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MODELS OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

Curriculum development has been looked at in two ways. These are basically
process and product.
As the terms imply process is concerned with the methods and means how
whereas the product looks at the outcomes, the end product what.
There are two approaches that have been developed: normative and
descriptive.
The first approaches are called normative Objectives (Tyler 1949) and the
rational (Taba 1962 and Wheeler 1967) because they provide a sequence of
steps. These have technical interests of control.
The procedural approach (Stenhouse 1975, Walker 1972, Skilbeck 1976,
Olivia 1976) which is discussed later in the lecture falls into the second
category of descriptive approaches because it an interactive model.
Differentiation between Process and Model:
Process: Some synonyms include. Procedure, development, method,
progression, practice, course of action.
A process is very simply the steps from the beginning of something to its
end. We have said that Curriculum Development is a process because it has
a beginning and it is continuously changing or being developed.
Model: Some synonyms: representation or reproduction.
In education when we talk about models we are talking about a
diagrammatic representation of something.
In the curriculum development process the term model is used to represent
- different elements or stages and
- how they relate to one another
A)Technical Approaches:
1) The Objectives Model approach.
The Objectives approach is so named because the very first step in this
approach is the defining of objectives of the course/program/lesson. (Tyler
1949) In this approach the school is viewed as a factory. Tyler states three
important sources that must be looked at in order to contextualise and make
curriculum development more relevant. These are:

1) The learners and their backgrounds


2) The present and future society and
3) Knowledge of the major disciplines, especially Philosophy,
Psychology and
Sociology.
He said that if these were considered that good citizens could be determined.
The more specific the specification of objectives, the easier it would be to
determine the sorts of activities that students could be engaged in. Tylers
approach is seen as the linear model as well as the ends- means model.
The Objectives Model:
Stating objectives
Selecting learning experiences
Organizing learning experiences
Evaluation
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Objectives Model:
STRENGTHS
WEAKNESSES
1 provides an easy to follow stepby-step
guide to curriculum planning and
development

1 sees curriculum development as a


fixed, linear process
2 does specify where the objectives
come from
3 division of labor at the various
points/steps are fixed so curriculum
actors are unaware of what others
do
4 cannot account for the
many/complex outcomes of learning
5 limits what students can learn

6 treats ends and means separately


2 begins with a set of clear objectives 7 doesnt indicate who decides what
that teachers must plan tasks and
is worthwhile
learning
work towards achieving the specified 8 doesnt consider that not all
outcomes
learning outcomes can be measured

9 fails to consider the changing


environment
10 fails to recognize that the future
cannot be predicted accurately with
precision.
B)The Procedural Approach:
Interaction / Dynamic Models take into consideration the background and
experience of students & teachers. The curriculum elements are seen as
flexible, interactive and modifiable (In Sharma 2003:5.18).
Advocated by Walker (1972), Skilbeck 1976, Stenhouse 1975), it sees the
process of curriculum development as dynamic in nature.
Changes can be initiated from any point in the process unlike the objectives
model where the beginning is always the setting of objectives.
1. The Process model
Stenhouse developed the process model framework for curriculum design.
He argues that a process model is more appropriate than an objective model
in areas of the curriculum, which centre on knowledge and understanding.
Basically he contends that it is possible to design curricula rationally by
specifying content and principles of procedure rather than by pre-specifying
the anticipated outcomes in terms of objectives.
It is possible to select content on the grounds that it represents a particular
form of knowledge, which is intrinsically worthwhile.
Content can be selected to exemplify the most important procedures, the
key concepts and the criteria inherent in a form or field of knowledge.
The justification for choosing such contest rests not on the pupil behaviours
to which it gives rise but on the degree to which it reflects the form of
knowledge, which itself needs no extrinsic justification.
In areas of the curriculum such as the arts or philosophy general aim can be
couched in terms of understanding principles of procedure or appreciating
particular art forms.
Planning rationally involves devising teaching methods and materials, which
are consistent with the principles, concepts, and criteria inherent in such
activities.

In this design the process is specified, i.e. content being studied, the
methods being employed and the criteria inherent in the activity.
The end product produced by pupils is not specified beforehand in terms of
behaviours but can be evaluated after the event by the criteria built into the
art form.
Stenhouse illustrates how such a model can be applied to the planning of
curricula in any form of knowledge. If you define the content of a philosophy
course, define what constitutes a philosophically acceptable teaching
procedure and articulate standards by which students work is to be judged,
you may be planning rationally without using objectives.
Stenhouse has illustrated how such a design can be also used in an area of
the curriculum, which has no one specific form of knowledge underpinning it.
This project aims at developing in pupils an understanding of social
situations and human acts and the controversial value issues which they
raise. It deals with themes such as War, Poverty,
Education, and relation between the sexes. It operates a discussion-based
form of teaching in which the group of pupils critically examine evidence as
they discuss such issues under the chairmanship of a teacher who aspires to
be neutral.
In the project behavioural objectives are absent. The teacher does not seek
to promote any particular point of view or response in his pupils.
In place of objectives the emphasis is on defining acceptable principles of
procedure for dealing with such issues e.g. principles concerned with
protecting divergence of opinion within the group, with developing critical
standards by which evidence can be appraised, with extending the range of
relevant views and perspectives accessible to the group.
Stenhouse acknowledges that a process model is far more demanding on
teachers and thus far more difficult to implement in practice, but it offers a
higher degree of personal and professional development. In particular
circumstances it may well prove too demanding.
In summary Stenhouse (1975) developed his model as a direct reaction to
the limitations of the objectives model. He focuses on teaching and learning
& developing curriculum through practice rather than policy change. This is
also known as Action Research Approach.

This process model identifies the teacher as the person most qualified to
make the change. It is based on two core features teacher research (also
known as action research) and reflective practice (the teacher reflects on his/
her practice and makes improvisations along the way).

2. The Situational Model


If the objectives model has its roots in behavioural psychology and the
process model in philosophy of education, the third major framework for
design has its roots in cultural analysis.
Skilbecks model locates curriculum design and development firmly within a
cultural framework. It views such design as a means whereby teachers
modify and transform pupil experience through providing insights into
cultural values, interpretative frameworks and symbolic systems.
The model underlines the value-laden nature of the design process and its
inevitable political character as different pressure groups and ideological
interests seek to influence the process of cultural transmission.
Instead of making recommendations in vacuum it makes specific provision
for different planning contexts by including as one of its most crucial features
a critical appraisal of the school situation.
The model is based on the assumption that the focus for curriculum
development must be the individual school and its teachers, i.e. that schoolbased curriculum development is the most effective way of promoting
genuine change at school level. The model has five major components:
(1)Situational analysis which involves a review of the situation and an
analysis of the interacting elements constituting it. External factors to
be considered are broad social changes including ideological shifts,
parental and community expectations, the changing nature of subject
disciplines and the potential contribution of teacher-support systems
such as colleges and universities. Internal factors include pupils and
their attributes, teachers and their knowledge, skills, interests, etc.,
school ethos and political structure, materials resources and felt
problems.
(2)Goal formulation with the statement of goals embracing teacher and
pupil

actions. Such goals are derived from the situational analysis only in
the sense
that they represent decisions to modify that situation in certain
respects.
(3)Programme-building which comprises the selection of subject-matter
for
learning, the sequencing of teaching-learning episodes, the
deployment of staff
and the choice of appropriate supplementary materials and media.
(4)Interpretation and implementation where practical problems involved
in the
introduction of a modified curriculum are anticipated and then
hopefully
overcome as the installation proceeds.
(5)Monitoring, assessment, feedback and reconstruction which involve a
much wider concept of evaluation than determining to what extent a
curriculum meets its objectives. Tasks include providing on-going
assessment of progress in the light of classroom experience, assessing
a wide range of outcomes (including pupil attitudes and the impact on
the school organisation as a whole) and keeping adequate records
based on responses from a variety of participants (not just pupils).
Skilbecks situational model is not an alternative to the other two. It is a
more comprehensive framework, which can encompass either the process
model or the objective model depending on which aspects of the curriculum
are being designed. It is flexible, adaptable and open to interpretation in the
light of changing circumstances.
It does not presuppose a linear progression through its components. Teachers
can begin at any stage and activities can develop concurrently.
The model outlined does not presuppose a means-end analysis at all; it
simple encourages teams or groups of curriculum developers to take into
account different elements and aspects of the curriculum-development
process, to see the process as an organic whole, and to work in a moderately
systematic way.
Very importantly, it forces those involved in curriculum development to
consider systematically their particular context, and it links their decisions to
wider cultural and social considerations.

In summary Skilbeck (1976) stated that:


A situational analysis of needs is vital for effective curriculum change.
He also said:
Education should be a meaningful learning experience
Teachers are very important
Curriculum change can occur at any point in the process & can proceed in
any direction
The source of objectives should be clear to teachers and curriculum
developers
3)Walkers naturalistic model
Walker (1972) felt that the objectives or rational models were unsuccessful
and devised a model,
which has three phases. These phases are
1.Platform includes ideas, preferences, points of view, beliefs and values
about the
curriculum (Print: 1993:113).
2. Deliberations here interaction between stakeholders begin and
clarification of views
and ideas in order to reach a consensus of a shared vision.
3. Design here, curriculum developers actually make decisions, which are
based on deliberations (above). These decisions affect curriculum documents
and materials production.

Walker stresses the importance of studying actual curriculum work as a


means for determining what is working and what needs to be improved
Footnote 7 (Reid & Walker, 1975, p. ix). Rather than proposing a new model
or theory to describe how a curriculum should be organized, built, and
evaluated, Walker suggests that critically studying the ways which we now
build, organize, and evaluate a curriculum will more effectively lead to
answers of practical questions.
As an alternative to Tylers model for curriculum developmentthe classical
modelWalker proposes a model that is based upon observations of actual
curriculum projects. He refers to this model as a naturalistic model
Footnote 8 (Walker, 1971, p.51). Walkers model of the process for
curriculum development consists of three elements: the curriculums
platform, the curriculums design, and the process of deliberation which
leads the process from the platform to its design Footnote 9 (Walker, p. 52).
The platform is not merely a statement of objectives or an outline of a
theory. The platform consists of a mixture of ideologies related to education
and its purposes. These beliefs are rooted on judgments concerning the
existing curriculum, as well as visions of the way the curriculum ought to be.

Walker compares the deliberative platform to a political platform. Both


platforms guide their respective groups in making decisions and determining
actions, without restricting their deliberative power by defining their
purposes in terms of prescriptive objectives Footnote 10 (Walker, 2003,
p.237). The platform is the guiding force for the deliberative process, and all
decisions made during the process will be judged in terms of consistency to
the platform Footnote 11 (Walker, 1971, p. 57). Therefore, the platform
should also include explicit models of the issues and the curriculum problems
that the group will be faced with Footnote 12 (Walker, 2003, p. 237).
After a platform has been established, the process of deliberation begins
as the group attempts to make specific decisions in regards to the
curriculum. Deliberation may take on many forms, but the most common
forms are argumentation and debate Footnote 13 (Walker, 1971, p. 55).
During deliberation, proposed decisions are formulated and alternatives to
those proposed decisions are suggested. Arguments for and against the
proposed decisions and their alternatives are then considered by the group
in an attempt to choose the most defensible alternative Footnote 14 (Walker,
p.54). It is important to understand that a course of action that is decided
upon by a deliberative group is not to be construed as the correct course of
action. Instead, it is interpreted as the best available course of action known
to the group Footnote 15 (Walker, 2003, p. 223).
The result of deliberation is the curriculum design. Walker suggests that
the design is best represented as the series of decisions that were made
during the creation of the design. These decisions make up two parts of the
design: the explicit design and the implicit design. The explicit design is
composed of the decisions that were made during deliberationafter a
consideration of alternatives. The implicit design consists of those decisions
that were made automaticallywithout considering alternatives. The
curriculum design, by Walkers own admission, is difficult to specify precisely,
but he offers this explanation:
Just as an experienced architect could construct a model of a building
from a complete record of the decisions made by the buildings
designer as well as from a set of blueprints, so a curriculum developer
could substantially reconstruct a projects curriculum plan and
materials from a record of the choices they made. Footnote 16
(Walker, p. 53)

In Walkers naturalistic model, the important output that is generated by


curriculum development is a set of decisions. As a result, evaluation is used
only as a means of justifying or discrediting the decisions that were made,
rather than as a self-corrective process that directs practice to the
attainment of objectives.
When developing a curriculum, a group (or individual teacher) must identify
what will be taught and how it will be taught. Walker suggests that in order
to effectively make this determination, a group must work from an
appropriate conceptualization of knowledge. In the same way that
scientists who are trying to answer practical questions related to heat and
temperature have benefited from the conceptualization of heat as the motion
of molecules, teachers and curriculum groups can benefit from an
appropriate conceptualization of knowledge when trying to answer questions
about what to teach and how to teach it Footnote 17 (Walker & Soltis, 1992,
p. 39). Walker identifies Gilbert Ryles analysis of knowledge, as an
important conceptualization of knowledge. Ryle suggests that there are
important differences in knowing how to do something, and knowing that
such and such is so Footnote 18 (Walker & Soltis, p. 40). There is no
designation by Ryle or Walker that one form of knowledge is more important
than the other, but they suggest it is important to distinguish between the
two forms, and careful thought should be taken to determine how much of a
certain form is appropriate for a given situation. A familiarity with different
conceptualizations of knowledge allows teachers to contemplate possible
practices and actions that would not have been considered otherwise.
Walker praises the Tyler Rationale for its commitment to identify a highly
rationalized, comprehensive method for arriving at logical and justifiable
curricula of many different kinds. However, Walker questions the
effectiveness and practicality of Tylers emphasis on objectives in matters of
the curriculum. Quite often with matters of the curriculum, it is not possible
or desirable to know how things will transpire as a lesson, project, or
proposal progresses toward its completion. To require that a curriculum be
developed from a predetermined list of objectives that prescribe a
measurable end result, is to limit the possibilities of an educational
endeavor, and in many instances represents an unobtainable ideal. Walker
suggests that most objectives that are tied to a curriculum are stated after
the factusually as a means of communicating purposes to teachers rather
than as initiation points for development Footnote 19 (Walker & Soltis, 1992,
p. 60). Instead of using objectives as the primary building blocks for the
curriculum, Walker suggests the concept of a curriculum platform as the

launching pad for curriculum development. As described earlier, the


platform consists of a group of shared ideas, beliefs, and values that guide
the deliberative process in curriculum decisions. The platform serves a
similar purpose in the deliberation process as that of objectives in the Tyler
Rationale. The platform, however, is purposefully less explicit, and the ideas
that define a platform are not prescriptions for an obligatory end result.
Walker emphasizes that the platform should be written down at the
beginning of a curriculum design, but can also be continually updated
throughout the process.
In conclusion I believe Walkers naturalistic model isas Walker himself
describes itan appropriate descriptive model for curriculum development in
most instances. I also believe that it is an efficient prescriptive model for
curriculum development. It is not, however, a model that facilitates change.
For deliberation to be considered effective, it requires the availability of
alternative solutions to any proposed solution. Unless the curriculum group
is well represented by divergent voices, any solution that is determined by
the group is hardly viable as a best available solution. Such a solution
appears to be a solution by default, desperation, or conspiracy. The models
power to generate appropriate solutions to curriculum problems is diluted
when the group is small in number or homogeneous in their views and
understandings. The model also fails to get curriculum development going
at all if the groups are too divergent in their curriculum visions and aims. It
seems to me there would have to be a significant amount of cohesion within
the group to establish a working platform, and this required cohesion would
contribute to the perpetuation of the status quo.
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