The first two focus on the physical factor of learning, while the remaining two focus on the relationship between the learners and the instructors, together with the different factors which are connected to the society. The content model is considered as the most traditional approach of all, because it uses a standard of one size fits all, meaning, unlike other approaches, it can be applied and implemented inside the classroom without any in-depth planning. However, because of that, the focus of teaching will be on the content, and not on the student.
McCaffrey, J., Merrifield, J., & Millican, J. (2007). Developing Adult Education Literacy: Approaches to Planning, Implementing and Delivering Literacy Initiatives. Oxfam.
Mednick, F. (2006, March 13). Curriculum Theories. Retrieved April 13, 2009, from Connexions: http://cnx.org/content/m13293/latest/
Mullen, C. (2007). Curriculum Leadership Development: A Guide for Aspiring School Leaders. Routledge.
Smith, M. K. (2000). Curriculum Theory and Practice. Retrieved April 30, 2009, from The Encyclopedia of Informal Education: www.infed.org/biblio/b-curric.htm
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