A collection of procedures that often leads to changes in the curriculum is known as curriculum development. Hence, thoughtful action is usually required before any changes are carried out on a curriculum. The global, national, regional, and local communities are required to execute diverse curricular plans and development. This explains why the process of curriculum development is dynamic. Both the post-modernism and modernism views have embraced a rigorous process of curriculum development (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). For example, systems theory, instructional design, new formulations, and cognitive theory are integral both in the modern and post-modern eras.
A well-designed curriculum is supposed to furnish learners and instructors with socially constructed values, appropriate attitudes, sophisticated but useful skills, and a deep understanding of the content being shared (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). It is only through a comprehensive curriculum structure that learners can be able to understand the wisdom conveyed by scholars alongside constructing their meanings.
Despite the critical role played by curriculum towards elevating the knowledge base of students, some school settings have not attached appropriate value on the importance of developing suitable curricula for studies. Master plans should be formulated by educators by first considering the needs of students in various domains in life.
There are two ways through which curriculum models can be divided. These include technical and non-technical methods. It is vital for educators stationed in school settings to understand that curriculum models have been gradually transforming from modernism to postmodernism. A modern curriculum is certain, precise, and technical. On the other hand, a postmodern curriculum entails attributes such as non-technical, uncertain, and emergent. However, postmodernism is still relatively peculiar in the current education and school settings (Carl, 2009). This explains why the modern curriculum is still being embraced in most school settings. In other words, students mostly go through specific learning processes under the technical-scientific approach of curriculum development.
The technical-scientific model has also been used to highlight the four basic principles in the Tyler model. This model primarily seeks how instruction can be used to deliver the best curriculum to students. For example, the purpose of a school must be determined by individuals who take part in curriculum inquiry. Secondly, the given purposes should be aligned with the educational experiences that students are supposed to undergo. In addition, there should be a proper organization of learning experiences within a school setting. Lastly, the given purposes must be evaluated to align with the immediate and long-term needs of learners. In terms of purpose, the model refers to general objectives that must be met when the curriculum is being developed.
For a curriculum to be effectively developed, the needs of learners must be assessed bearing in mind that they are the target audience. The success of any curriculum is gauged in terms of the needs of students (Wiles, 2009). Is it possible for these needs to be met by a curriculum? Are students in a position to benefit or generally improve their learning experience with the curriculum at hand? These are some of the specific questions that ought to be fully addressed by a curriculum. Secondly, educators in school settings should adopt curricula that have formulated objectives. Although the objectives given in Taba’s grass-root model fully focus on teachers, it is crucial for the developed objectives to bear in mind the students’ needs as already mentioned. When objectives are wholly teacher-centered, the learners may be partially forgotten in the process of delivering knowledge (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009).
It is also necessary for the content of a curriculum to be organized well before being availed for learning purposes. The interests, academic achievement, and maturity of learners should be put into consideration when organizing the content of a curriculum. Furthermore, the learning experiences should be keenly chosen in a school setting. Teachers should be in a position to select diverse but suitable experiences that can beneficially engage learners in the process of acquiring knowledge. Finally, curriculum development should accommodate means of evaluation. In most cases, the evaluation procedures should be carried out by professionals in the field of education. This is contrary to the proposal put forward by Taba’s model which asserts that teachers and students should carry out the evaluation process. When the evaluation is conducted most appropriately, it can indeed assist in carrying out a needs analysis test as per the educational requirements of learners.
The supervision of a developed curriculum is usually part and parcel of the implementation process. A curriculum has to be adequately supervised to ensure that its content is properly delivered. Most curricula that fail are often a result of poor supervision. What is the relationship between curriculum supervision and planning? How can curriculum supervision be facilitated by the professional learning communities? These are some of the queries that must be brought into focus when investigating the supervisory aspects of any curriculum.
For example, when a school’s education setting fails to supervise a curriculum, it may be practically difficult to carry out full implementation (Upton, 2008). Lack of both requisite knowledge and managerial skills among educators within school settings is one of the major reasons why supervision is hardly undertaken as required. A curriculum that lacks adequate supervision may also be not implemented as documented.
How can educators within an education system supervise and subsequently implement a curriculum? To develop a successful supervisory program for any form of curriculum, planning is instrumental. There are three aspects of planning (processes, programs, and people) that ought to be taken into consideration when enforcing supervision and implementation of a curriculum. For instance, people (learners and teachers) should be actively involved in the process of supervising and implementing a curriculum. The latter provides much-needed evaluative mind, skills, knowledge, and competencies.
Secondly, programs are an integral part of supervising a curriculum (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). For example, a school setting should craft a learning program. It should be followed to the letter to assess the validity or workability of a curriculum. Programs assist in tracking the flow of learning activities within a schooling environment. It is also through programs in schools that educators can easily notice or identify flaws in the adopted curriculum. When programs are shoddy and perhaps not properly organized, supervision will likely be poor. On the same note, it will be cumbersome to implement the given curriculum.
Processes largely entail the flow of learning programs from one level to another. It may also be described as the sequential graduation of learners from one level to another. In a school setting, students usually graduate from one level of study to another. If supervision is keenly done, educators will be in a position to ascertain learners who have successfully excelled in all levels and therefore need to be promoted to the next platform. As such, processes must be supervised well so that the content developed for the curriculum is appropriate.
The process of supervising a curriculum to assess performance and implementation may sometimes be met by stiff resistance. For instance, curriculum formulators may opt to inject change to some sections of a curriculum to improve its suitability and validity to learners. When such changes are made, some teachers within a schooling environment may find it difficult to confirm. However, it may be quite easy for them to accept the changes in small bits over a given period. In such cases, it is necessary to supervise the implementation of newly proposed changes to ensure full implementation.
The communication system used by a school system should be well understood by a curriculum specialist. When undertaking supervision, it is obvious that feedback must be given according to the experiences of learners within classroom settings. How can such feedback be given if communication channels are not understood well? When any type of curriculum is being developed, it is necessary to keep in mind that communication within a learning environment can take place either vertically or horizontally. Vertical communication channels are tailored towards people who are in different positions within a school setting (Tomlinson et al., 2002). A typical example is the teacher-student communication channel. On the other hand, horizontal communication usually takes place between students alone or among teachers. Therefore, a suitable communication channel should be considered as an important component in the supervision of a curriculum.
Carl, A.E. (2009). Teacher Empowerment Through Curriculum Development: Theory into Practice. Cape Town, South Africa: Juta & Company.
Ornstein, A.C. & Hunkins, F.P. (2009). Curriculum: Foundations, principles, and issues. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Tomlinson, C.A., Kaplan, S.N., Renzulli, J.S., Purcell, J.H., Leppien, J.H., Burns, D.E., Strickland, C.A. & Imbeau, M.B. (2002).The Parallel Curriculum: A Design to Develop High Potential and Challenge High-ability learners. New York, NY: Corwin Press Inc.
Upton, R.E. (2008). Educational Curricula: Development and Evaluation. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Wiles, J. (2009). Leading Curriculum Development. London, United Kingdom: Corwin Press.