Curriculum Development Process


Curriculum Development Process

By Dr.Sultan Muhammad



    Keywords: Situational analyses in Curriculum Development Process; Formulation of objectives in Curriculum Development Process; Selection of content/Scope and sequence in Curriculum Development Process; Methods/ Strategies/Actives in  Curriculum Development Process; Evolution in Curriculum Development Process;   The judgmental process; The analytical procedure; The consensual procedure;The experimental procedure





An effective programme can only be successful if it is organized properly. Curriculum being a backbone of educational programme, needs proper designing. Tyler points out that, “It is important as a part of comprehensive theory of organization to indicate just what kinds of elements will serve satisfactorily as organizing elements. And in a given curriculum, it is important to identify the particular elements that shall be used (Herrick and Tyler; 1950, P, 64).
            The curriculum process consists mostly of five elements or phases.
3.1 Situational analyses.
3.2 Formulation of objectives.
3.3 Selection of content/Scope and sequence.
3.4 Methods/ Strategies/Actives.
3.5 Evolution.
3.1 Situational Analysis:
In order to follow any procedure of Curriculum Organization, the curriculum planners must know the realities of the situation. The curriculum reflects the traditions, environment and ideals of the people of concern society. The main purpose of education system is to adjust the curriculum to actual needs of the society. Moreover one of the functions of curriculum is to preserve and transmit the cultural heritage. Our cultural heritage is, in large measure, the tradition of our eastern civilization. Our language, our social needs, our political and religious conditions must be considered while developing curriculum. Some important aspects of existing situation are as follows:
1.      Geographical condition of the country.
2.      Religious condition.
3.      Cultural and social needs.
4.      Economical conditions.
5.      Pattern of curriculum to be followed.
6.      National and international trends.
7.      Age, level and interests of the learners.
8.      Teacher training programmers.
9.      System of examinations etc.
The identification of the above mentioned aspects help the planner in the selection of objectives, selection and organization of material (learning) and in suggesting appropriate evaluation procedure.
3.2 Formulation of Objectives:
The tasks of curriculum planners have to organize such a curriculum which helps in the achievement of desired broad goals. These goals are primarily concerned with the international or national demands. In order to reach these goals the experts (curriculum planners) have to state the aims which are related to various fields of studies or subject areas. Then the problem arises to move from general aims to specific instructional objectives of the classroom. The objectives are the initial targets to be achieved by the teacher and learner in class-room. The achievement of these objectives ultimately leads the learner to-wards various categories of life activate, such as:
§  Citizenship: Participation in local, national, and world-wide civic, recreational, economic and religious groups.
§  Home responsibilities: helping each other, respecting the elders, rearing children physical health, mental health and other related activities and experiences, such as food, rest, social and individual recreation.
§  Vocational effectiveness: Ability to contribute to the economic assets of society and to be able to earn livelihood.
§  Continued learning: Intellectual and other interests such as ability to read, think, analyses, synthesize and interpret effectively.
It is concluded that the curriculum must be the best possible selection and arrangement of stimuli to experience, which will result in the maximum growth toward that kind of person who will function effectively in the areas indicated by a sound statement of the objectives of education.
a.      Validation of Educational Objectives:
The following general principles are to be kept in view while stating valid objectives for curriculum.
§  Consistency with the ideology of a nation.
§  Fulfillment of basic human needs.
§  Consistency and non-contradiction of educational objectives.
§  Behavioristic interpretation.
§  Consistency with social condition.
§  Democratic ideals/relationship.

1.      Consistency with the ideology of a Nation:
Every nation has got certain ideological system. The ideology of Pakistan is based upon Islam. The educational objectives in our country at all levels must be consistent to the teaching of Islam. The validity of educational objectives in Pakistan largely depends upon their relationship with Quran and Sunnah.
2.      Fulfillment of basic human needs:
Man seeks to maintain himself in a state of equilibrium. The absence of equilibrium gives rise to an impulse for example an imbalance called hunger gives rise to an impulse which becomes channeled in search of food to restore the balance. The thing which is required to restore the equilibrium is termed as need. Although all objectives are based ultimately upon some conception of human needs, there are practical difficulties in using basic needs. Among the basic needs that have be4en identified are food, clothing, shelter etc. The objectives must help in fulfillment of these needs.
3.      Consistency and non-contradiction of education objectives:
Educational objectives must be consistent and non-contradictory with one another. If one objective is logically compatible with another, as teaching, the desirability of obedience in logically compatible with teaching the students how to obey their elders, this relationship is consistent one.
In the same way if there is an objective in relation to inculcate certain Islamic value and at the same time there is another objective which is to develop skill in the system of “Interest” and to apply it in life situation, gives us an example of contradictory objectives.
It is therefore important that the curriculum workers set educational objectives keeping in view their relationships.
4.      Behaviouristic interpretation:
Objectives expressed in terms of student behavior are called as behavioral objectives. To make the objectives valid, clear and achievable, the curriculum planners have to express these objectives as the development of integrated personalities, self realization, economic efficiency, problem solving ability, critical thinking, understanding of rights and responsibilities and appreciations are misunderstood until they are expressed in terms of concrete and meaningful behavior. Objectives that are not put in terms of human behavior are invalid.
5.      Consistency with social conditions:
Since the objectives of an educational programme are derived from the culture, they will always be related in some degree to the social circumstances. In a society that is undergoing little or no change, objectives usually are closely related to conditions as they now are.
However, when a society ideas and practices tend to lag behind new ways of doing things. This is because of the fact that personal contacts are reduced due to advancement of science and development of technology in communication. Mass media of communication has grown. Computers are replacing the manpower. These are new social realities. But the knowledge of the present state of affairs does not necessarily mean that objectives formulated on the basic of these facts will be socially adequate. Curriculum planners sometimes seek to avoid the danger they see in present day society by appealing to ideals and virtues. They believe to be eternal or to belong to a historical period superior to the current one. Hence the curriculum developers have to formulate such type of objectives which are valid with respect to changing needs and those aspects of past culture which they feel essential to preserve as heritage.
6.      Democratic ideals relationship:
It is a well known fact that the democratic system permits the fulfillment of all the basic human needs more completely than any other ideology. Form the practical point of view. Also, the important fact is that the democratic ideology is the only one that can be used in validating educational objectives in Pakistan.
Application of the democratic value system requires that the curriculum planners must relate the objectives with the democratic values and principles. As the principles of democracy are very complex so no condensed statements of these can be used effectively in the validation of educational objectives. If the objectives are based upon critical thinking and effective reasoning, they can have a direct relation with the democratic principal and can also be termed as valid.
3.3 Selection of Content/Scope and Sequence:
Selection of content means the selection of content for a subject. Traditionally, the Principal of complete coverage was dominant. If a subject was to taught in the past, it was to be covered thoroughly.
As knowledge with in each subject field expanded the new topics were inserted into each subject, gradually the number, weight and bulk of content become such that the achievement of total coverage became difficult.
As a result of explosion of knowledge, the principal of coverage was modified by selecting representative content topics from subject fields. Curricula are now constructed in that way. However the basis upon which representative topics are selected, varies from subject to subject. The common principles of subject matter selection are as under:
§  Curriculum organization must assimilate the best information from all sources.
§  The subject matter if offered to the learners, the teachers must have information about psychology of that age group. And if a teacher is teaching chemistry or biology, he must have knowledge and information to integrate these subjects to a life situation.

a.      General Principles of Subject Matter Selection

1.      The course content selected, must be significant in the field of knowledge to which it belongs:
This is principle presupposes programme of studies consisting of specialized courses, with each course being followed by a more advanced course.
2.      The subject matter selected must possess the principle of survival:
Acceptance of the “Old and Tried” in due to the belief that the things that have come up from the past are the product of generations and even centuries of experimentation. If such content is satisfying the aspirations of mankind has been survived in spite of cultural and social changes, it is fulfilling the need of the principle of survival.
3.      The subject matter must have the principle of interest:
If the learners are motivated to learn more, if they take interest to get more and more knowledge in a specific field, it means that the subject matter is interesting and it meets the principle of interest.
4.      The content or subject matter must be utilized:
It means that the knowledge presented in any subject must be utilized in life situation otherwise it will not help in achieving the desired goals.
5.      The course content should contribute to the development of an Islamic society:
The content in each subject should help in the development of true Muslims i.e the subject matter in various fields must equip the learners with the ideals, values and skills required for an Islamic society. There should be no such content which is against our religion. Beside the above mentioned broad principles, there are some more considerations for the curriculum organizers. i.e.
§  Is the subject matter selected on the basis of its possible contribution to the objectives of the relevant course?
§  Is the subject-matter a mean to an end and not an end in itself?
§  Dose the subject matter consist of a variety of physical and mental activities.
§  Is the subject matter helpful in the development of creative abilities?
§  Is the subject-matter divided into various units?
§  Is there a logical sequence in various units of a subject?
§  Dose the subject-matter demand active teaching-learning situation?

b.      Procedure of Content Selection:
There are various procedures adopted for content selection. The most important procedures are:-
1.      The judgmental procedure.
2.      The analytical procedure.
3.      The consensual procedure.
4.      The experimental procedure.

1.      The judgmental procedure:
Since this procedure has not been reduced to a set of techniques, successful use of it depends upon the point of view of the curriculum planner. If he is so occupied with the past that he cannot appreciate the present, nor see its potentialities for the future, the judgment of curriculum planner will hardly lead to the best selection of subject matter, the most objective selection of content by this procedure requires that his interests, knowledge, and ideals rise above special social groups and is according to the common good of people. Actually this procedure demands broad social vision.
2.      The analytical procedure:
The analytical procedure is one of the most widely know method of content selection. It has been closely identified with the criteria of utility. It consists of various techniques which can be followed to collect information regarding subject matter selection. The techniques are:
i.                    Collecting information by conducting interviews.
ii.                  Collecting information with the help of questionnaires.
iii.                Collecting information through documentary analysis.
iv.                Collecting information by observing the performance of people.

3.      The consensual procedures:
It is way of collecting people’s opinion about what they believe the curriculum should be. The results of the consensual procedure are expressed in terms of the number of persons of a particular community who recommend a specific content to be included in the curriculum. The persons whose opinions are to be sought are selected because they are;
§  Outstanding leaders in the fields of industry, business, agriculture etc.
§  Experts and specialists such as physicians, engineers, teachers and artists etc.
§  Representatives of the community the procedure adopted to collect, tabulate and interpret the data is just like the scientific method.

3.4  Methods/Strategies/Activates:
This is the fourth important element of curriculum development process. The achievement of desired objectives depends largely upon the methods adopted in the classroom. This phase includes:
1.      Teacher’s activities.
2.      Student’s activities.
The curriculum planners are supposed to suggest appropriate methods of teaching after suggesting the subject matter. There are various methods of teaching such as lecture, lecture demonstration, problem solving, project, programmed learning etc. All those methods which are based upon teacher’s delivery only, considered to be ineffective. As learning is an active process so innovative approaches are to be followed in order to initiate interest and develop creativeness among the youth.
Bases for Selecting Instructional Methods:
Within this wide array of teaching methods, teachers are faced with the problem of selecting the method or methods which are most suited to a curriculum plan. As it is desirable to use a number of content organizing designs according to the objective, so it is in the selection of instructional methods. Some important guidelines for the selection of instructional methods are given below:
1.      Achievement of objectives:
Achievement of the instructional objectives is the first consideration in planning for teaching. The objectives postulated for a course, activity, or unit of work should therefore be the primary factor in planning instruction. A general objective may be attained by a wide range of teaching methods, but specific objectives for instruction once determined narrow the choices considerably.
2.       Principles of learning:
While selecting a method of instruction the teacher should know the theories and principles of learning which underlie a certain method of instruction. This would help him adapt the method to the individual needs and methods of learning of a larger number of students.
3.      Individual learning styles:
Lee Cronback and Richard Snow believe the most effective learning takes place when the interactive process (teaching) is one that is best suited to the individual student in terms of his learning style. A learning environment that is “optimal for one person is not optimal for another”. The Rand Corporation Study (1971) supports these findings by asserting that “teacher, student, instructional method, and perhaps, other aspects of the educational process interact with each other. Thus a teacher who works well (is effective) with one type of student using one method might be ineffective when working with another method. The effectiveness of a teacher, or method, or whatever varies from one situation to another”.
4.      Self-fulfilling processes and educational stratification
Opinion of the teacher about a student’s abilities or capabilities is based on performance in the classroom, influence the ways in which the teacher will work with the student, both with regard to interactive process (teaching) and the content of instruction. Psychologists believe that children differ in their learning abilities and processes. On the basis of these differentiated, educational processes should also be differentiated. But Cronback and Snow are against this differentiation which is on the basis of contrived tests, observation or past achievement of school programme, and that which results in educational stratification. As B.F Skinner stated “we need to find practices which permit all teachers to teach well and under which all students learn as efficiently as their talents permit”
The only acceptable prophecy that should be self fulfilling among teachers today is that every child has precious talents and potentialities that should be developed to the utmost. The school’s responsibility is to provide the child the opportunities for such development.
5.      Facilities, equipment and resources
Instructional planning is often influenced by the available facilities that may be used, and the administrative organization and structure of the school. Whatever restrictive influence the facilities, equipment and resources may have on the instructional planning, a teacher should be as imaginative and resourceful as possible in using methods that involve student in a highly active role.
6.      Accountability
Teachers, administrators and others employed to provide education have always been held responsible for the quality of their work. In as much as curriculum plans related to accountability.
The accountability means that someone has to report, explain or justify to someone else. Thus accountability is a master servant, employee employer relationship, that is, some party answering another party. It involves assessment, appraisal and evolution whichever is appropriate. It is  a part and parcel of the whole systems approach to educational planning with great emphasis on results, costs of producing these results, and alternative possibilities weighed on the basis of costs. Lossigner observes that we judge a school, or ought to judge it, by whether its students gain certain skills and knowledge that can be measured against some set of students or judgment, and by the cost of producing the gains.
It is also to be kept in view that method is a descriptive term used for the teacher’s actions to present the organized subject matter. Methods are always derived from the nature of such subject matter. Some professionals consider pupil behaviors as the source of methods. According to Shepherd and Regan (1982; p 127).
1.      “Methods are content free and not derived from organized subject matter.
2.         Methods are pupil’s behavior free and are not from organized or unorganized pupil’s behavior. It has been argued that methods are derived from an analysis and application of learning theories. The actions, procedures and manipulations of the teacher are not different during instruction in reading or mathematics but the organized subject matter is different. Method is like a vehicle, which is empty but can carry a variety of subject matter. This vehicle is created and constructed from generalizations, principles and assumptions”.
Some, professionals feel that methods are derived from the personality of the teacher. It seems evident that some teachers are more comfortable with certain methods than others, and this is probably a function of personality. It also seems evident that methods are created, selected and adopted by teachers for purposes of incurring learning. The attention of the teacher is upon the pupil’s learning.
3.5  Evolution:
Assessment of student’s achievement means to evaluate the student’s academic achievement. Evolution system may be defined as the tools, techniques and processing of defining, gathering, displaying and interpreting data relevant to the goals and objectives of the curriculum. An evaluation system contains and yields both a product and a process the product of evolution system is the valid, reliable, and functional date utilized in the decision-making activates. The process of evolution system is the involvement of personnel in the cycle of selecting goals, identifying objectives, defining relevant date, gathering data, displaying data, interpreting data and decision making activates. Evaluation is the quality control of the processes and outcome of educational programme. There are two types of evolution, formative and summative.





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