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Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum:

Philosophy provides educators, teachers and curriculum makers with framework for planning,
implementing and evaluating curriculum in school.I helps in answering what schools are for, what
subjects are important, how students should learn and what materials and methods should be used. In
decision-making, philosophy provides the starting point and will be used for the succeeding decision-

The following four educational philosophies relate to curriculum:

1. Perennialism. The focus in the curriculum is classical subjects, literary analysis and considers
curriculum as constant.

2. Essentialism. The essential skills of the 3 R's and essential subjects of English, Science, History, Math
and Foreign Language is the focus of the curriculum.

3. Progressivism. The curriculum is focused on students' interest, human problems and affairs. The
subjects are interdisciplinary, integrative and interactive.

4. Reconstructionism. The focus of the curriculum is on present and future trends and issues of national
and international interests.

Educational philosophy lays the strong foundation of any curriculum. A curriculum planner or specialist,
implementer or the teacher, school heads, evaluator anchors his/her decision making process on a
sound philosophy.

(Activity: Compare the four Philosophies of Education based on the aim of education, role of education
and curriculum trends. How does a strong belief or philosophy influence curriculum?

Historical Foundations of Curriculum.
Curriculum is not an old field. Majority of scholars would place its beginning in 1918 with the publication
of Franklin Bobbit's book."The Curriculum"

Philippine education came about from various foreign influences. This can be traced back to the glorious
history. Of all foreign educational systems, the American educational system has the greatest influence
on our educational system.

The following six curriculum theorists contributed their views on curriculum:

1. Franklin Bobbit (1876-1956)- presented curriculum as a science that emphasizes on students' need.

2. Werret Charters (1875-1952) - considered curriculum also as a science which is based on students'
need, and the teachers plan the activities.

3. William Kilpatrick (1871-1965) - viewed curriculum as purposeful activities which are child-centered.

4. Harold Rugg (1886-1960) - emphasized social studies in the curriculum and the teacher plans the
lesson in advance.

5. Hollis Caswell (1901-1989) - sees curriculum as organized around social functions of themes,
organized knowledge and earner's interests.

6. Ralph Tyler (1902-1994) - believes that curriculum is a science and an extension of school's
philosophy. based on students' need and interests.

The historical development shows the different changes in the purposes, principles and content of the

(Question: What are the implications of ever-changing curriculum top teachers?)

Psychological Foundations
Psychology provides basis for the teaching and learning process. It unifies elements of the learning
process and some of the some of questions which can be addressed by psychological foundations.

The following are the three major groups f learning theories:

1. Behaviorists Psychology - consider that learning should be organized in order that students can
experience success in the process of mastering the subject matter, and thus, method of teaching should
be introduced in a step by step manner with proper sequencing of task.

(Activity: Discuss the contributions of Edward L. Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov and Robert Gagne to the present
views on curriculum)

2. Cognitive Psychology - focus their attention on how individuals process information and how the
monitor and manage thinking. For the cognitive theorists, learning constitutes a logical method for
organizing and interpreting learning. Learning is rooted in the tradition of subject matter where teachers
use a lot of problem and thinking skills in teaching learning. These are exemplified by practices like
reflective thinking, creative thinking, intuitive thinking, discovery learning, etc.

(Activity: Discuss the contributions of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, Felder and Silverman
and Daniel Goleman to curriculum development.

3. Humanistic Psychology - concerned with how learners can develop their human potential. Based on
Gestalt psychology where learning can be explained in terms of the wholeness of the problem and
where the environment is changing and the learner is continuously reorganizing his/her perceptions.
Curriculum is concerned with the process not the products, personal needs not subject matter;
psychological meaning and environmental situations.

(Activity: Give the contributions of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers to the present field of curriculum

4. Social Foundations of Education.
Schools exists within the social context.Societal culture affects and shapes schools and their curricula.

The relationship of curriculum and society is mutual and encompassing. Hence, to be relevant, the
curricula should reflect and preserve the culture of society and its aspirations. At the same time, society
should also imbibe the changes brought about by the formal institutions called schools.

Philosophical Foundation of the K+12 Curriculum

I remember the first question that popped from Dr. Ayuk Ayuks mouth in our Trends and Issues in
Education class more than a year ago was What is the philosophical basis of our current curriculum
today? Everybody froze, including me. Weve been studying philosophies of education since the first
time I stepped into the LDH rooms what are the foci of these philosophies? What is the importance of
each in the educational system? What is their curriculum focus? What is their instructional objective?
But I dont remember anybody asking what our professor just asked.

So, what is the philosophical basis of our current curriculum today? I researched both from books and
from the internet about K-to-12s philosophical basis, and just like us more than a year ago, articles
focused much on the technicalities and the foreseen benefits of the program. It did not originally
interest me in any way, but now, through sharings from my classmates and with guiding questions from
Dr. Albert Lupisan that funnily leads us to answering our own questions; I began to be curious about it.

The K to 12 programs goal according to DepEd is Functional Literacy for all Filipinos. This curriculum is
designed to develop learners of solid moral and spiritual grounds, of skills for lifelong learning, of critical
thinking and of creative problem solving so they can be progressive, just and humane. With this goal
and curriculum description, I believe that the K to 12 program is founded on the Constructivist
foundation, with mixed concepts of the progressivism and reconstructionism. However, let me dwell on
constructivism a little deeper.

Below are some of the highlights on DepEd Order No. 31, s. 2012 and why I think that this
curriculum is under the Educational Philosophy of Constructivism:

The overall design of Grade 1 to 10 curriculum follows the spiral approach across subjects.
In K+12, subjects are taught in spiral progression to enhance integrated and maximum learning. In this
spiral progression, learners continuously reflect on their experiences while developing the needed
abilities and skills to achieve this kind learning. This approach is clearly a constructivists approach.
Constructivism encourages different activities where students can reflect, discuss with their teacher or
with their peers their outcomes, understand it, then learn it. It is about learning which depends on the
basic skills and accomplishing or acting on more complicated skills in the future. Spiral progression is a
concept of Constructivism.

The content standards define what students are expected to know (knowledge: facts and information),
what they should be able to do (process or skills) with what they know, and the meanings or
understandings that they construct or make as they process the facts and information.
Constructivism provides enough time for the child to have an in-depth investigation of his/her new
learning to boost the curiosity and make ways to better understand things he/she does not know. A
constructivist teacher, DeVries (2002) says that a child cannot construct complex relations with just 15
minutes of exploration a day. K to 12 allots 40 t0 50 minutes for every subject in any given day for class
interaction. The learning time can be extended to include off-school learning experiences which will
reflect on the transfer tasks and products and performances, activities which are also slanted to

Teachers should differentiate how students will manifest their understanding, and the students, on the
other hand, can have the option to express their understanding in their own way.
In the constructivist philosophy, assessment is part of the learning process of the student. According to
DeVries (2002), assessment should link documents like tests, anecdotal reports or written observations
to the curriculum itself and to the childs level of understanding. K to12 implements the Standard-
Based Assessment as an assessment tool. If a test is done following the SBA, the student is graded when
he/she fully understood the lesson. Formative tests will be given prior to a quiz, but will not be graded
to give chance for the students to practice their knowledge first until they get the topics point.

Psychology and the Curriculum

Psychology, I believe, does not just take effect when it comes to the curriculums delivery, but is a very
important consideration in curriculum planning. While the philosophical foundation explains more on
why we need the curriculum, I think the psychological foundation would stress more on how will this
curriculum be used? In simple terms, the curriculum itself, just like what Dewey said, should be
psychologized. There should be complete understanding between the aim of the curriculum and the
needs of the students.

The study of psychology is not just about cognition but it is more manifested in the students behavior.
It is therefore important to stress that the curriculum implemented would display a deep understanding
of the needs, the drives, the wants, and the urges of the learner because this would eventually show
their behavior.

As a teacher, it is important for me to first reflect on how my past year went through. I often ask myself:
What topics did my students find hard? What made these topics hard? Have I moved on with the next
topics without them understanding the previous topics? What day did I discuss my most important
lessons? Was it after a holiday? Was it before intramurals? What activities did I give in the most
difficult topics? Were these activities effective in making them understand important points? Did these
activities reach them?

After silently reflecting on these questions, I organized my topics based on the needs of my students,
which should come first? Which should be emphasized more? I believe that simply following the book
in its sequence will not make the instruction effective, but understanding how the students will take
lesson per lesson is much more worth the try.

It also helps me when I think of my experiences as a student. As you know, I hate memorizing data
which will not be of use to me, so I do not give test types similar to how I believe education should be.
Education is all about correct functioning. It is about understanding concepts and how to make use of it
in real life, and not just focus on the subjective and memorized data which will not last. As a teacher,
we should find ways on how our students can give the effort to attain a goal.

I always have high belief in education and the educational system no matter what surveys say and other
people say. As an educator, trust in the value of education itself regardless of the working conditions, or
the lacking problem is enough to continue our sworn thrust. Even teachers need psychologizing.

Sociology and the Curriculum

The curriculum which the Philippine school today use is the K to 12 curriculum. When the K to 12 was
conceptualized years before its actual implementation this school year, there was apparently intense
study on what bases will it be created. And if we are to look at it closely, we can say that a big part of
the K to12 curriculum is based on Filipino culture and society. Several studies made since the Monroe
study says the educational system of the Philippines is lapsing, and this is reflected through the society,
therefore, a change in the society may also mean a change in the curriculum.

To get a clearer view, let me take some of the K to 12 curriculum concepts from the DepEd Primer as an
example to prove the existence of its sociological foundation:

Our high school graduates are not adequately prepared for the world of work. Considering the high
unemployment rate today, high school graduates from the old curriculum should still wait for 2 more
years for them to be employable since employers do not hire under-aged workforce. They are also
forced to rethink of going to college even though their families cannot afford the unreasonable fees of
several colleges today. No college = no work. This is a societal issue that can be solved, and is taken
into consideration in the present curriculum.
Our high school graduates are not adequately prepared to pursue higher education. They still have to
undergo remedial and high school level classes in colleges and universities. In the former curriculum, a
college degree is a must if a student would want to change his/her future. However, it was observed
that minor subjects taken at colleges for the first two years are high school level subjects and it is simply
a waste of time. K to 12 considers time and the needs of the students today, contrary to some reactions
from those against it. The society influences the school to act. On the other hand, the school influences
the society into the development of the learners.
The Philippines is the only country in Asia and among the three remaining countries in the world that
has a 10-year basic education cycle. On sociological grounds, it is clear that the Philippines is deeply
affected by the released Comparative Data on Duration of Basic and Pre-University Education in Asia
status in 2010. Part of the reason therefore why K to 12 was conceptualized is to eradicate the idea that
Filipinos cannot be professionals in their fields because we lack the standard years of schooling. This is
still sociological in nature.
The HIstorical Foundation of the Philippine Curriculum

According researches published on the historical foundation of the Philippine curriculum, it is said that
the development of the curriculum in the history of the Philippines depend on five motives: Religion,
Political, Utilitarian, Mass Education and Excellence in Education.

Pre-Spanish Era. Filipinos, although lacking of formal education, has acted civil in their contacts with
foreign people from Arabia, India, China and Borneo. They do not have a system of education other
than their belief of a Bathala, the solidarity of families, the modesty of women and the childrens respect
for their elders. Their education was oral, practical and hands-on. They only learn from experiences and
gives reasoning from their observations.

Spanish Era. The curriculum created focused on their version of 3Rs: reading, writing and religion.
Schools were managed by the convents and religious organizations the Church in general. The main
reading materials were all religion-based.

The main method of learning is individual memorization. Spanish is taught as the medium of instruction.

American Era. The curriculum was based on American traditions and hierarchy. English now became
the medium of instruction. The primary curriculum prescribed by the Americans to the Filipinos were
the body training and the mental training. Body training includes singing, drawing and physical
education. Mental training on the other hand, includes English, Nature Study and Arithmetic.
Elementary subjects have civics and geography as subjects while the Intermediate curriculum has
arithmetic, geography, science, plant life, physiology and sanitation. Many college schools then opened
for teacher-training appropriate for elementary. Its aim was to replace the Thomasites when the
Philippines can stand on their own. Also, during the American Period, religion became a non-
compulsory subject for the Filipinos in public schools.

Commonwealth Period. The educational leaders expanded the curriculum by adding faming, trade and
business science. The training for elementary teachers too expended to secondary level and the tertiary
level. The Educational Act of 1940 also eliminated Grade 7.

Japanese Period. The Japanese included Niponggo as the medium of Instruction and abolished English.
All textbook were censored and revised according to how the Japanese wanted it. The educational
system was impeded because of these big changes.

Liberation Period. The vernacular were used as the medium of instruction for grades 1 and 2. The
schools concept is toward the improvement of the pupil and the community life through the
curriculum. Preservation of the cultural heritage was given focus.

The curriculum of the Philippine education involves drastic changes, from one invader to another; each
invader defined its own educational motive. Each has its own curricular focus. This may be the reason
why Philippine education may be based on mixed philosophical foundations through the years.