The paper is not intended to be prescriptive in any way. Rather, it is intended to provide a conceptual framework within which to judge the quality of both existing and proposed curricula. In the simplest terms, curriculum is a description of what, why and how students should learn. The curriculum is therefore not an end in itself. The objective of curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be successful in their lives.
The ultimate indicators of curriculum success are the quality of the learning achieved by students and whether and how students use that earning for their personal development and to bring about positive social change. Learning in schools occurs in a range of intended and unintended ways. Intended lea I g often feed to as the plan De o foal u I lulu cost often occurs in the classroom and other controlled settings. Its focus is the endorsed curriculum as planned and implemented by teachers. The outcomes of the formal curriculum are normally assessed by teachers and by the relevant authorities.
Unite deed lea I g the u plan De o hide u I lulu AAU he e – in the playground, in the corridors and in the classroom – and is largely u o t lolled . Of the PU poses of this ape , u I lulu is defile De as the I et deed u I lulu as prescribed by education authorities in its formal curriculum documentation. The paper identifies four areas to consider when evaluating curriculum quality, and discusses contemporary practices within each of these areas. The authors hope that one use of the paper might be to promote and encourage discussion of these practices, and to judge how practical they are in specific contexts.
The four broad areas are: 2 3 4 The focus on learning and learners in the curriculum The content and delivery of the curriculum Documentation of the curriculum Curriculum development processes, including monitoring and evaluation. 2 THE FOCUS ON LEARNING AND LEARNERS IN THE CURRICULUM A good quality curriculum Values all children as individuals Is based on a clear understanding of modern, broadly accepted concepts / understandings about how children learn Promotes teaching practices that reflect these concepts of learning Reflects that decisions and choices made during the curriculum development process are made in the interests of learners.
A curriculum that is based on this approach is often doted hill- e t De. What does this fee De to as learner- eat p a it e? What does a hill- e Ted u I lulu look like? Inclusiveness. Firstly, the clearly stated broad aim of the curriculum will be to be inclusive – to assist every student, regardless of ability, gender or social and economic circumstances, to reach their individual potential as learners. Each student is different. Not all are academically gifted. Not all can be ranked first in assessments.
But all students can be encouraged to do their best, and good u I lulu ill take a oh toffee h lea sees pee so al, so ail a d go tit e development in helping them achieve their potential. Future-orientation. Secondly, the curriculum will be forward-looking and prepare learners for the future through the development of broad competencies. It will acknowledge that, while still important, the learning, retention and repetition of knowledge will not alone ensure successful lives. The 21st century will be very uncertain, constantly changing and throwing up new challenges.
It will require people to develop and apply new understandings and to adapt to new ways of doing things. Across subjects and learning areas the curriculum will need to develop student competency in such areas as Communication Collaboration Critical thinking and problem-solving Creativity Managing diversity peacefully and constructively Learning to learn, giving students an enthusiasm for learning and the skills to learn independently throughout their lives. Differentiation. Thirdly, the curriculum will permit or even encourage curriculum differ e attic .
In other words, it will provide space for teachers to adapt the curriculum to suit the students in their classes. It will not demand that every student learn exactly the same content in exactly the same way and in exactly the 3 same number of hours. It will provide teachers with the flexibility to ensure that the t eat e t of the o et t is app pop late to thee studs TTS deeds a d capabilities. In developing approaches to differentiation, the curriculum and the pedagogy it promotes will acknowledge that students learn in different and individual ways.
Some students are very effective and skilled listeners, others require visual stimulation and others learn best through practical exercises. A good quality curriculum will encourage teachers to get to know their students and ensure that their teaching style and their classroom behaviors are directed towards achieving he best learning outcomes for them. New teacher roles. Finally, the curriculum will describe and promote a new role for the teacher. The tea he s approach will shift of I a he e to tea h toll a here to facilitate good lea I g .
With this approach come a new, individualized teacher-student relationship and a desire in teachers to encourage inquiry and curiosity. Similarly, the teacher in the role of assessor should use assessment not Just to test how well content is learned, but to understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual learners and to ensure that planning future classroom activities uses this information. THE CONTENT OF THE CURRICULUM AND ITS DELIVERY 2. 1 Content A good quality curriculum is comprised of content which is Up-to-date Relevant Balanced Integrated Consistent with international norms and expectations.
There has been a clear trend in recent decades away from content being simply knowledge or information. In past curriculum models, curriculum content has e pee ii De as lists Off TTS o I of Asia hi h, toe o side De us useful, students need to memories and be able to repeat. Often these lists were to be found only in textbooks. This k o ledge-based Del has a number of shortcomings, most important of which are: The nature and extent of human knowledge is expanding extremely rapidly and therefore can soon become superseded, disproved or irrelevant.
Memorizing information alone does not help deal with challenges and problems encountered in real life. Dealing with challenges and problems by apply I g OK ledge e ii sees u De sat did g the that Just OK I g . The knowledge and information is usually presented in discrete subject areas and no attempt is made to demonstrate and build links between subjects. An undue emphasis on knowledge and information does not prepare students well for their future lives. Students also need to develop the skills, aloes and attitudes so important for life and work and fundamental to their continued personal, physical, social and cognitive growth.
Traditional models of knowledge as disciplines does not acknowledge the I pop TA e ass-cutting- o ass- u I ala issues a d the sees – such as peace, environment and sustainability, the impact of technology, and media literacy. Ho ha e u I lulu De elope s esp. deed to these o et t halogens? To ensure knowledge is up-to-date and relevant, a number of strategies have been developed, such as: Curriculum development is now seen as a cycle of development, implementation, evaluation and revision. Curriculum cannot afford to be static.
It must be a continuing process of monitoring and checking, evaluating and updating. Students are encouraged to acquire learning skills so that they know how to learn and how they learn best. They should know that knowledge about every subject will develop and expand, and they should know that not all information sources are reliable. They must therefore learn the skills of research, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of information. There is decreasing reliance on textbooks as the only source of learning activity.
While textbooks still have a place, it is acknowledged that they are static and expensive learning support tools. Increasingly, teachers use media articles and programs, the internet and resources they produce themselves to support learning in current and interesting ways. These curricula typically focused on transmitting pre-fabricated information, and did not foster the development of higher-order skills. They focused very clearly on subjects and were teacher-centered rather than learner-centered. 5 Content can be made relevant by using teaching and learning activities that file t studs TTS pee so al I et est..
Foe a peel, skills of research, information-gathering and honesties can be learned through subject-based projects but for which students choose their own topics. In the Social “tidies a EAI, of e a peel, a dad topic of Lo al Co u it old allow students to research issues related to the politics and government, local environment, community leisure, or commerce of the local area. Learning about cross-cutting themes and issues can be encouraged through cross- curricular projects and assignments, structured student discussion groups and by ensuring that each subject syllabus contains specific reference to these priority themes and issues.
Curriculum also needs to achieve balance. This means that the curriculum must give due emphasis to Each of the various subject areas (in terms of time allocation and status) The personal, social, affective, aesthetic, physical/motor and cognitive development of students Each of the elements of curriculum content – knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. The curriculum must also promote integrated learning. Traditionally, curriculum has been structured into a number of subject areas which have developed and changed over time. To a large extent, schools subjects also reflect to some extent how university study is structured.
However, the ways in which e use or apply knowledge and skills in our lives is not always based on separate disciplines. In most cases, we use our learning from a range of subject areas in order to respond to a social or work situation or to solve a problem. The way our brains work is to use all the tools at their disposal (multi- and cardiopulmonary knowledge, skills and experience) to find the best way to respond to new circumstances by creating connections between existing and new information, and searching for meaning and relevance.
Curriculum developers should therefore seek ways to demonstrate connections et e u Jew TTS a d to I tag ate studs TTS learning. This can be achieved through, for example, Grouping subjects into broader Learning Areas through which links between similar subjects can be demonstrated and used. In some circumstances, hours of study might be allocated to the Learning Area rather than the subject, thus providing students with some flexibility and choice within the learning Area. Within the Learning Area, teachers can be encouraged to teach co-operatively and set common projects. There are many ways in which education systems group subjects. One common e a peel of this Dade Lea I g A EAI app oh h would be: Indicative Learning Area Name Creative and Performing Arts Social Sciences or Social Studies Science Languages Personal Development/Life skills Technical and Applied Studies Subjects Dance Music Visual Arts Media Arts Drama Geography History Citizenship Economy/Commerce Cultural Studies Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, etc.
Biology Chemistry Physics Geology Mother Tongue Official languages Other languages Health and Nutrition (including education; HIVE and aids) Physical Education Personal Growth and Development Life skills Information Technology Technical Production Crafts Home economics Entrepreneurial education sex Elective and optional subjects Presenting students with challenges which require a multidisciplinary response. This can be done through cross-disciplinary research assignments or other independent projects. Ensuring that each subject syllabus contains appropriate cross-references to similar content in other , and provides guidance to schools about how this cross-referenced material can be integrated. Overlaying subjects or Learning Areas with learning themes. This approach is particularly relevant in p I as wool u I lulu he e the sees us h as M FAA IL a d M Village a e oh age lea I g I a loss ids ‘Pl sees toe integrated within the hem. The curriculum must also be consistent with international standards and expectations across the subjects or Learning Areas.
These standards and expectations should be met in, for example: The range of subjects or Learning Areas included in the curriculum The scope and breadth of content within each subject or Learning Area In broad terms, the time allocated to subjects and Learning Areas in each grade or stage The types of learning outcomes expected of students, most importantly moving away from knowledge memorization and repetition to capacity to apply knowledge International standards of achievement at various grades and stages of development I et Asia al good p a it sees of it e allow Asia FAA d Asia-weights among learning areas/ subjects. . 2 Delivery of the Content Good quality curriculum content is important to good learning outcomes for students, but content must be supplemented and supported by good delivery strategies. Good quality curriculum not only prescribes what should be taught and learned in the various subjects and grade or stage levels, but also how that curriculum should be delivered. This should include expectations that the curriculum places on: Students Deli e I this o et t fee s to how the written curriculum is presented to students and how learning is actually facilitated.
Education systems, schools and teachers make numerous decisions as they t a slate the e ii e TTS a d ad I e of u I lulu do u e TTS I to EAI I guff a d fee it e lea I GA it ties I the lass o . Deli e I secludes all the decisions taken in turning curriculum documents into real practice so that student learning outcomes are maximized. 8 In modern teaching and learning practice, students are no longer seen as passive recipients of knowledge. As major beneficiaries the curriculum, students should be active participants in and contributors to teaching and learning processes.
This transition from passive to active learners can be difficult. It cannot be expected to happen immediately, and students need to be guided gradually into their new roles as learners in ways that reflect their stages of development. However, real learning requires real engagement. To really learn, students need to actively make connections between known and new knowledge, explore the skills needed in various situations and how to develop and adapt them, and appreciate the importance of developing a set of personal, community, social and sectional values.
By being active learners, students can become truly competent as they grow into adulthood. Good quality curriculum expects students to Understand the purpose of classroom activities and actively participate in them Be willing to make any choices available to them in selecting subjects or topics that suit their interests Be open to new ideas Be curious and willing to ask questions Engage I assess g thee oh d the studs TTS lea I g As well as learning the content, understand how they learned it and try to become better learners “popup t a d esp. t the studs TTS off TTS to lea Teachers
Teachers should be provided with examples of how to plan lessons and sequences of lessons, and of the kinds of classroom learning activities that bring the curriculum to life. The content of any topic in the curriculum can be presented to students in an almost endless variety of ways, and teachers should be helped to create classroom situations and activities that will make learning most effective.
Foe a peel, the topic of “Taoist s a e taught I a thee et al a the cough teacher dissertations on various statistical concepts. Alternatively, students 9 can be taken outside the classroom and set group data gathering assignments, such s the number of different species of birds visible in the playground in a number of 30 minute periods, or the number of men and women entering a particular local store in a given timeshare. Statistical processes can then be applied to this data in the classroom and conclusions drawn.
Teachers can be provided with ideas for delivering the content through professional development courses or written Teacher Guides which provide Sample lesson outlines for a topic or unit within a syllabus Detailed lesson notes and resources which describe how to conduct a lesson on a particular topic in a step-by-step way. Schools/Learning environments School leaders should understand the content of the curriculum and make management decisions within their areas of responsibility to support its delivery. They should be supportive of teachers adopting new and innovative teaching practice.
For example, if a teacher wants to encourage groups of students to discuss important concepts or issues related to a topic, school leaders should understand why this is being done and not be dismayed by increased levels of noise. They should understand that silence does not necessarily result in effective learning. Similarly, I the e a peel of tea hi g the “Taoist s topic fee De too o e, school leaders would encourage teachers to take students outside the classroom by ensuring that students are safe and providing additional assistance to the teacher if possible.
Within their responsibilities, schools should also ensure that the classrooms are as clean, safe and well-equipped as possible, and that the best materials to support good teaching and learning practice are provided. The objective is to provide learner- friendly environments that enable and encourage effective and enjoyable learning. Education systems and authorities There are different approaches to specifying the time to be allocated to each subject or learning area. Many systems and authorities adopt flexible approaches and allow schools some autonomy in deciding how much time should be allocated.