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Foundation of Curriculum



Page No

Nature of Curriculum


Meaning and Concept of Curriculum

Curriculum as a body of socially
organized knowledge
Inert and live curriculum
Components of Curriculum
Foundations of Curriculum

1 to 55

Principles of Curriculum Construction


Students centred
Activity centred
Community centred
Forward looking principle
Principles of integration
Theories of curriculum development

55 to 82

Determinants of Curriculum


Explosion of knowledge
Information vs. Knowledge
Nurturing creativity construction
Social forces
Revolutionary change in Society
Growth and Development of Learner
Nature of Subject matter

83 to 150

Approaches to Curriculum


Subject centred
Learner centred
Community centred
Curriculum Framework

151 to 161

Types and Areas of Curriculum

Humanistic Curriculum


162 to 202




Social reconstructionist curriculum
Role of Teacher

"Because we are on an island, we have to be creative about

our curriculum"
-Sheri Milburn
The school of hard knocks is an accelerated curriculum
We try and teach all curriculum areas.
-Anne Ambroziak


It is derived from the Latin word currere which means to run, this
definition was produced by Pinar (1974) to highlight the running (or
lived experience). Indeed, for many students, the school curriculum is
a race to be run, a series of obstacles or hurdles (subjects) to be
passed. It is the what of teaching. A dynamic process. All the
activities going on the school or outside of the school is called
curriculum. It is basic to the intellectual, physical, moral and
emotional development of the child.

Curriculum comprises all the learning which is planned
and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in
groups or individually inside or outside of the school.
- Kerr
Curriculum is the totality of experiences that pupils
receive through the manifold activities that go in the
school, in the classroom, library, laboratory, workshop,
play ground and in the numerous informal contacts
between the teachers and pupils.
-The Secondary
Education Commission (1952-1953)
Curriculum is a tool in the hands of the Artist
(Teacher), to mould his/her materials (Students),
according to his/her ideals (objectives) in his/her studio
(College/ School).

Some definitions of curriculum:-

Many writers advocate their own preferred definition of

curriculum, which emphasizes other meanings or connotations,
particularly those the term has taken on recently.
According to Portelli (1987), more than 120 definitions of the
term appear in the professional literature devoted to
curriculum, presumably because authors are concerned about
either delimiting what the term means or establishing new
meanings that have become associated with it.
Hlebowitsh (1993) criticizes commentators in the curriculum
field who focus only on certain facets of early curriculum
thought while ignoring others (p. 2).We need to be watchful,
therefore, about definitions that capture only a few of the
various characteristics of curriculum (Toombs and Tierney,
1993), especially those that are partisan or biased.
Oliva (1997) also points out that definitions of curriculum can
be conceived in narrow or
broad ways. He suggests that differences in the substance of
definitions of curriculum are largely due to whether the
emphasis is upon:
purposes of goals of the curriculum (for example a
curriculum is to develop reflective thinking);
contexts within which the curriculum is found (for
example a curriculum is to develop the individual
learner in all aspects of growth); or
strategies used throughout the curriculum (for example
a curriculum is to develop problem solving processes).
The incompleteness of any definition notwithstanding, certain
definitions of the term can provide insights about common emphases

and characteristics within the general idea of curriculum. Consider,

for example, the following definitions of curriculum:
Curriculum is the permanent subjects that embody essential
Curriculum is those subjects that are most useful for contemporary
Curriculum is all planned learning's for which the school is
Curriculum is the totality of learning experiences so that students
can attain general skills and knowledge at a variety of learning sites.
Curriculum is what the students construct from working with the
computer and its various networks, such as the Internet.
Curriculum is the questioning of authority and the searching for
complex views of human
Curriculum is such permanent subjects as grammar, reading,
logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and the greatest books of the Western
world that best embody essential knowledge.
An example is the National Curriculum enacted in the United
Kingdom in 1988, which prescribed the curriculum in terms of three
core and seven foundational subjects, including specific content and
specific goals for student achievement in each subject.
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation introduced into the US
in 2001 requires tests in reading and maths annually for students in

grades 38 and once in high school. This is an unprecedented focus

on two traditional subjects, reading and maths. What is not tested are
subjects such as history, art, civics, music and physical education and
these are deemed by many students as not worth knowing (Guilfoyle,

Problems posed by the definition;

This definition suggests that the curriculum is limited to only
a few academic subjects. It assumes that what is studied is what is
learned. It does not address questions such as: does the state of
knowledge change? If so, shouldnt the subjects making up the
curriculum also change? What makes learning such subjects essential?
Goodson and Marsh (1996) point out that the National Curriculum in
the United Kingdom is simply a reconstitution of the subjects
included in the Secondary Regulations of 1904, suggesting that
historical amnesia allows curriculum reconstruction to be presented
as curriculum revolution (p. 157).
Griffith (2000) contends that a knowledge-based curriculum such as
the National Curriculum does not exist independently of space and
time. It should not be considered a historically, for it is neither neutral,
factual nor value free.

Curriculum is those subjects that are most useful for living in

contemporary society.
The subjects that make up this curriculum are usually chosen in terms
of major present-day issues and problems within society, but the

definition itself does not preclude individual students from making

their own choices about which subjects are most useful.
According to Rothstein, Wilder and Jacobsen (2007) a balanced
curriculum should be concerned about contemporary living skills such
as critical thinking, project-based learning and social skills.
Wilson (2002) argues that curriculum must include higher-order skills
such as teaching students to think critically and to communicate
complex ideas clearly.
The curriculum is the plans made for guiding learning in the schools,
usually represented in retrievable documents of several levels of generality,
and the actualization of those plans in the classroom, as experienced by the
learners and as recorded by an observer; those experiences take place in a
learning environment that also influences.


Examination oriented
Text Book based examinations
Emphasis on theory not practical
Heavy syllabus
Rote learning is encouraged
Not to life oriented
Not helpful to vocation
Not developing the whole personality


Walker (2003) argues that the fundamental concepts of curriculum

Which may be depicted in terms of concept maps, topics
and themes, all of which are abstractions which people have invested
and named;
Usually categorized as intellectual, social and personal;
often divided into super ordinate purposes; stated purposes are not
always reliable indicators of actions;
Planning is based upon scope and sequence (order of
presence over time); and can be tightly organized or relatively openended.

Curriculum is actually defined in two ways:

In a sense, the task of defining the concept of curriculum is perhaps

the most difficult of all, for the term curriculum has been used with
quite different meanings ever since the field took form. Curriculum,
however, can be defined as prescriptive, descriptive, or both.


In prescriptive definitions, they provide us with what ought to

happen, and they more often than not take the form of a plan, an
intended program, or some kind of expert opinion about what needs to
take place in the course of study (Ellis, 2004)
In descriptive definition, they beyond the prescriptive terms as
they force thought about the curriculum, not merely in terms of
how things ought to be... but how things are in real classrooms
(Ellis, 2004). Another term that could be used to define the
descriptive curriculum is experience. The experienced curriculum
provides glimpses of the curriculum in action.

Prescriptive [curriculum]
Prescriptive definitions provide us with what ought to happen,
and they more often than not take the form of a plan, an intended
program, or some kind of expert opinion about what needs to take
place in the course of study. (Ellis,2004,)

Descriptive Definitions of Curriculum:

The descriptive definitions of curriculum

displayed in Exhibit 1.2 go beyond the pre- scriptive terms
as they force thought about the curriculum not merely in
terms of how things ought to be . . . but how things are in
real classrooms (Ellis, 2004).
Another term that could be used to define the descriptive
curriculum is experience. The experienced curriculum
provides glimpses of the curriculum in action. Several
examples, in chrono- logical order, of descriptive
definitions of curriculum are listed.

The definitions provided for prescriptive and

descriptive curricula vary primarily in their breadth and
emphasis. It would seem that a useful definition of
curriculum should meet two criteria:
It should reflect the general understanding of the term as
used by educa- tors, and it should be useful to educators in
making operational distinctions.





Hollis Caswell &

Doak Campbell

All the experiences children

have under the guidance of


Thomas Hopkins

Those learning's each child

selects, accepts, and
incorporates into himself to act
with, on, and upon, in
subsequent experiences.


W. B. Ragan

All experiences of the child for

which the school accepts


Glen Hass

The set of actual experiences

and perceptions of the
experiences that each
individual learner has of his or
her program of education.


Daniel Tanner &

Laurel Tanner

The reconstruction of
knowledge and experience that
enables the learner to grow in
exercising intelligent control of
subsequent knowledge and



D. F. Brown

All student school experiences

relating to the improvement of

skills and strategies in thinking
critically and creatively, solving
problems, working
collaboratively with others,
communicating well, writing
more effectively, reading more
analytically, and conducting
research to solve problems.

E. Silva

An emphasis on what students

can do with knowledge, rather
than what units of knowledge
they have, is the essence of
21st-century skills.

Longstreet and Shane (1993) refer to four major
conceptions of curriculum:

society-oriented curriculum: the purpose of schooling is to

serve society;
student-centred curriculum: the student is the crucial source of
all curriculum;
knowledge-centred curriculum: knowledge is the heart of
eclectic curriculum: various compromises are possible,
including mindless eclecticism!
The conceptions or orientations of curriculum produced by Eisner and
Vallance (1974) are often cited in literature, namely:
o A cognitive process orientation: cognitive skills
applicable to a wide range of intellectual problems;
o Technological orientation: to develop means to
achieve pre-specified ends;
o Self-actualization orientation: individual students
discover and develop their unique identities;
o Social reconstructionist orientation: schools must be
an agency of social change;
o Academic rationalist orientation: to use and
appreciate the ideas and works of the various
It is interesting to note that Vallance (1986) modified these
orientations twelve years later by deleting self-actualization and

adding personal success (pursuing a specific, practical end) and a

curriculum for personal commitment (pursuing learning for its
inherent rewards).

These conceptions of curriculum are useful to the extent that they

remind educators of some value orientations that they may be
following, whether directly or indirectly. Yet others, such as Pinar et
al. (1995), argue that these conceptions are stereotypes and are of
little value.
Who is involved in curriculum?
Curriculum workers are many and include school-based personnel
such as
o Teachers,
o Principals,
o Parents,
o University-Based Specialists,
o Industry
o Government Agencies And
A large number of those working in the curriculum field are involved
in serving the daily and technical needs of those who work in schools.
This has been the traditional role over the decades where the focus
has been upon curriculum development for school contexts.

We make sense of our world and go about our daily lives
by engaging in concept building. We acquire and develop concepts so

that we can gain meaning about persons and events and in turn
communicate these meaning to others.
Some concepts are clearly of more importance than others. The key
concepts provide us with the power to explore a variety of situations
and events and to make significant connections.
Other concepts may be meaningful in more limited situations but play
a part in connecting unrelated facts.
Every field of study contains a number of key concepts and lesser
concepts which relate to substantive and methodological issues
unique to that discipline/ field of study. Not
unexpectedly, scholars differ over their respective lists of key
concepts, but there is, nevertheless, considerable agreement (see, for
example, Hayes, 2006). With regard to the curriculum field there is a
moderate degree of agreement over key concepts.
Searching for key concepts:

To be able to provide any commentary on key concepts in

curriculum assumes of course that we have access to sources
of information that enable us to make definitive statements.
A wide range of personnel are involved in making curriculum,
including school personnel, researchers, academics,
administrators, politicians and various interest groups. They
go about their tasks in various ways such as via planning
meetings, informal discussions, writing reports, papers,
handbooks, textbooks, giving talks, lectures, workshops, etc.
To ensure that a list of key concepts is comprehensive and
representative of all these sources would be an extremely
daunting task. A proxy often used by researchers is to examine

textbooks, especially synoptic textbooks (those books which

provide comprehensive accounts and summaries of a wide
range of concepts, topics and issues in curriculum).

Schubert et al. (2002) undertook a detailed analysis of

textbooks over the period 18612000 and this volume
provides a valuable overview of curriculum thought over
major historical periods.

Marsh and Stafford (1988) provided a similar historical

analysis of major curriculum books written by Australian
authors over the period 191088. Green (2003) undertook a
comprehensive review of Australian authors writing in the
curriculum field.

Major synoptic texts published in the USA include Doll

(1996), Oliva (2004) and Marsh and Willis (2007). All of these
are longstanding texts in the USA and have undergone
subsequent editions.

Pinar et al.s (1995) Understanding Curriculum: An

Introduction to the Study of Historical and Contemporary
Curriculum Discourses, an encyclopaedic volume of diverse
discourses, represents a very important but different form of
synoptic text.
In subsequent volumes, Pinar (2004) and Reynolds and
Webber (2004) continue with presentations of diverse

discourses a complex, cacophonous chorus from competing

theoretical points.
These texts tend to be very comprehensive and cover a number of
key concepts within the broad categories of:
conceptions of curriculum/models/approaches;
curriculum history;
curriculum policy and policy-makers, politics of curriculum;
curriculum/ development/ procedures/change/improvement/
planning steps;
issues and trends/problems/future directions;
discourses of gender, race postmodern, political, historical,
phenomenological (especially Pinar et al., 1995).
A text published in the United Kingdom (Ross, 2000), has a major
focus upon historical developments in curriculum in that country, but
also includes sections on curriculum and reproduction, hidden
curriculum, content-driven, objectives-driven and process-driven

In Australia, three major texts focus directly upon curriculum

Brady and Kennedy (2007) examine social contexts,

curriculum planning models, assessment and evaluation, and
curriculum change.
Marsh (2008) examines student learning, curriculum planning
models, providing for individual differences, assessment and
reporting, school culture, standards, innovation, and change.
Smith and Lovat (2003) examine the origins and nature of
curriculum, curriculum and ideology, curriculum and the
foundational disciplines, critical theory, assessment and
evaluation, curriculum change, and curriculum futures.
Taken overall, it is very evident that there are a number of common
key concepts that are included in these synoptic texts.
Categories of concepts included in this volume After examining a
wide range of synoptic curriculum texts, including those described
above, a decision was made to include material relating to two sets of
1. Generic issues in curriculum,
2. Alternative perspectives.
By concentrating upon a single concept in each chapter, it is possible,
of course, to have many different groupings, and readers are
encouraged to explore their own interests and swap around their order
of reading chapters. Each chapter focuses upon a key concept in terms
of its major characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.

Generic categories

The generic categories include the following:

curriculum planning and development;

curriculum management;
teaching perspectives;
collaborative involvement in curriculum;
curriculum ideology.

Characteristics of curriculum
Some curriculum experts, such as Goodlad (1979), contend that an
analysis of definitions is a useful starting point for examining the field
of curriculum.
Other writers argue that there are important concepts or
characteristics that need to be considered and which give some
insights into how particular value orientations have evolved and why
(Westbury, 2007).
Pinar et al. (1995) refer to the
development as

shifting domain of curriculum

Textbook Companies,
Subject-Matter specialists in the
university, rather than
o School
curriculum, exercise leadership
and control over curriculum

In a later publication, Pinar (2004) argues that public school

teachers have been reduced to domestic workers instructed by

politicians and that education professors are losing have lost?
control of the curriculum we teach.

Reflections and issues

1 There are very divergent views about the nature of curriculum.
What definition of curriculum do you support? Justify your choice.

2 Trying to clarify central concepts by proposing definitions for them

has been popular in many fields (Portelli, 1987). Have these concepts
and definitions proven useful in the field of curriculum?

3 The struggle over the definition of curriculum is a matter of social

and political priorities as well as intellectual discourse (Goodson,
1988, p. 23). Reflect upon a particular period of time and analyse the
initiatives, successes and failures which occurred in terms of
curriculum development or policy development.
4 If the curriculum is to be the instrument of change in education, its
meanings and operational terms must be clearer than they are
currently (Toombs and Tierney, 1993,

5 The term social subjects rarely occurs in the current formulations

of the National Curriculum or the whole curriculum in the United
Kingdom; indeed the very word society is notable by its
infrequency (Campbell, 1993, p. 137). This indicate deficiencies in
the conceptions of curriculum.

The Four Components of Curriculum..

(Cayadong, Lindo )M.
Curriculum plays an important role in an educational system. It
is somehow a blueprint which leads the teacher and the learner to
reach the desired objectives. As a result, authorities have to design it
in such a way that it could lead the teacher and the learner meet the
desired learning outcomes.
The four components of the curriculum are :
1. Curriculum Aims, Goals and Objectives,
2. Curriculum Content or Subject Matter,
3. Curriculum Experience,
4. Curriculum Evaluation.
These four components of the curriculum are essential. These are
interrelated to each other. Each of these has a connection to one
another. Aims, goals, and objectives can be simplified as what is to
be done, the subject matter/content: what subject matter is to be
included, the learning experience what instructional strategies,
resources and activities will be employed, and the evaluation
approaches , while curriculum evaluation is what methods and
instruments will be used to assess the results of the curriculum.
The curriculum aims, goals and objectives spell out what is to be
done. It tries to capture what goals are to be achieved, the vision, the
philosophy, the mission statement and objectives. Further, it clearly
defines the purpose and what the curriculum is to be acted upon and
try what to drive at.

In the same manner, curriculum has a content. In here, it contains

information to be learned in school. It is an element or a medium
through which the objectives are accomplished. A primordial concern
of formal education is primarily to transmit organized knowledge in
distilled form to a new generation of young learners.
The traditional sources of what is taught and learned in school is
precisely the foundation of knowledge, therefore, the sciences and
humanities provide the basis of selecting the content of school
learning.In organizing the learning contents, balance, articulation,
sequence, integration, and continuity form a sound content.
For the third component, the curriculum experience, instructional
strategies and methods are the core of the curriculum. These
instructional strategies and methods will put into action the goals and
use of the content in order to produce an outcome. These would
convert the written curriculum to instruction. Moreover, mastery is the
function of the teacher direction and student activity with the teacher
For the fourth component, the curriculum evaluation is an element of
an effective curriculum. It identifies the quality, effectiveness of the
program, process and product of the curriculum. In summary, the
components of a curriculum are distinct but interrelated to each other.
These four components should be always present in a curriculum. I
could say that these are essential ingredients to have an effective
For example, in a curriculum, evaluation is also important so one
could assess whether the objectives and aims have been meet or if not,
he could employ another strategy which will really work out.

Curriculum experience could not be effective if the content is not

clearly defined. The aims, goals and directions serve as the anchor of
the learning journey, the content or subject matter serve as the meat of
the educational journey, curriculum experience serves as the hands
on exposure to the real spectrum of learning and finally the
curriculum evaluation serves as the barometer as to how far had the
learners understood on the educational journey.

Key Components of a Curriculum Plan:

Learning Experiences.

Curriculum developers must always be concerned about what should

be included in the curriculum and how to present and arrange what is
selected. In other words, they must first deal with content or subject
matter and then learning experiences.
These tasks are preceded by formulating behavioural objectives,
which act as a road map for the curriculum development and
implementation process.
Regardless of the curriculum approach or development model used,
curriculum leaders cannot ignore these three components. Committees
charged with curriculum planning have options in selection of content
and experiencesto be determined in part by the philosophical and
psychological views of the committee members, the school, and the
school district.

Unquestionably, there is much content and a variety of learning

experiences to include.
Committee members must decide not only what content and learning
experiences to include, but also, and more importantly, the
relationship of objectives and content as well as the relationship of
objectives to learning experiences. Relationship of Objectives and
Content Objectives are usually stated in terms of expected outcomes.
For example, a high school science teacher might develop a
chronological list of topics to be covered in a high school biological
science course: functions of human organisms, use of plant and
animal resources, evolution and development, and the like (Williams,
This type of list shows what the science teacher intends to teach but
not what the expected outcomes of instruction will be. The content
outline is useful for the teacher in planning and guiding instruction,
but it is insufficient for the statement of behavioural objectives. To be
useful in teaching, behavioural objectives must be linked to content.
The real contribution of stating objectives for learning is to think of
how each objective can be achieved by students through the content
or subject matter they learn.
Ralph Tyler (1949) in his now classic text, Basic Principles of
Curriculum and Instruction, has devised a two-dimensional chart for
specifying varied types of objectives according to the subject-matter
content and the behavioural aspects of the objectives Relationship of
Objectives to Learning Experiences.

In his classic text on curriculum, Tyler defined the term learning

experiences as follows:
The term learning experience is not the same as the content
with which a course deals nor the activities performed by the
The term learning experience refers to the interaction
between the learner and the external conditions in the
environment to which he/she can react.
Learning takes place through the active behaviour of the
student. (p. 63) Tyler argues that the teachers problem is to
select learning experiences that will foster active involvement
in the learning process in order to accomplish the expected
learning outcomes.
Tyler outlined five general principles in selecting learning
1. The learning experience must give students the opportunity to
practice the desired behaviour. If the objective is to develop problemsolving skills, the students should have ample opportunity to solve
2. The learning experience must give the students satisfaction.
Students need satisfying experiences to develop and maintain interest
in learning; unsatisfying experiences hinder their learning.
3. The learning experience must fit the students needs and abilities.
This infers that the teacher must begin where the student is abilitywise and that prior knowledge is the starting point for new

4. Multiple learning experiences can achieve the same objective.
There are many ways of learning the same thing. A wide range of
experiences is more effective for learning than a limited range.
5. The learning experience should accomplish several learning
outcomes. While students are acquiring knowledge of one subject or
concept, they are able to integrate schooling that knowledge in several
related fields and satisfy more than one objective (Tyler, 1949).

Four Major Foundations of Curriculum and their

Importance in Education
The Influence of Philosophy to Curriculum
Educators, curriculum makers and teachers must have
espoused a philosophy or philosophies that are deemed necessary for
planning, implementing, and evaluating a school curriculum. The
philosophy that they have embraced will help them define the purpose
of the school, the important subjects to be taught, the kind of learning
students must have and how they can acquire them, the instructional
materials, methods and strategies to be used, and how students will be
Likewise, philosophy offers solutions to problems by helping the
administrators, curriculum planners, and teachers make sound
decisions. A persons philosophy reflects his/her life experiences,
social and economic background, common beliefs, and education.
When John Dewey proposed that education is a way of life, his
philosophy is realized when put into practice. Now, particularly in the
Philippines, Deweys philosophy served as anchor to the countrys
educational system.

History and Its Influence to Curriculum
The history of ones country can affect its educational system and the
kind of curriculum it has. If we are going to trace the formal
beginning of curriculum, we get back in time to Franklin Bobbits
book entitled, The Curriculum which was published in 1918.
From the time of Bobbit to Tyler, many developments in the purposes,
principles and contents of the curriculum took place.
The Influence of Psychology to Curriculum
Curriculum is influenced by psychology. Psychology provides
information about the teaching and learning process. It also seeks
answers as to how a curriculum be organized in order to achieve
students learning at the optimum level, and as to what amount of
information they can absorb in learning the various contents of the
The following are some psychological theories in learning that
influenced curriculum development:
1. Behaviourism
Education in the 20th century was dominated by behaviourism. The
mastery of the subject matter is given more emphasis. So, learning is
organized in a step-by-step process. The use of drills and repetition
are common.
For this reason, many educational psychologists viewed it mechanical
and routine. Though many are sceptical about this theory, we cant
deny the fact the influences it had in our educational system.

2. Cognitivism
Cognitive theorists focus on how individuals process information,
monitor and manage their thinking. The basic questions that cognitive
psychologists zero in on are:
How do learners process and store information?
How do they retrieve data and generate conclusions?
How much information can they absorb?

With their beliefs, they promote the development of problem-solving

and thinking skills and popularize the use of reflective thinking,
creative thinking, intuitive thinking, discovery learning, among
3. Humanism
Humanism is taken from the theory of Gestalt, Abraham Maslows
theory and Carl Rogers theory. This group of psychologists is
concerned with the development of human potential.
In this theory, curriculum is after the process, not the product; focuses
on personal needs, not on the subject matter; and clarifying
psychological meanings and environmental situations. In short,
curriculum views founded on humanism posits that learners are
human beings who are affected by their biology, culture, and
environment. They are neither machines nor animals.
A more advanced, more comprehensive curriculum that promotes
human potential must be crafted along this line. Teachers dont only
educate the minds, but the hearts as well.

4. Sociology and Curriculum
There is a mutual and encompassing relationship between society and
curriculum because the school exists within the societal context.
Though schools are formal institutions that educate the people, there
are other units of society that educate or influence the way people
think, such as families and friends as well as communities.
Since the society is dynamic, there are many developments which are
difficult to cope with and to adjust to. But the schools are made to
address and understand the changes not only in ones country but in
the world as well.
Therefore, schools must be relevant by making its curriculum more
innovative and interdisciplinary.
A curriculum that can address the diversities of global learners, the
explosion of knowledge through the internet, and the educational
reforms and policies recommended or mandated by the United
However, it is also imperative that a country must have maintained a
curriculum that reflects and preserves its culture and aspirations for
national identity.
No matter how far people go, it is the countrys responsibility to
ensure that the school serves its purpose of educating the citizenry.
Now, it is your time to reflect. Can you think of your experiences in
which the major foundation of curriculum can explain it?

Curriculum can be ordered into a procedure:
Step 1: Diagnosis of needs,
Step 2: Formulation of objectives,
Step 3: Selection of content,
Step 4: Organization of content,
Step 5: Selection of learning experiences,
Step 6: Organization of learning experiences,
Step 7: Determination of what to evaluate and of the ways and
means of doing it, Curriculum has numerous definitions,
which can be slightly confusing.
In its broadest sense a curriculum may refer to all courses
offered at a school, explicit. The intended curriculum, which
the students learn through the culture of the school, implicit.
The curriculum that is specifically excluded, like racism. Plus,
the extracurricular activities like sports, and clubs. . This is
particularly true of schools at the university level, where the
diversity of a curriculum might be an attractive point to a
potential student. A curriculum may also refer to a defined and
prescribed course of studies, which students must fulfil in
order to pass a certain level of education. For example, an
elementary school might discuss how its curriculum, or its
entire sum of lessons and teachings, is designed to improve
national testing scores or help students learn the basics. An
individual teacher might also refer to his or her curriculum,

meaning all the subjects that will be taught during a school

On the other hand, a high school might refer to a curriculum as the
courses required in order to receive ones diploma. They might also
refer to curriculum in exactly the same way as the elementary
school, and use curriculum to mean both individual courses needed
to pass, and the overall offering of courses, which help prepare a
student for life after high school.
Curriculum can be envisaged from different perspectives. What
societies envisage as important teaching and learning constitutes the
"intended" curriculum. Since it is usually presented in official
documents, it may be also called the "written" and/or "official"
curriculum. However, at classroom level this intended curriculum
may be altered through a range of complex classroom interactions,
and what is actually delivered can be considered the "implemented"
curriculum. What learners really learn (i.e. what can be assessed and
can be demonstrated as learning outcomes/learner competencies)
constitutes the "achieved" or "learned" curriculum. In addition,
curriculum theory points to a "hidden" curriculum (i.e. the
unintended development of personal values and beliefs of learners,
teachers and communities; unexpected impact of a curriculum;
unforeseen aspects of a learning process).
Those who develop the intended curriculum should have all these
different dimensions of the curriculum in view. While the "written"
curriculum does not exhaust the meaning of curriculum, it is
important because it represents the vision of the society. The
"written" curriculum is usually expressed in comprehensive and
user-friendly documents, such as curriculum frameworks; subject
curricula/syllabuses, and in relevant and helpful learning materials,
such as textbooks; teacher guides; assessment guides.


In some cases, people see the curriculum entirely in terms of the

subjects that are taught, and as set out within the set of textbooks,
and forget the wider goals of competencies and personal
development. This is why a curriculum framework is important. It
sets the subjects within this wider context, and shows how learning
experiences within the subjects need to contribute to the attainment
of the wider goals.
There are many common misconceptions of what curriculum is and
one of the most common is that curriculum only entails a syllabus.
Smith (1996,2000) says that, "A syllabus will not generally indicate
the relative importance of its topics or the order in which they are to
be studied. Where people still equate curriculum with a syllabus they
are likely to limit their planning to a consideration of the content or
the body of knowledge that they wish to transmit". Regardless of the
definition of curriculum, one thing is certain. The quality of any
educational experience will always depend to a large extent on the
individual teacher responsible for it (Kelly, 2009).
Curriculum is almost always defined with relation to
schooling. According to some, it is the major division between
formal and informal education. However, under some circumstances
it may also be applied to informal education or free-choice learning
settings. For instance, a science museum may have a "curriculum" of
what topics or exhibits it wishes to cover. Many after-school
programs in the US have tried to apply the concept; this typically
has more success when not rigidly clinging to the definition of
curriculum as a product or as a body of knowledge to be transferred.

Rather, informal education and free-choice learning settings are

more suited to the model of curriculum as practice or praxis.

Primary and secondary education:

A curriculum may be partly or entirely determined by an
external, authoritative body (e.g., the National Curriculum for
England in English schools).
Crucial to the curriculum is the definition of the course objectives
that usually are expressed as learning outcomes and normally
include the program's assessment strategy.
These outcomes and assessments are grouped as units (or modules),
and, therefore, the curriculum comprises a collection of such units,
each, in turn, comprising a specialised, specific part of the
curriculum. So, a typical curriculum includes communications,
numeracy, information technology, and social skills units, with
specific, specialized teaching of each.
the primary and secondary levels, by school boards, Departments
of Education, or other administrative agencies charged with
overseeing education.
A core curriculum is a curriculum, or course of study, which is
deemed central and usually made mandatory for all students of
a school or school system.
However, even when core requirements exist, they do not
necessarily involve a requirement for students to engage in one
particular class or activity.

For example, a school might mandate a music appreciation class,

but students may opt out if they take a performing musical class,
such as orchestra, band, chorus, etc
Implication on classroom practice:
When reviewing the meaning of curriculum proposed by different
scholars, I think of the role teachers should take in classrooms. From
the news article about pro-home schooling, supporters criticize that
school curriculum is negative because it contributes nothing but
modification of the behaviour of student (Kelly, 1999). Personally I
do not agree with the claim.
Curriculum itself is a planned outcome (Morris and
Adamson,2010) , it will not brainwash unless all the textbook are
published under surveillance and censorship or teachers convey
messages in class inappropriately. Teachers should try to be openminded and objective.
Teachers are not responsible for teaching them absolute right or
wrong, but the skills of judging whether the issue is appropriate or
inappropriate. If teachers and schools always open for discussion,
students will have low possibility to be brainwashed. Apart from
obtaining knowledge in received curriculum, students can learn
outside classroom. In the case of Hong Kong, the high transparency
and information flow enables students to learn more about the society
and the world by themselves.
Regarding the meaning of the term curriculum as suggested by the
Hong Kong Yearbook in 2006, the meaning tends to urge students
improving the society instead of accommodate social needs.

According to the questions raised by Marsh (2009), curriculum

should not be used to accommodate social needs, instead, it should
function as a guidance for students to have further improvement. I, as
a student teacher, should not follow the curriculum blindly.
Instead of fulfilling the requirement or finishing the syllabus set by
the EDB and schools, teachers can spend longer time discussing the
topic with students in selective basis if possible. By transferring
personal beliefs to students, they can learn more than simply subject

Nature of curriculum:
Kelly(1999) identifies three kinds of the nature of curriculum:
Planned Curriculum ,
Received Curriculum,
Hidden Curriculum.
Planned curriculum means what is laid down in the syllabus.
Received curriculum refers to the reality of students
Hidden curriculum is knowledge that implicit knowledge
students learn in school.
Regarding classification, Morris and Adamson (2010) raise the idea
of null curriculum and outside curriculum on top of the three concepts
stated by Kelly (1999) above.

Null curriculum means topic excluded in the curriculum. Outside

curriculum means knowledge students learn outside classroom and

Foundations of Curriculum
Foundations are the forces that influence the minds of curriculum
In this way they affect the content and structure of the curriculum.
The curriculum reflects the society and culture of a country and this is
the desire of a society that their children should learn the habits, ideas,
attitudes and skills of the adult society and culture and educational
institutional are the proper way to impart these skill. This duty of
teacher and school to discipline the young of the society and provide
them the set of experiences in the form of curriculum. The needs,
knowledge and information of the society provide foundation in the
formation of curriculum
Philosophical/ ideological foundation
It is concerned with beliefs.
What is real --- ONTOLOGY
What is true --- EPISTEMOLOGY
What is good AXIOLOGY
Philosophy means the love of wisdom, it search for truth, not simple
truth, It search for eternal truth, reality and general principles of life.

Curriculum help in the practical use of knowledge in real life

situations and understanding realities and ideas of life and this world
that why curriculum is called the dynamic side of

Curriculum is used for the modification of the behaviour of the
students and philosophy help in the process of finding new ways and
basis for teachers and curriculum planner to modify their behaviour.
Philosophy also helps in the exploring new methods of teaching and
how to apply in the classroom situation for better achievement of the
teaching learning process. It also provides new ways and methods for
the evaluation of students achievement and evaluation of curriculum.
Philosophers of the past have made major influence in clarifying the
association in the nature of knowledge and curriculum development
process and also provide a foundation for curriculum; Plato presented
a curriculum in his book republic at that times and it is still the core
of the curriculum of today. Knowledge is given the high role in
human life.
Today world economics and societies are changing very rapidly; it
needs depth in every discipline of education in this high
Today the world emphasis on finding new ways through which man
develops new concepts of reality and knowledge and to form a new
structure of knowledge in this dynamic and changing time therefore a
high value is given to discovery, invention and restructuring of
knowledge and curriculum in new patterns. Now the new curriculum
is open to new experiences, logical and critical thinking, and to bring
about the concept of knowledge out of interpreted experience.
Philosophy and ideology of education provide rules and principles

which lead the in decision-making regarding educational practices

and polices planning. It Guides the curriculum planner on the basses
of the philosophical and ideological belief of the society in the
constructing of subject matter keeping in view the future demands and
needs of the schools and help in the promoting of human life through
social change in the behaviour of the students.
Philosophy and ideology has direct effect in curriculum planning
because it guides the curriculum planner in the selection of the
objectives and. As it provides guidelines in the selection of objectives,
Learning experiences and content of the curriculum, and how to
evaluate the curriculum, learning experiences and achievements of the
Some justification provided for the implications of curriculum given
by different researcher are as under (Rud Yard K. Bent and Urruh, )
Various customs values, traditions and knowledge need to be
preserved by transfer them to the next generation.
The students also needed the knowledge of past and present in
which they live, it help them in the process of adaptation and
adjusting their self to new changes and new situation in life.
All those content of a subject who helps in intellectual
development rather than practical value. It teaches student
how to reason, develops mental ability to solve the problems
in practical life situations. It helps in using different methods
for search of eternal truth and how to analyze the knowledge
and methods of inquiry.
The Secondary school curriculum should designed for
developing maximum potentialities of the students by
including variety of leaning activities to educate each students
to its highest.

Schools should be a tool and leader in directing new changes

in the curriculum rather than maintainers of curriculum.
Students need skills and for that purpose some subject matter
must be included in the curriculum to help them in acquiring
these skills like experimentation and the use of laboratory
techniques so they advance the knowledge.

Psychological foundations:
Psychological foundation is based on the individual
differences, every student has its own unique personality and
they have differences in their leering and skills.
They are different in nature so they cant be treated alike in
teaching learning process, some may be fast learner while
other slow.
Therefore the curriculum should be based on the above facts,
and it should be design to support the capacity and
potentialities of all the students.
Psychology play a vital role in the teaching learning process it
is the foundation for all type of educational related
The methods of teaching, the selection of content of subject
and the methods and theories of learning, the overall
development of the students and to inculcate the norms of the
society in the students.
Psychology helps in all the processes above in the
development process of the curriculum.

In the past curriculum for child development and learning was

developed in traditional ways without keeping in view the
psychological implication in the development of curriculum.

Today psychology is the core and foundation element of all the
learning processes; curriculum development, Child mental
development, teaching methods, learning theories,
administration of education system and planning, character
building of the students, attitude of students and teacher, the
society, the use of different technologies.
Today the researchers and Scholars using experimental
approach to find new ways of teaching learning process, how
students learn under different conditions.
They are finding new ways and materials from the analysis of
teaching learning problem and formulating new approaches
for teaching and learning process.

Psychology helps in all fields of education, it not just add to

knowledge, psychology is applied in practical class room situation as
well as in the curriculum development process by defining teaching
methods and origination of the
In the process of using psychology in curriculum development
process some positive concepts or ideas about teaching learning
process emerged, it is reflected in the work produced by different

The traditional readiness concept for a difficult subject

which require children maturity has been rejected by the
modern researchers, now the researchers formed a new
principle that the child can teach any subject on the
condition that it provided keeping in view the principle of
from simple to complex and that the students have the
previous experience.
When the importance is given to basic concepts and the
process of inquiry for teaching learning and curriculum
development process
the transfer of learning and
future learning are improved.
The guided discovery of the relationships in the student
learning outcomes, subject matter and in teaching methods
play a very important role in the teaching learning process
compare to those approaches in which the curriculum planner
used the views and conclusions of other for developing
The Interest and motivation level of the students may be
generated using the discovery method within the subject itself,
the content of the subject should be interesting and appealing
to generate curiosity in the students to find more. In this way
the student engage in finding the relationships in the subject
matter presented to him, and engage the students in the
process of inquiry.
Meaningful conversation involves the students in the
organizing or structuring of facts into conceptual system
which help the students to generate new ideas, make new
interpretations and raise new questions.

The researchers prefer the use of inductive methods because it

helps in the discovery through inquiry and help in the
formulating of hypotheses and interpretation of information.

To study a topic in depth or more helpful in the discovering
the relationships between them than try to cover the whole
material in once.
The Depth of learning could be attained by applying
different ideas, processes, theories, and models.
o Learning is improved when there is relationship order in the
continuity of unit to unit from simple to complex in the
instruction programme.
o The solving of problems helps the students in acquiring the
concept development, and how to use different principles
which lead the students to a higher level of mental

It put emphasis on the organizing of ideas which helps the

students to develop the skills to identify the relationships,
improves their skills, remembers and retrieves old ideas;

o It provides a foundation for generating new ideas and

concepts, and helps in the transfer of learning.

Therefore it is said that the impact of psychological sources on the

foundations of curriculum is more than significant and still on the
The scope of the psychology for applying in curriculum construction
and its principles, concepts, processes.
The role of psychology in the development of curriculum is vast and
with each day it is becoming increasingly more meaningful and
The purpose of psychology and psychologist is the study of human
behaviour, the study of living being. Investigate and explain the
behaviour of animate creatures. Therefore, curriculum needs
educational psychology to provide information particularly in FOUR
Prepare objectives of education.

Characteristics of the students.

The leaning processes.

The methods of Teaching.

Socio Cultural Foundation:

According to Murray print (1993). The society and culture exercise
massive powers on the formation curriculum and the reason behind
that it was society who created schooling to safeguard the survival of
their cultural heritage, and survival of their species.

The purpose of curriculum planner and developers to translate

traditional norms, philosophies, ethics, knowledge and attitudes in the
objectives of curriculum, the content, learning processes and the
evaluation of elements of the curriculum.
Sociological factors have highest impact on the content of curriculum
and that is the reason that curriculum developers and planner both
reflect and transfer their own culture in curriculum.
Therefore a curriculum without the reflection of culture is not
possible for that reason one should consider what characteristic of the
culture should be the part of curriculum and what not.
The social and cultural inspirations that affect curriculum designers
consciously and unconsciously are apparent from the curriculum and
their influence is deep.
For example in Pakistan the curriculum is more reflective of the
society and curriculum is design in a way that leads society to change.
The society manifest through the curriculum and education, and the
outcomes of the curriculum developers display the role of both of the
above in curriculum development.
Because curriculum developers are the part of the society therefore
they indirectly effected by the society and culture. Their cultural
standards, attitudes and beliefs leave deep impact on the individuals
because the curriculum designers influence the selection of objectives,
subject matter, teaching learning methods and the process of

Example: A group of teacher formulated a new course for teaching in

schools to enhance the quality of the subject in curriculum. After the
completion of the subject matter when analyze again one could not
determine some lesson were eliminated and some were included in
the course, how the old content was evaluated even the teacher who
constructed the curriculum for the subject was unable to clearly say
what was the basis of their decisions.

If story reading was a component of the revised curriculum, what

proportion would be real reading? And Why? And what would be the
method for the assessment of that lesson? What stories were selected
and why these are questions need to be asked from the curriculum
developers on the other hand, may be curriculum developers are well
aware of society needs and they have planned intention to incorporate
all those things in the curricula which the society need in the
curriculum but the question is that the curriculum should student
centred or society.
Curriculum should be a tool for guiding the students potentialities in
directions or to develop those potentialities without any restrictions.
Some Social values, changes and conditions are included into some
extent in some of the curriculum projects in the context of current
social issues and problems, such as rapid growth of population,
democratic values, urbanization, and management problems could be
found in proposed program. Some vital problems and topics are
considered in relation to concepts and key ideas drawn from the
In another way in which the social situation is used as a source of
content and information for the curriculum formulation may be found
in the present-day situations that are selected to light up the concepts
and main ideas from the selected disciplines e.g. In mathematics

program there may be some problems of social significance, for

which student may use mathematical concepts to solve the problem.
Or in others societal science program, socially important situations
may be used to encompass and expand concepts and generalizations.
Therefore it can be concluded, that social and cultural forces have
deep effect upon the curriculum.
To find how much and to which degree the society and culture affect
the education system of that society is controversial issue.
Curriculum developer are the part of that society and culture
therefore they should keep in mind that there decision could affect
their culture and society.
Therefore their decision should be culturally related to the society
need and values Guideline given by Rud Yard (1969) related to
curriculum planning decision-making, it derived from societal needs
and goals.

The goals of education emerge from the needs and wishes of

the society

When a society urge a need or a goal it becomes an

educational objective and the school accepted that demand and they
attempt to attain that goal by putting it into school objectives.
And when a societal goal become an educational objective then the
school, teacher and student must make their efforts to achieve it and

for that purpose appropriate educational facilities and methods must

be planned.
If there is a conflict between the objectives and aims of majority and
minority groups, the aims of larger group is accepted.
Educational aims are based on the study of sociological and political
condition of the society and the main purpose of the curriculum is
preservation and advancement of the that society.
Historical Foundations
It includes
Role of curriculum in achievements of nations.

Guides future plans


Factors that influence development of nation e.g. unity


Eliminates the useless traditions.

Role of the History of curriculum in the development of

History of the curriculum plays a very important role in the
development of the nation. It takes long and tedious time to formulate
a good curriculum which represents the need of the society and the
experiences of the past.
The history of the curriculum tell the curriculum planner how to
develop and modify the curriculum, what to teach and what should be
the core material of the subjects, what objectives they want to achieve
through the curriculum.

History also tell them how the teacher should teach, what are the best
practices they need to incorporate in curriculum teaching and what
kind of teaching need to be avoid.
The history of the curriculum also explains the teacher
psychology at different time and how to improve their teaching styles.
The history also provides a detail about the learner behaviour at
different times. It also provides information about the psychology of
the students, how they learn and what they want to learn.
In times curriculum changed its shapes and patterns from teacher
centre curriculum to learner centre curriculum due to the long history
of the curriculum development process from Plato to modern
The history of the curriculum also changed the teaching methods, now
every researcher are finding new ways to teach and it is also
becoming the part of curriculum an history.
Today majority of the develop countries are those countries who have
a long history of freedom and proper education system. They
achieved their successes through education and implementation of
time needed curriculum.
They modified their curriculum according to the need of time. Some
of newly born countries also achieved that status because they
adopted successful model of other developed countries and modified
according to their own needs and culture.
History Guides future plans:

The history of the curriculum guides the future plans because

curriculum is always based on the future demands of the country and
the lesson learned through history, tell the curriculum developer not to
repeat the mistake of the past and develop a curriculum which is
based on the future need of the society and international demands.
History is the profile of past successes and failures.
History helps in the eliminations of useless traditions:
The history of education tells the curriculum developer what not to
include in the curriculum. What of lessons can bring no good to the
curriculum and what type of contents material are good for the
teaching learning process, so history of the curriculum eliminate all
those useless traditions from the modern curriculum and help the
developer to incorporate what is needed for the curriculum.
A short history of the curriculum and curriculum development process
Plato was the earliest most important Greek Philosopher and
educational thinker. Plato thinks education as a key for a society and
he stress on education, for this purpose he want to go to the extreme
level even removing children from their mothers and rise them by the
state, he want to identify the skills of the children and give them
proper education for that particular skill which they have so they
could be become a suitable member of the society and fulfil their duty
in society.
Plato describes different stages of education in his republic.
According to Plato the education of child should be start at the age of
seven year and before this stage the child should stay with their
mother or elders and learn moral education from them.

After the age of six years both girls and boys should be separated and
boys should play with boys and girls with girls and they should be
taught the use of different arms to both sexes. This stage goes up to
the age of seventeen years. During these years they should teach them
music and early education. After the age of seventeen years the youth
should be brought to battle field to learn real life experiences.
The fourth stage start at the age of twenty five to thirty years and in
this age they get the training of Mathematical calculation and last for
another ten years, after the completion the selected ones are admitted
in the study of dialect.
During fifth stage they study dialect for another five years and after
that, at the sixth stage one is ready to become a ruler and philosopher
and the one enter in practical life.
The 11th century was a dark era for education. Few people in Western
Europe were receiving any kind of schooling and across the globe;
contributions were being made to the future of education.
In China, printing by movable type was invented in 1045, and proved
to be one of the most powerful inventions of this era which affect the
curriculum development process and bring huge change in the
improvement of curriculum and contents of the curriculum around the
world. With future educational systems focusing on the written word,
the invention of type printing set the path for future publications.
The first paper mill was built in France in 1338. Paper was a Chinese
invention (c. 600 AD), brought to Europe by the Arabs in the 11th

The great educator of Islam, Imam Ghazali was born in 1059 AD near
Tus in Khurasan, a part of the then Persia.
His educational philosophy based on his personal experience. The
philosophy, which he formulated over a period of 10 years, resembles
to the Philosophy of Plato. He used his personal experience and
concluded the reasons.

According to Ghazali, there are four categories of

1. Prophetic
2. Rulers
3. Philosophers/scholars
4. Preachers

Ghazali strongly criticizes the curriculum of his time. He raises the
basic question of criteria for selection of subject matter for
curriculum. He studied the various curriculums in his times and
reached the following conclusions:
More time is spent on religious education and worldly
education is completely ignores,
Worldly education is equally important,
While teaching religious education, a great number of
differences arise among the teachers, which result in
mudslinging on each other,

There is no Prioritization and it is only left to the interest and

opinions of the teachers to concentrate on certain subjects,
while ignore others,

No place for character building in curriculum,

Ghazali included industrial education, textile, agriculture,

tailoring and hair cutting in the curriculum.

Methods of Teaching and Techniques:

Ghazali has recommended the following teaching methods and
techniques, which are based on psychological principles. These
methods and techniques are widely used and educators all over the
world agree with their usefulness and today they are the foundation of
curriculum development process.
Teaching of lessons to be based on previous knowledge
and experience of the students.
Teachers should simplify the difficult concepts by
stories, tales etc. otherwise his teaching will not be

Move from simple to complex.

This is a very important principle of today curriculum which was
presented by Ghazali at those times. History of curriculum laid down
the basic foundation of curriculum development

Proper planning:

Ghazali stresses the importance of planning and advises that teachers

should do his preparation before teaching to make it effective

Abilities of students:
Ghazali stresses that while teaching the abilities of students should be
kept in mind. Concepts, which are above the mental level of the
students, will not make the teaching effective.
Today in modern curriculum teachers are asked to keep in mind the
individual differences. In the era of colonist, the colonist came to
indo-pack and they set up schools exactly like the ones they knew in
Europe. The curriculum was centered on the learning of letters,
numbers, and prayers. Their strict learning environment did not allow
for crafts nor recess breaks, and only one out of ten children attended
There were common characteristics shared by these colonies:
Religious Education; its major aim was personal salvation
Education was centred on social class, dual system or class
system. The children of workers should have minimal primary
education, they learned the 4 R's (reading, writing, arithmetic,
and religion
With the exception of few Schools, education was only for
Most children in colonial times received their education
through informal means such as the family, the farm, and the
Changes in educational philosophy and curriculum came
about in this era as well.

In 1901, John Dewey wrote The Child and the Curriculum, and later
Democracy and Education, in which he shows concern for the
relationship between society and education. Dewey was a
philosopher, psychologist, and educator.
His philosophy of education focused on learning by doing rather than
rote memorization. He criticized the old education system which
keeps students busy.

Economical Foundations:
It focuses on:
o Job or market oriented curriculum
o Skill learning
The economical foundation of curriculum gives importance to the
vocational aspect of the curriculum. The economic condition of a
nation or a society guide the curriculum of the country, because the
stakeholder of the education wants to employ such a curriculum
which help them to build their economy and the people have better
jobs when they finish their schooling.
In this kind of situations the curriculum become job or market
oriented. In this curriculum the curriculum developer gives
importance to skills acquisition which is the demands of the time.
Undeveloped nations try to prepare skill work force and send it to
other countries for jobs.
Here are some economical factor which influence the curriculum
development process.

Economic Factors:

Allocation of funds
The financial condition of a country reflects its curriculum because
without proper funding one cant achieve the outcome of a good
curriculum. It is the financial aspect of a country which guide them to
adopt which type of curriculum, for example activity base or learner
centre curriculum need more money in the process of the
implementation of the curriculum then subject matter curriculum.
Because activity base and learner centre curriculum need more
space and money then subject matter, for that reason in Pakistan we
adopted subject base curriculum because we have shortage of schools,
classrooms in schools, trained teachers.
Schools lack physical facilities including buildings, classrooms,
furniture, Hostel, Play grounds, mats and even very basic necessities
like blackboard, chalk, and charts. Lack of other resources water,
Fan, Electricity.

Lack of skilled manpower:

The lack of skilled manpower due to financial restrains, without
proper financial support it is hard to train the people to support the
teaching learning process. Only through proper funding and the
establishment of training institutions for teachers and support staff.
Teachers are the core of education system and without proper training
one cant implement a curriculum and to support the curriculum one
need to train the entire teacher on that style of curriculum. So the
skills of the teachers also guide the direction of the curriculum, and to
develop these skills in the teachers need funds.

Lack of labs due to financial problems:

The lack of labs and libraries also affect the curriculum development
process because without proper computer labs in cities and villages
one cant implement computer education curriculum all over the


Curriculum from Different Points of View

From these two ways, the definition of curriculum is
viewed in two perspectives. In the first perspective they are
prescriptive, while in the second perspective are descriptive

1. Traditional Points of View

This point of view is also referred to as the
Essentialists View.

Curriculum is a body of subjects or subject matter prepared by

the teachers for the students to learn. It was synonymous to
the course of study and syllabus
Curriculum is viewed as a field of study which is made up of
its foundations, domains of knowledge as well as research
theories and principles.
Curriculum is viewed as written documents or a plan of action
in accomplishing goals.
As viewed by many essentialists

Curriculum as permanent studies where the rule of grammar,

reading, rhetoric and logic and mathematics for basic
education are emphasized. -Robert M. Hutchins

The mission of the school should be intellectual

training/learning, hence curriculum should focus on the
fundamental intellectual disciplines of grammar, literature and
writing. It should also include mathematics, science, history
and foreign language- Arthur Bestor

Discipline is the sole source of curriculum.- Joseph Schwab

2. Progressive Points of View
To a progressivist, a listing of school, subjects, syllabi, course
of study, and list of courses or specific discipline do not make a
curriculum. These can only be called curriculum if the written
materials are actualized by the learner.
As viewed by many progressivists

Curriculum is defined as the total learning experiences of

the individual.- John Dewey
Curriculum is all the experiences children have under the
guidance of teachers-Caswell & Campbell
Curriculum as a sequence of potential experiences set up in
the schools for the purpose of disciplining children and
youth in group ways of thinking and acting.- Smith, Stanley
and Shores
Curriculum as all the experiences in the classroom which
are planned and enacted by the teacher, and also learned by
the students.- Marsh & Willis
The learning experiences and intended outcomes
formulated through systematic reconstruction of knowledge

and experiences, under the auspices of the school for the

learners continuous and willful growth in persona-social
competence; the cumulative tradition of organized
knowledge -Tanner D. & Tanner, L.
Other definitions:
Curriculum is a plan for learning.- Hilda Taba
A course of study on a specific topic includes
all the learning experiences of the students as
planned and directed by the school to attain its
educational goals (Tyler).

Beane (2001) produce principles of curriculum but they are more
value oriented and less generic.
For example, he lists five major principles about curriculum:

Concern with the experiences of learners;

Making decisions about both content and process;
Making decisions about a variety of issues and topics;
Involving many groups;

Decision-making at many levels.

It is evident that these authors have a particular conception of

curriculum; perhaps a combination of student- and society-centred.
Inevitably, if specific principles are given a high priority, then a
particular conception of curriculum emerges.

1. Principle of Child Centeredness.
As modern education is child-centered the curriculum should also be
child-centered. It should be based on the child's needs, interests,
abilities, aptitude, age level and circumstances. The child should be
central figure in any scheme of curriculum construction. In fact,
curriculum is meant to bring about the development of the child in the
desired direction so that he is able to adjust well in life.

Principles of Curriculum Construction are:
1. Principles of Child Centeredness ;
2. Principle of Community Centeredness ;
3. Principle of Activity Centeredness ;

4. Principle of Variety ;
5. Principle of Co-ordinations and Integration;
6. Principle of Conservation;
7. Principle of Creativity;
8. Principle of Forward. Looking;
9. Principle of Flexibility;
10. Principle of Balance;
11. Principle of Utility.
2. Principle of Community Centeredness.
Though the child's development and growth is the main consideration
of curriculum construction, yet his social behavior is also to be
suitably developed, both the individual development and the social
development of the child deserve equal attention. He is to live in and
for the society.
Therefore, his needs and desires must be in conformity with the needs
and desires of the society in which he is to live. The values, attitudes
and skills that are prevailing in the community must be reflected in
the curriculum. However, the society is not static. ]
It is dynamic. Its needs and requirements are changing with the rapid
developments taking place in all fields. While working for the
development, this factor cannot be ignored.

3. Principle of Activity Centeredness.

The curriculum should centre round the multifarious activities of
pupils. It should provide well selected activities according to the
general interests and developmental stages of children.
It should provide constructive, creative and project activities. For
small children, play activities should also be provided.!
The purposeful activities both in the class-room and outside the classroom should be provided.
It is through a net work of activities that the desired experiences can
be provided and consequently desirable behavioral changes can be
brought about in children.

4. Principle of Variety.
The curriculum should be broad-based so as to accommodate the
needs of varied categories of pupils, so that they are able to take up
subjects and participate in activities according their capacities and
The needs of pupils also change from place to place. For example, the
pupils in rural areas, urban areas, and hilly areas will have different
The needs of boys and girls are also different. So these considerations
should be reflected in the curriculum.

5. Principle of Co-ordination and Integration.

Of course, the pupils are to be provided with selected experiences
through various subjects and activities but these must be well
Various subjects and activities have to serve the same ultimate
purpose, the achievement of the aims of education. The activities and
subjects should not be put in after-tight compartments but these
should be inter-related and well integrated so as to develop the whole
6. Principles of Conservation.
One of the main functions of education is to preserve and transmit our
cultural heritage. This is essential for human progress. Culture
consists of traditions, customs, attitudes, skills, conduct, values and
However, the curriculum framers must make a suitable selection of
the elements of culture, keeping n view their educational value and
the developmental stage of pupils.
7. Principle of Creativity.
The conservation of culture helps to sustain the society. The culture
should not be simply transmitted but also enriched. There should be
provision in the curriculum to develop he creative powers of the child
so that he becomes a contributory member society. Raymont says, "In
curriculum that is suited to the needs of today and of the future, there
must be definitely creative subjects."

8. Principle of Forward Looking.

Education is to enable the child to lead a successful social life. So the
curriculum should not cater to the present needs of the child alone.
The needs of his future life should also be considered.
The curriculum should also include knowledge, skills, experiences,
influences etc. which will develop in the child abilities and power to
make effective adjustments in the later life.
9. Principle of Flexibility.
In our age, rapid developments are taking place in various fields.
Consequently the needs of society are hanging. The content of
curriculum cannot be same for all times to come.
It should not be static. It must be dynamic and change with the
changing times. It should reflect the latest trends in the field of
education and psychology.
10. Principle of Balance.
The curriculum must maintain a balance between subjects and
activities, between direct and indirect experiences, between academic
and vocational education, between compulsory and optional subjects,
between formal and informal education, between individual and social
aims of education etc.
11. Principle of Utility.
Curriculum should be useful rather than ornamental. It should not
only include subjects which owe their place in it to tradition. The

curriculum must have practical utility for students. So there should be

some provision for technical and vocational education in the
The various principles of curriculum construction should be kept in
mind. Various regional and national conditions should also be
considered. It fact, all considerations which will help in achieving the
aims of education should be given due consideration.

Theories of Curriculum Development:

Kerr defines curriculum as, All the learning which is planned
and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or
individually, inside or outside the school. (quoted in Kelly 1983: 10;
see also, Kelly 1999).
This gives us some basis to move on and for the moment all we
need to do is highlight two of the key features:
Learning is planned and guided. We have to specify in
advance what we are seeking to achieve and how we are to go
about it.
The definition refers to schooling. We should recognize that
our current appreciation of curriculum theory and practice
emerged in the school and in relation to other schooling ideas
such as subject and lesson.

In what follows we are going to look at four ways of approaching
curriculum theory and practice:

1. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted.

2. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students
3. Curriculum as process.
4. Curriculum as praxis.
It is helpful to consider these ways of approaching curriculum theory
and practice in the light of Aristotles influential categorization of
knowledge into three disciplines: the theoretical, the productive and
the practical.

Here we can see some clear links the body of knowledge to be

transmitted in the first is that classically valued as the canon; the
process and praxis models come close to practical deliberation; and
the technical concerns of the outcome or product model mirror
elements of Aristotles characterization of the productive. More this
will be revealed as we examine the theory underpinning individual

Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted:

Many people still equate a curriculum with a syllabus. Syllabus,

naturally, originates from the Greek (although there was some
confusion in its usage due to early misprints). Basically it means a
concise statement or table of the heads of a discourse, the contents of
a treatise, the subjects of a series of lectures.
In the form that many of us will have been familiar with it is
connected with courses leading to examinations teachers talk of the
syllabus associated with, say, the Cambridge Board French GSCE
exam. What we can see in such documents is a series of headings with
some additional notes which set out the areas that may be examined.
A syllabus will not generally indicate the relative importance of its
topics or the order in which they are to be studied. In some cases as
Curzon (1985) points out, those who compile a syllabus tend to
follow the traditional textbook approach of an order of contents, or a
pattern prescribed by a logical approach to the subject, or
consciously or unconsciously a the shape of a university course in
which they may have participated.
Thus, an approach to curriculum theory and practice which focuses on
syllabus is only really concerned with content. Curriculum is a body
of knowledge-content and/or subjects. Education in this sense, is the
process by which these are transmitted or delivered to students by
the most effective methods that can be devised (Blenkin et al 1992:
Where people still equate curriculum with a syllabus they are likely to
limit their planning to a consideration of the content or the body of
knowledge that they wish to transmit. It is also because this view of
curriculum has been adopted that many teachers in primary schools,
Kelly (1985: 7) claims, have regarded issues of curriculum as of no
concern to them, since they have not regarded their task as being to
transmit bodies of knowledge in this manner.

Curriculum as product:

The dominant modes of describing and managing education are today

couched in the productive form. Education is most often seen as a
technical exercise.
Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes
(products) measured. It is a way of thinking about education that has
grown in influence in the United Kingdom since the late 1970s with
the rise of vocationalism and the concern with competencies.
Thus, in the late 1980s and the 1990s many of the debates about the
National Curriculum for schools did not so much concern how the
curriculum was thought about as to what its objectives and content
might be.
It is the work of two American writers Franklin Bobbitt (1918; 1928)
and Ralph W. Tyler (1949) that dominate theory and practice within
this tradition. In The Curriculum Bobbitt writes as follows:
The central theory [of curriculum] is simple. Human life, however
varied, consists in the performance of specific activities. Education
that prepares for life is one that prepares definitely and adequately for
these specific activities.
However numerous and diverse they may be for any social class they
can be discovered. This requires only that one go out into the world
of affairs and discover the particulars of which their affairs consist.
These will show the abilities, attitudes, habits, appreciations and
forms of knowledge that men need.
These will be the objectives of the curriculum. They will be
numerous, definite and particularized. The curriculum will then be
that series of experiences which children and youth must have by way
of obtaining those objectives. (1918: 42)
This way of thinking about curriculum theory and practice was
heavily influenced by the development of management thinking and

practice. The rise of scientific management is often associated with

the name of its main advocate F. W. Taylor.
Basically what he proposed was greater division of labour with jobs
being simplified; an extension of managerial control over all elements
of the workplace; and cost accounting based on systematic time-andmotion study.
All three elements were involved in this conception of curriculum
theory and practice. For example, one of the attractions of this
approach to curriculum theory was that it involved detailed attention
to what people needed to know in order to work, live their lives and
so on.
A familiar, and more restricted, example of this approach can be
found in many training programmes, where particular tasks or jobs
have been analyzed broken down into their component elements
and lists of competencies drawn up.
In other words, the curriculum was not to be the result of armchair
speculation but the product of systematic study. Bobbitts work and
theory met with mixed responses.
One telling criticism that was made, and can continue to be made, of
such approaches is that there is no social vision or programme to
guide the process of curriculum construction.
As it stands it is a technical exercise. However, it wasnt criticisms
such as this which initially limited the impact of such curriculum
theory in the late 1920s and 1930s.


Rather, the growing influence of progressive, child-centred

approaches shifted the ground to more romantic notions of education.
Bobbitts long lists of objectives and his emphasis on order and
structure hardly sat comfortably with such forms.
The Progressive movement lost much of its momentum in the late
1940s in the United States and from that period the work of Ralph W.
Tyler, in particular, has made a lasting impression on curriculum
theory and practice. He shared Bobbitts emphasis on rationality and
relative simplicity.
His theory was based on four fundamental questions:
1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to
attain these purposes?
3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?
(Tyler 1949: 1)

Like Bobbitt he also placed an emphasis on the formulation of

behavioural objectives.
Since the real purpose of education is not to have the instructor
perform certain activities but to bring about significant changes in the
students pattern of behaviour, it becomes important to recognize that
any statements of objectives of the school should be a statement of
changes to take place in the students. (Tyler 1949)

We can see how these concerns translate into a nicely-ordered

procedure: one that is very similar to the technical or productive
thinking set out below.
Step 1: Diagnosis of need
Step 2: Formulation of objectives
Step 3: Selection of content
Step 4: Organization of content
Step 5: Selection of learning experiences
Step 6: Organization of learning experiences
Step 7: Determination of what to evaluate and of the ways and means
of doing it. (Taba 1962)
The attraction of this way of approaching curriculum theory and
practice is that it is systematic and has considerable organizing
power. Central to the approach is the formulation of behavioural
objectives providing a clear notion of outcome so that content and
method may be organized and the results evaluated.
There are a number of issues with this approach to curriculum theory
and practice. The first is that the plan or programme assumes great
importance. For example, we might look at a more recent definition
of curriculum as: A programme of activities (by teachers and pupils)
designed so that pupils will attain so far as possible certain
educational and other schooling ends or objectives (Grundy 1987:
The problem here is that such programmes inevitably exist prior to
and outside the learning experiences. This takes much away from
learners. They can end up with little or no voice. They are told what
they must learn and how they will do it.

The success or failure of both the programme and the individual

learners is judged on the basis of whether pre-specified changes occur
in the behaviour and person of the learner (the meeting of behavioural
objectives). If the plan is tightly adhered to, there can only be limited
opportunity for educators to make use of the interactions that occur. It
also can deskill educators in another way.
For example, a number of curriculum programmes, particularly in
the USA, have attempted to make the student experience teacher
proof. The logic of this approach is for the curriculum to be
designed outside of the classroom or school, as is the case with the
National Curriculum in the UK. Educators then apply programmes
and are judged by the products of their actions. It turns educators into
Second, there are questions around the nature of objectives. This
model is hot on measurability. It implies that behaviour can be
objectively, mechanistically measured. There are obvious dangers
here there always has to be some uncertainty about what is being
measured. We only have to reflect on questions of success in our
work. It is often very difficult to judge what the impact of particular
experiences has been. Sometimes it is years after the event that we
come to appreciate something of what has happened.
For example, most informal educators who have been around a few
years will have had the experience of an ex-participant telling them in
great detail about how some forgotten event (forgotten to the worker
that is) brought about some fundamental change. Yet there is
something more. In order to measure, things have to be broken down
into smaller and smaller units. The result, as many of you will have
experienced, can be long lists of often trivial skills or competencies.
This can lead to a focus in this approach to curriculum theory and
practice on the parts rather than the whole; on the trivial, rather than
the significant. It can lead to an approach to education and
assessment which resembles a shopping list. When all the items are
ticked, the person has passed the course or has learnt something.

Third, there is a real problem when we come to examine what

educators actually do in the classroom, for example. Much of the
research concerning teacher thinking and classroom interaction, and
curriculum innovation has pointed to the lack of impact on actual
pedagogic practice of objectives (see Stenhouse 1974; and Cornbleth
1990, for example).
One way of viewing this is that teachers simply get it wrong they
ought to work with objectives. I think we need to take this problem
very seriously and not dismiss it in this way. The difficulties that
educators experience with objectives in the classroom may point to
something inherently wrong with the approach that it is not
grounded in the study of educational exchanges. It is a model of
curriculum theory and practice largely imported from technological
and industrial settings.
Fourth, there is the problem of unanticipated results. The focus on
pre-specified goals may lead both educators and learners to overlook
learning that is occurring as a result of their interactions, but which is
not listed as an objective.
The apparent simplicity and rationality of this approach to curriculum
theory and practice, and the way in which it mimics industrial
management have been powerful factors in its success. A further
appeal has been the ability of academics to use the model to attack
I believe there is a tendency, recurrent enough to suggest that it may
be endemic in the approach, for academics in education to use the
objectives model as a stick with which to beat teachers. What are
your objectives? is more often asked in a tone of challenge than one
of interested and helpful inquiry. The demand for objectives is a
demand for justification rather than a description of ends It is not
about curriculum design, but rather an expression of irritation in the
problems of accountability in education. (Stenhouse 1974: 77)

Curriculum as process
We have seen that the curriculum as product model is heavily
dependent on the setting of behavioural objectives. The curriculum,
essentially, is a set of documents for implementation. Another way of
looking at curriculum theory and practice is via process. In this sense
curriculum is not a physical thing, but rather the interaction of
teachers, students and knowledge.
In other words, curriculum is what actually happens in the classroom
and what people do to prepare and evaluate. What we have in this
model is a number of elements in constant interaction. It is an active
process and links with the practical form of reasoning set out by
Curriculum as process

Teachers enter particular schooling and situations with an ability to think critically, -in

Guided by these, they encourage conversations between, and with, people in the situat
Perhaps the two major things that set this apart from the model for
informal education are first, the context in which the process occurs
(particular schooling situations); and second, the fact that teachers
enter the classroom or any other formal educational setting with a
more fully worked-through idea of what is about to happen.
Here I have described that as entering the situation with a proposal
for action which sets out essential principles and features of the
educational encounter.

This form of words echoes those of Lawrence Stenhouse (1975) who

produced one of the best-known explorations of a process model of
curriculum theory and practice. He defined curriculum tentatively: A
curriculum is an attempt to communicate the essential principles and
features of an educational proposal in such a form that it is open to
critical scrutiny and capable of effective translation into practice. He
suggests that a curriculum is rather like a recipe in cookery.
It can be criticized on nutritional or gastronomic grounds does it
nourish the students and does it taste good? and it can be criticized
on the grounds of practicality we cant get hold of six dozen larks
tongues and the grocer cant find any ground unicorn horn! A
curriculum, like the recipe for a dish, is first imagined as a possibility,
then the subject of experiment. The recipe offered publicly is in a
sense a report on the experiment. Similarly, a curriculum should be
grounded in practice.
It is an attempt to describe the work observed in classrooms that it is
adequately communicated to teachers and others. Finally, within
limits, a recipe can varied according to taste. So can a curriculum.
(Stenhouse 1975: 4-5)
Stenhouse shifted the ground a little bit here. He was not saying that
curriculum is the process, but rather the means by which the
experience of attempting to put an educational proposal into practice
is made available.
The reason why he did this, I suspect, is that otherwise there is a
danger of widening the meaning of the term so much that it embraces
almost everything and hence means very little. For example, in a
discussion of the so-called youth work curriculum (Newman &
Ingram 1989), the following definition was taken as a starting point:
those processes which enhance or, if they go wrong, inhibit a
persons learning.

This was then developed and a curriculum became: an organic

process by which learning is offered, accepted and internalized
(Newman & Ingram 1989: 1). The problem with this sort of
definition, as Robin Barrow (1984) points out, is that what this does is
to widen the meaning of the term to such an extent that it just about
becomes interchangeable with education itself.More specifically, if
curriculum is process then the word curriculum is redundant because
process would do very nicely! The simple equation of curriculum
with process is a very slap-happy basis on which to proceed.We also
need to reflect on why curriculum theory and practice came into use
by educators (as against policy-makers). It was essentially as a way
of helping them to think about their work before, during and after
interventions; as a means of enabling educators to make judgments
about the direction their work was taking. This is what Stenhouse
was picking up on.

There are a number of contrasts in this model of curriculum theory

and practice as compared with the product model. First, where the
product model appeals to the workshop for a model, this process
model looks to the world of experimentation.
The idea is that of an educational science in which each classroom is a
laboratory, each teacher a member of the scientific community The
crucial point is that the proposal is not to be regarded as an
unqualified recommendation but rather as a provisional specification
claiming no more than to be worth putting to the test of practice,
Such proposals claim to be intelligent rather than correct. (Stenhouse
1975: 142)
Thus, in this sense, a curriculum is a particular form of specification
about the practice of teaching. It is not a package of materials or a
syllabus of ground to be covered. It is a way of translating any
educational idea into a hypothesis testable in practice. It invites
critical testing rather than acceptance (Stenhouse 1975: 142).

Second, and associated with the above, given the uniqueness of each
classroom setting, it means that any proposal, even at school level,
needs to be tested, and verified by each teacher in his/her classroom
(ibid: 143). It is not like a curriculum package which is designed to
be delivered almost anywhere.
Third, outcomes are no longer the central and defining feature.
Rather than tightly specifying behavioural objectives and methods in
advance, what happens in this model of curriculum theory and
practice is that content and means develop as teachers and students
work together.
Fourth, the learners in this model are not objects to be acted upon.
They have a clear voice in the way that the sessions evolve. The
focus is on interactions. This can mean that attention shifts from
teaching to learning. The product model, by having a pre-specified
plan or programme, tends to direct attention to teaching. For
example, how can this information be got over? A process approach
to curriculum theory and practice, it is argued by writers like Grundy
(1987), tends towards making the process of learning the central
concern of the teacher. This is because this way of thinking
emphasizes interpretation and meaning-making. As we have seen
each classroom and each exchange is different and has to be made
sense of.
However, when we come to think about this way of approaching
curriculum in practice, a number of possible problems do arise. The
first is a problem for those who want some greater degree of
uniformity in what is taught.
This approach to the theory of curriculum, because it places meaningmaking and thinking at its core and treats learners as subjects rather
than objects, can lead to very different means being employed in
classrooms and a high degree of variety in content. As Stenhouse
comments, the process model is essentially a critical model, not a
marking model.

It can never be directed towards an examination as an objective

without loss of quality, since the standards of the examination then
override the standards immanent in the subject. This does not mean
that students taught on the process model cannot be examined, but it
does mean that the examinations must be taken in their stride as they
pursue other aspirations. And if the examination is a by-product there
is an implication that the quality the student shows in it must be an
under-estimate of his real quality. It is hence rather difficult to get the
weak student through an examination using a process model.
Crammers cannot use it, since it depends upon a commitment to
educational aims. (Stenhouse 1975: 95)
To some extent variation is limited by factors such as public
examinations. The exchange between students and teachers does not
float free of the context in which it arises. At the end of the day many
students and their families place a high premium on exam or subject
success and this inevitably enters into the classroom. This highlights
a second problem with the model we have just outlined that it may
not pay enough attention to the context in which learning takes place
(more of this later).
Third, there is the problem of teachers. The major weakness and,
indeed, strength of the process model is that it rests upon the quality
of teachers. If they are not up to much then there is no safety net in
the form of prescribed curriculum materials. The approach is
dependent upon the cultivation of wisdom and meaning-making in the
classroom. If the teacher is not up to this, then there will be severe
limitations on what can happen educationally.
There have been some attempts to overcome this problem by
developing materials and curriculum packages which focus more
closely on the process of discovery or problem-solving, for
example in science.
But there is a danger in this approach. Processes become reduced to
sets of skills for example, how to light a bunsen burner. When

students are able to demonstrate certain skills, they are deemed to

have completed the process. As Grundy comments, the actions have
become the ends; the processes have become the product. Whether or
not students are able to apply the skills to make sense of the world
around them is somehow overlooked (Grundy 1987: 77).
Fourth, we need to look back at our process model of curriculum
theory and practice and what we have subsequently discussed, and
return to Aristotle and to Freire. The model we have looked at here
does not fully reflect the process explored earlier. In particular, it
does not make explicit the commitments associated with phronesis.
And it is to that we will now turn.
Curriculum as praxis
Curriculum as praxis is, in many respects, a development of the
process model. While the process model is driven by general
principles and places an emphasis on judgment and meaning making,
it does not make explicit statements about the interests it serves.
It may, for example, be used in such a way that does not make
continual reference to collective human well-being and to the
emancipation of the human spirit.
The praxis model of curriculum theory and practice brings these to
the centre of the process and makes an explicit commitment to
emancipation. Thus action is not simply informed, it is also
committed. It is praxis.
Critical pedagogy goes beyond situating the learning experience
within the experience of the learner: it is a process which takes the
experiences of both the learner and the teacher and, through dialogue
and negotiation, recognizes them both as problematic [It] allows,
indeed encourages, students and teachers together to confront the real
problems of their existence and relationships When students

confront the real problems of their existence they will soon also be
faced with their own oppression. (Grundy 1987: 105)
We can amend our curriculum as process model to take account of
these concerns.

Curriculum as praxis:

Teachers enter particular schooling and situations with a personal, but shared idea of t
In this approach the curriculum itself develops through the dynamic
interaction of action and reflection. That is, the curriculum is not
simply a set of plans to be implemented, but rather is constituted
through an active process in which planning, acting and evaluating are
all reciprocally related and integrated into the process (Grundy 1987:
115). At its centre is praxis: informed, committed action.
How might we recognize this? First, I think we should be looking for
practice which does not focus exclusively on individuals, but pays
careful attention to collective understandings and practices and to
structural questions.
For example, in sessions which seek to explore the experiences of
different cultural and racial groups in society, we could be looking to
see whether the direction of the work took people beyond a focus on
individual attitudes. Are participants confronting the material
conditions through which those attitudes are constituted, for example?
Second, we could be looking for a commitment expressed in action to
the exploration of educators values and their practice. Are they, for
example, able to say in a coherent way what they think makes for
human well-being and link this with their practice? We could also be
looking for certain values especially an emphasis on human

Third, we could expect practitioners committed to praxis to be

exploring their practice with their peers. They would be able to say
how their actions with respect to particular interventions reflected
their ideas about what makes for the good, and to say what theories
were involved.

Curriculum in context
To round off this discussion of curriculum we do need to pay further
attention to the social context in which it is created. One criticism
that has been made of the praxis model (especially as it is set out by
Grundy) is that it does not place a strong enough emphasis upon
context. This is a criticism that can also be laid at the door of the
other approaches.
In this respect the work of Catherine Cornbleth (1990) is of some
use. She sees curriculum as a particular type of process. Curriculum
for her is what actually happens in classrooms, that is, an ongoing
social process comprised of the interactions of students, teachers,
knowledge and milieu (1990: 5). In contrast, Stenhouse defines
curriculum as the attempt to describe what happens in classrooms
rather than what actually occurs.
Cornbleth further contends that curriculum as practice cannot be
understood adequately or changed substantially without attention to
its setting or context. Curriculum is contextually shaped. While I
may quibble about the simple equation of curriculum with process,
what Cornbleth does by focusing on the interaction is to bring out the
significance of context.
First, by introducing the notion of milieu into the discussion of
curriculum she again draws attention to the impact of some factors
that we have already noted. Of special significance here are
examinations and the social relationships of the school the nature of
the teacher-student relationship, the organization of classes, streaming
and so on. These elements are what are sometimes known as the

hidden curriculum. This was a term credited to Philip W. Jackson

(1968) but it had been present as an acknowledged element in
education for some time before.
For example, John Dewey in Experience and Education referred to
the collateral learning of attitudes that occur in schools, and that may
well be of more long-range importance than the explicit school
curriculum (1938: 48). A fairly standard (product) definition of the
hidden curriculum is given by Vic Kelly.
He argues it is those things which students learn, because of the way
in which the work of the school is planned and organized but which
are not in themselves overtly included in the planning or even in the
consciousness of those responsible for the school arrangements (1988:
The learning associated with the hidden curriculum is most often
treated in a negative way.
It is learning that is smuggled in and serves the interests of the status
quo. The emphasis on regimentation, on bells and time management,
and on streaming are sometimes seen as preparing young people for
the world of capitalist production. What we do need to recognize is
that such hidden learning is not all negative and can be potentially
In so far as they enable students to develop socially valued
knowledge and skills or to form their own peer groups and
subcultures, they may contribute to personal and collective autonomy
and to possible critique and challenge of existing norms and
institutions (Cornbleth 1990: 50). What we also need to recognize is
that by treating curriculum as a contextualized social process, the
notion of hidden curriculum becomes rather redundant. If we need to
stay in touch with milieu as we build curriculum then it is not hidden
but becomes a central part of our processes.
Second, by paying attention to milieu, we can begin to get a better
grasp of the impact of structural and socio-cultural process on

teachers and students. As Cornbleth argues, economic and gender

relations, for example, do not simply bypass the systemic or structural
context of curriculum and enter directly into classroom practice.
They are mediated by intervening layers of the education system
(Cornbleth 1990: 7). Thus, the impact of these factors may be quite
different to that expected.
Third, if curriculum theory and practice is inextricably linked to
milieu then it becomes clear why there have been problems about
introducing it into non-schooling contexts like youth work; and it is to
this area which we will now turn.

Curriculum as the boundary between formal and

informal education
Jeffs and Smith (1990; 1999) have argued that the notion of
curriculum provides a central dividing line between formal and
informal education. They contend that curriculum theory and practice
was formed within the schooling context and that there are major
problems when it is introduced into informal forms of pedagogy.
The adoption of curriculum theory and practice by some informal
educators appears to have arisen from a desire to be clear about
content. Yet there are crucial difficulties with the notion of
curriculum in this context.
These centre around the extent to which it is possible to have a clear
idea, in advance (and even during the process), of the activities and
topics that will be involved in a particular piece of work.
At any one time, outcomes may not be marked by a high degree of
specificity. In a similar way, the nature of the activities used often
cannot be predicted. It may be that we can say something about how
the informal educator will work.

However, knowing in advance about broad processes and ethos isnt

the same as having a knowledge of the programme. We must, thus,
conclude that approaches to the curriculum which focus on objectives
and detailed programmes appear to be incompatible with informal
education. (Jeffs & Smith 1990: 15)
In other words, they are arguing that a product model of curriculum is
not compatible with the emphasis on process and praxis within
informal education.
However, process and praxis models of curriculum also present
problems in the context of informal education. If you look back at at
our models of process and compare them with the model of informal
education presented above then it is clear that we can have a similar
problem with pre-specification.
One of the key feature that differentiates the two is that the
curriculum model has the teacher entering the situation with a
proposal for action which sets out the essential principles and features
of the educational encounter.

Informal educators do not have, and do not need, this element. They
do not enter with a clear proposal for action. Rather, they have an
idea of what makes for human well-being, and an appreciation of their
overall role and strategy (strategy here being some idea about target
group and broad method e.g. detached work).
They then develop their aims and interventions in interaction. And
what is this element we have been discussing? It is nothing more nor
less than what Stenhouse considers to be a curriculum!
The other key difference is context. Even if we were to go the whole
hog and define curriculum as process there remain substantive
problems. As Cornbleth (1990), and Jeffs and Smith (1990, 1999)

have argued, curriculum cannot be taken out of context, and the

context in which it was formed was the school. Curriculum theory
and practice only makes sense when considered alongside notions like
class, teacher, course, lesson and so on. You only have to look at the
language that has been used by our main proponents: Tyler,
Stenhouse, Cornbleth and Grundy, to see this.
It is not a concept that stands on its own. It developed in relation to
teaching and within particular organizational relationships and
expectations. Alter the context and the nature of the process alters .
We then need different ways of describing what is going on. Thus, it
is no surprise that when curriculum theory and practice are introduced
into what are essentially informal forms of working such as youth
work and community work, their main impact is to formalize
significant aspects of the work.
One of the main outcome of curriculum experiments within youth
work has been work, for example in the field of health promotion,
which involve pre-specified activities, visiting workers, regular
meetings and so on. Within the language of youth work these are
most often called programmes or projects (Foreman 1990). Within a
school they would be called a course.


The Explosion of Knowledge:

The knowledge explosion has created enormous difficulties for
researchers to be aware of, access, and process the volume of new
literature. Electronic literature retrieval systems and specialization on
narrow topics have been strategies used to cope with these problems.

In this study, the authors examined the additional effects of the

knowledge explosion on researchers writing, referencing, and citing.
Counts of references within sampled empirical journal articles in
sociology, physics, biology, and experimental and social psychology
revealed impacts of the knowledge explosion in all disciplines but the
greatest effects within psychology. Detailed analyses indicated that
substantial changes in the numbers of references and citations
and in their format and use within the research article are
psychologys unique response to the knowledge explosion.
The knowledge explosion has generated four problems for researchers
who must monitor published articles for incremental new knowledge
as the basis for their original research. The first problem is how a
researcher is to maintain awareness of all the relevant new literature.
This was soon addressed by electronic databases that indexed the
published literature by bibliographic reference and citations (Garfield,
Access to the literature became the second problem for researchers
as libraries limited in space and funds could no longer maintain
holdings of all new journals. This problem is being addressed by
libraries pooling resources and by increasing electronic availability of
full-text journal articles.
The third problem that researchers have had to face is reading and
processing all of the new information. Within psychology, Thorngate
(1990) predicted researchers would choose to read narrowly within
their research interest, summaries rather than in-depth or complete
works, current literature to the exclusion of the
older classics, and primarily writings by famous persons or articles
with catchy titles. Indeed, specialization has become commonplace in
both teaching and research(Moghaddam, 1997).
The fourth problem is how researchers can cope with the large
volume of literature within their own writing. The prospect of a
literature explosion leading to changes in the nature of research
reports, especially in the number and form of cited references, has yet
to be addressed. Two sets of data collected for entirely different

purposes have provided preliminary evidence of changes in published

psychological research.


Knowledge has widely been acknowledged as one of the most
important factors for corporate competitiveness, and we have
witnessed an explosion of IS/IT solutions claiming to provide support
for knowledge management . A relevant question to ask, though, is
how systems and technology intended for information such as the
intranet can be able to assist in the managing of knowledge. To
understand this, we must examine the relationship between
information and knowledge. Building on Polanyis theories, I argue
that all knowledge is tacit, and what can be articulated and made
tangible outside the human mind is merely information. However,
information and knowledge affect one another.
By adopting a multi-perspective of the intranet where information,
awareness, and communication are all considered, this interaction can
best be supported and the intranet can become a useful and peopleinclusive KM environment.
1. From philosophy to IT
Ever since the ancient Greek period, philosophers have discussed
what knowledge is. Early thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle where
followed by Hobbes and Locke, Kant and Hegel, and into the 20th
century by the likes of Wittgenstein, Popper, and Kuhn, to name but a
few of the more prominent western philosophers.

In recent years, we have witnessed a booming interest in

knowledge also from other disciplines; organisation theorists,
information system developers, and economists have all been swept
away by the knowledge management avalanche. It seems, though, that
the interest is particularly strong within the IS/IT community, where
new opportunities to develop computer systems are welcomed. A
plausible question to ask then is how knowledge relates to
information technology (IT). Can IT at all be used to handle
knowledge, and if so, what sort of knowledge? What sorts of
knowledge are there? What is knowledge?
It seems we have little choice but to return to these eternal
questions, but belonging to the IS/IT community, we should not
approach knowledge from a philosophical perspective.
As observed by Alavi and Leidner, the knowledge-based theory of
the firm was never built on a universal truth of what knowledge really
is but on a pragmatic interest in being able to manage organisational
The discussion in this paper shall therefore be aimed at addressing
knowledge from an IS/IT perspective, trying to answer two
overarching questions: What does the relationship between
information and knowledge look like? and What role does an
intranet have in this relationship? The purpose is to critically review
the contemporary KM literature in order to clarify the relationships
between information and knowledge that commonly and implicitly
are assumed within the IS/IT community.
Epistemologically, this paper shall address the difference between
tacit and explicit knowledge by accounting for some of the views
more commonly found in the KM literature. Some of these views

shall also be questioned, and the prevailing assumption that tacit and
explicit are two forms of knowledge shall be criticised by returning to
Polanyis original work. My interest in the tacit side of knowledge,
i.e. the aspects of knowledge that is omnipresent, taken for granted,
and affecting our understanding without us being aware of it, has
strongly influenced the content of this paper.
Ontology wise, knowledge may be seen to exist on different levels,
i.e. individual, group, organisation and inter-organisational [23].
Here, my primary interest is on the group and organisational levels.
However, these two levels are obviously made up of individuals and
we are thus bound to examine the personal aspects of knowledge as
well, though be it from a macro perspective.
2. Opposite traditions and a middle way?
When examining the knowledge literature, two separate tracks
can be identified: the commodity view and the community view
[35]. The commodity view of or the objective approach to
knowledge as some absolute and universal truth has since long
been the dominating view within science.
Rooted in the positivism of the mid -19th century, the
commodity view is still especially strong in the natural sciences.
Disciples of this tradition understand knowledge as an artefact that
can be handled in discrete units and that people may possess.
Knowledge is a thing for which we can gain evidence, and
knowledge as such is separated from the knower . Metaphors such
as drilling, mining, and harvesting are used to describe how
knowledge is being managed.
There is also another tradition that can be labelled the
community view or the constructivist approach. This tradition can

be traced back to Locke and Hume but is in its modern form rooted
in the critique of the established quantitative approach to science
that emerged primarily amongst social scientists during the 1960s,
and resulted in the publication of books by Garfinkel, Bourdieu,
Habermas, Berger and Luckmann, and Glaser and Strauss. These
authors argued that reality (and hence also knowledge) should be
understood as socially constructed. According to this tradition, it is
impossible to define knowledge universally; it can only be defined
in practice, in the activities of and interactions between individuals.
Thus, some understand knowledge to be universal and context
-independent while others conceive it as situated and based on
individual experiences. Maybe it is a little bit of both. A concerto
pianist has the knowledge i.e. the ability to play the piano,
something the Metropolitan opera audience is able to appreciate.
This pianist, given a suitable instrument, would be able to express
his or her knowledge equally well in some other location with a
completely new audience. Thus, knowing how to play resides
within the pianist and is, in this sense, context - independent.
However, should the same pianist be stranded in the middle of
the Amazon jungle and picked up by some unknown Indian tribe,
her knowledge cannot be manifested. Even if a piano would be
available, the Indians would not be able to recognise (and possibly
not even appreciate) a classic masterpiece. To make sense, the
piano-playing knowledge of the pianist requires the context of a
knowledgeable audience.
Thus, knowing how to play is meaningless in the wrong tradition
or environment. There are thus aspects of knowledge that are held
by the individual and others that are more socially constructed.
This inter-relationship between individual knowledge and tradition

is dealt with by Polanyi when he speaks of personal knowledge as

something not entirely subjective and yet not fully objective [26].
We shall return to this topic in section six, but first, let us deal with
some definitions.
3. Data, information, and knowledge
Not many would question the fact that information can be made
tangible and represented as objects outside of the human mind.
Knowledge, on the other hand, is a much more elusive entity. Add
data, and we have a both intricate and challenging situation of
intertwined and interrelated concepts. It has often been pointed out
that data, information, and knowledge are not the same, but despite
efforts to define them, many researchers use the terms very casually,
as is evident from Table 1. In particular, the terms knowledge and
information are often used interchangeably. Kogut and Zander, for
example, define information as knowledge which can be transmitted
without loss of integrity , thus implying that information is a form of

Author(s) Data



T ruths and
Facts organised beliefs,
to describe a
situation or
and concepts,
judgements and

Nonaka and

A flow of

Not yet
Spek and
Spijkervet - symbols

Data with

Davenport observations

Commitments and
created from these

The ability to asing


Data with
relevance and information from
human mind

A message
meant to
change the
Text that
Text that does answers the
and Debons not answer
questions to a who, when,
what, or
Davenport A set of
and Prusak descrete facts

Facts and
Choo et al. messages


Data vested
with meaning

values, insights,
and contextual

T ext that answers

the questions

why and how

Justified, true

Not only are the definitions of the three entities vague and
imprecise: the relationships between them, although non-trivial, are
not sufficiently dealt with. It is unwise trying to define these entities
in terms of each other since such definitions seem to further confuse
the picture. Figure 1 depicts a view that is commonly found, in
variants, in the literature; see e.g.. The problem with the
oversimplified figure is that it holds three tacitly understood
assumptions, which all can be questioned.


Figure 1. An oversimplified image of the relationship between data,
information, and knowledge.
Firstly, the image suggests that the relationship between data,
information, and knowledge is linear. The distance between data and
information is the same as the distance between information and
knowledge, implying that the effort required moving from one entity
to another is the same. Though it may not be possible to correctly
state the true relationship between these entities, there is nothing that
indicates that is should be linear.
Secondly, the image implies that the relationship is asymmetrical,
suggesting that data may be transformed into information, which may

be transformed into knowledge, but it does not seem to be possible to

go the other way. This assumption can be noticed also in Table 1,
where several commentators define information in terms of data and
knowledge in terms of information. Obviously, this is incorrect, since
we all on several occasions have used our knowledge to derive
information, and to create data out of information.
Thirdly, it connotes the appraisement that knowledge is more valuable
than information, which in turn is superior to data. This, too, has been
challenged. Tuomi [38] argues that data emerges as a result of adding
value to information, which in turn is knowledge that has been
structured and verbalised. According to his view, there is no raw
data, since every measurable or collectable piece of fact has already
been affected by the very knowledge process that made it measurable
and collectable in the first place. Knowledge, embedded in our minds,
is thus a prerequisite. We can instantiate some of this knowledge as
information, which is explicit and process able. By examining the
structure of this information, we may finally codify it into pure data.
Since only data can effectively be processed by computers, data is
from an IS/IT perspective the most valuable of the three, and the
value hierarchy in Figure 1 should thus be turned upside-down .

4. Adding an IS/IT perspective

When analysing the data/information/knowledge relationship
discussed above from an IS/IT perspective, it is obvious that
computers are very good at handling and processing data. The
transformation of data management into information management
also went rather smoothly since computers lend themselves well also
to information systems. However, when we now try to cross the
border and go into knowledge management things become more

complicated. Whereas most people agree that data and information

may exist outside humans, supporters of the community view of
knowledge would argue that knowledge can never be separated from
the knower and thus never stored digitally . Computer support for
knowledge management is thus, in a sense, impossible. Those who
subscribe to the commodity view of knowledge would claim that
knowledge can be explicated and turned into information, which can
be handled by computer. Since we already have information systems,
computer support for knowledge management would thus not be
necessary. However, Alavi and Leidner suggest that although
information systems and knowledge systems are not radically
different, there is a subtle but important difference in the attitude
towards and the purpose of the systems. Whereas an information
system processes information without engaging the users, a system
for KM must be geared towards helping the users to understand and
assign meaning to the information, thereby including the user
By taking an interest in the user perspective, we acknowledge that
though a document may be seen to carry its own information
representation, the user wraps this content in an interpretative
envelope, thereby giving the information a subjective meaning. It is
argued that this combination of content and interpretation is what the
user finds valuable . The value of any given piece of information does
thus reside in the relationship between the information and the users
knowledge. On its own, the information is useless. Consequently, the
same objective information may result in different subjective
meanings and values. An IS researcher with a user perspective would
thus not only examine the information itself but also the users
cognitive and psychological needs and preferences . This means that
design of KM -systems must be based on an understanding not only
of information architecture and structure, but also of the situation

where the user develops the information need, and analysis of the
usage of the same information once it has been obtained and
interpreted by the user.
Supporters of the community view of knowledge may thus
understand KM systems not as an IT artefact but as an environment
of people, organisational processes, business strategies, and IT, where
the objective is to leverage and advance the knowledge of those
people . Advocators of the commodity view may think of KM
systems as computer applications used by knowledgeable humans.
Hence, regardless of knowledge perspective, IT may successfully be
used to facilitate KM as long as the user perspective is included.
5. Different aspects of knowledge
The division of philosophy that investigates the origin and nature of
knowledge is called epistemology, and its objective is to establish the
foundations upon which human knowledge rests.
By examining and justifying different aspects of knowledge and
make explicit the relationships and interactions between them, we can
develop knowledge systems or schemata capable of answering to
questions about the outcome of such interactions . Following a
constructivist approach, there will be several such knowledge
schemata. Spender speaks in favour of a pluralist epistemology,
acknowledging that no single reference system is capable of
establishing the universal truth . Referring to Rescher, Spender
further argues that in a world of bounded rationality and imperfect
knowledge, where personal experiences is our principal source of
learning, dissensus is a natural state. Attempts to arrive at a view
shared by all humans are bound to fail. What we can do is to reflect
upon our own beliefs and state these so that others may appreciate
from where our different understandings stem. It also seems plausible

that different knowledge schemata are applicable in different

situations and it is therefore important to ask how a certain
perspective is useful in a specific situation. A pluralist epistemology is
thus inherently pragmatic and situated .
Tsoukas [37] acknowledges that the dichotomy between tacit and
explicit knowledge and the taxonomies derived from this duality by
several authors have advanced our understanding of organisational
knowledge by showing its multifaceted nature. However, such
typologies also limit our understanding by the inherent formalism that
accompanies them. Building on Pepper, Tsoukas observes that [t]he
conceptual categories along which the phenomena are classified must
be assumed to be discrete, separate, and stable. The problem is that
they hardly ever are [37: 14]. Latterly, the discourse within the
European Knowledge Management field seem to move away from the
tacit -explicit distinction, possibly because it is not perceived to add to
the debate anymore. The KM community seems to think that the topic
has been exhausted and that it is time to move on.
However, giving up the distinction between tacit and explicit
knowledge is maybe not the best option, especially so since mo st
analytic work on KM has been organisational theory informed
research and not IT related studies. The point made here is that some
things in organisations are tacitly expressed, but therefore not outside
the reach of IT support [34]. We should therefore look deeper into the
tacit side of knowledge.
6. Knowledge as a tacit background
The notion of tacit knowledge was introduced by Polanyi, a
philosopher made known to a larger audience by being quoted in the
writings of Kuhn in 1962 [20] and which since has had a renaissance
due to the writing of Nonaka [21] and Nonaka and Takeuchi [23]. As

Polanyi observed, we can know more than we can tell [27: 136].
Unfortunately, Nonaka uses Polanyis term somewhat differently from
what did Polanyi himself.
Due to the strong influence of Nonakas writings on the knowledge
management discourse, this misconception has been widely adopted.
While Polanyi speaks of tacit knowledge as a backdrop against which
all actions are understood, Nonaka uses the term to denote particular
knowledge that is difficult to express. There had perhaps been less of
confusion had Nonaka used the term implicit knowledge instead of
tacit knowledge.
Whilst referring to and building on the arguments of Polanyi,
different scholars come to contradictory conclusions. Cook and
Brown argue, in what they claim is in agreement with Polanyi, that
explicit and tacit are two knowledge is always tacit. The question,
then, is what the phrase explicit knowledge is supposed to mean.
7. Knowledge in action
When Schn elaborates on the relationship between the tacitly
implied and the reflected, he admits that we often cannot say what we
know . When we try, we end up with descriptions that are obviously
inappropriate, and there must always be such a gap between the
description and the reality to which it refers. A practitioners tacit
knowledge is always richer in information than any description of it,
and her knowledge is implicitly found in the patterns of his actions.
According to Schn, our knowledge is in our actions .
Although actions in themselves are rather ephemeral in character,
they often leave a tangible result, such as when building a house,
making a sculpture, or implementing a software system. There are

also actions that do not result in new artefacts but yet change the state
of things, such as driving a car from A to B, and actions that are
totally ephemeral, such as the playing of an instrument. Regardless of
which, actions are the only way through which knowledge can
manifest itself. This does not mean, however, that knowledge must
result in action in order to exist. The ability to take action is sufficient,
but as long as the knowledge remains inactive, it is of no
organisational value.
One action often seen in offices is the creation of information
artefacts such as text, for example in the form of documents, email, or
web pages. In a corporate setting, not only information creation but
also information seeking and information interpretation are actions
that describe the interaction between knowledge and information. By
monitoring these actions, the organisation can learn where certain
kinds of knowledge reside and thereby leveraging the tacit knowledge
of its members.
Individuals benefit both by being able to find knowledgeable
colleagues and by being themselves identified as knowledgeable .
As discussed above, texts are not understood equally by all.
Baumard comments that when the search for knowledge takes place
in the territorial waters of the organisation it becomes far more
contextual than a search for some absolute or universal truth. In
organisations, knowledge is generated by those beliefs to which the
members are most committed . Commitment and beliefs vary from
organisation to organisation, and even within the same tradition,
organisations have their own culture, their own vocabulary, and their
own (tacit) assumptions. As we have seen, this means that
organisational members in general can share knowledge more easily
among themselves than with people outside the organisation.

However, in large organisations where it is impossible to know every

fellow employee, people tend to gravitate towards those who are
similar in a professional sense.
Such groupings may occur on two levels. One level is the loosely
coupled network of employees sharing a practice but yet being
unknown to each other. These networks of practice may reach far but
have little reciprocity, since the members do not interact to any
significant degree . Within these networks of practice, there is also a
second level of tighter clusters, referred to as communities of practice.
In these latter subgroups, people typically know each other and work
together, at least occasionally. When reciprocity dominates reach, as it
does in communities of practice, an environment with enough
coherence to allow perspective making emerges , and by sharing war
stories, i.e. narratives that to an outsider might seem commonplace
and banal, these members exchange knowledge tacitly understood
only within the community.

Nurturing Creativity in Early learning and

This paper provides a more detailed review of the research literature
and uses the principles as lenses to highlight important messages
which inform contemporary thinking about how children learn and
The headings used to guide the discussion are:
Equality And Diversity
Active Learning And Meaning Making

Communication And Language

The Environment
The Whole Child In Context
Early Childhood Curriculum.
One of the oldest and most central theoretical debates within
psychology and philosophy concerns whether childrens learning and
development is as a result of their genetic inheritance (nature) or the
influence of the environment in which they find themselves
(nurture). What is clear is that both genetic and environmental
factors play vital roles in a childs life chances (French and Murphy,
Childrens experiences in their early years have a profound impact
on their later social, emotional and cognitive development (HomeStart International, 2002).

Socio-cultural learning and development:

Early childhood care and education has been challenged by a
theoretical sea change that has seen individualistic developmental
explanations for learning and development replaced by theories
that foreground the cultural and socially constructed nature of
learning (Anning, Cullen and Fleer, 2004, p. 1). Current thinking
atteststo the importance if not the domination of social and cultural
processes (Rogoff, 1990; Bruner, 1996). From this perspective, the
separate and distinct processes of learning and development (see

Glossary, pp. 4-5) are inextricably intertwined and are embedded

in the context of social relationships (Rogoff, 1990, p. 8).
Bronfenbrenners Ecological Systems Theory (1989) provides a
framework which situates individual development in the context in
which it occurs. Therefore, the child develops not in isolation but
through relationships within the family, neighbourhood, community,
and society. This socio-cultural understanding of learning and
development underpins this research paper.

How should we conceptualise the child?

Any exploration of how children learn and develop is informed by a
particular view of the child. The NCCAs consultative document,
Towards a Framework for Early Learning (NCCA, 2004) is premised
on the understanding of the child as rich in potential, strong,
powerful, competent and most of all connected to adults and to other
children (Malaguzzi, 1993a, p. 10).
Dahlberg, Moss and Pence (1999) enhanced this view of an
intelligent child, a co-constructor of knowledge; a researcher actively
seeking to make meaning of the world. This understanding of
children challenges Lockes child as one of knowledge and culture
This child was considered to be a tabula rasa or empty vessel needing
to be filled with knowledge, skills and dominant cultural values and
to be made ready to learn and for school (Krogh and Slentz, 2001). In
addition the innocence of Rousseaus child is challengedthe image
of the child enjoying a golden age of life, uncorrupted by the world
(Seefeldt, 1999).
Finally, the child as an essential being of universal properties and

inherent capabilities whose development is innate, biologically

determined and follows general laws is also challenged (Dahlberg et
al, 1999, p. 46). Reggio Emilia chose to move from this perspective
to understanding the child as an individual with rights (Philips, 2001).
These past understandings of the child as a learner create an image of
the needy child. Furthermore they negate the current conception of
the child as a young citizen (Dunne, 2005).

New understandings of children

New ways of conceptualising children arise from the
sociology of childhood (Connell, 1987; James and Prout, 1990;
Prout and James 1997). Childhood and all social objects (class,
gender, race, and ethnicity) are seen as being interpreted, debated,
and defined in processes in social action. Corsaro (1987) suggests
that, children and adults alike are seen as active participants in the
social construction of childhood and in the reproduction of their
shared culture.
Children are seen as having agency and power within their own
right, not just in relation to the social constructions assigned to
them by adults (Prout and James, 1997).
Traditional theories viewed children as consumers of the culture
established by adults. This new construction of childhood is oriented
towards the childs present rather than the future.
The image of the child-developing-in-context (Rogoff, 1990) provides
for a more dynamic conception of learning and development and
opens the lens through which we observe children. The childs
participation in multiple socio-cultural contexts of the family, the
community and society at large is recognised. In doing so, we can
choose to see the child as having surprising and extraordinary

strengths and capabilities (Malaguzzi, 1993b, p. 73). Gardners

(1993) theory of multiple intelligences (linguistic, musical, logicomathematical, bodilykinaesthetic, among others) celebrates the
variety of human capabilities and expression. Collectively, these
views give rise to the principles underpinning the consultative
document (NCCA, 2004) and ultimately the Framework for Early
Learning. Equality and diversity
All children are individuals, unique in their abilities, from a rich
diversity of backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. All children have the
right to be treated with respect, positive regard and dignity. Articles
29 and 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
Child (1989) state clearly that respect and recognition for the childs
own cultural identity, values and language (and that of others), should
be part of his/her education. This section explores the importance of
attending to diversity issues when working and learning with

Towards inclusive practice:

There is clear evidence that childrens positive concepts of ethnic
identity are related to self-esteem, reduced levels of depression and
optimism (Martinez and Dukes, 1997; Roberts, Phinney, Masses,
Chen, Roberts, and Romero, 1999). It is also known that biases can
develop very early in young children (Krogh and Slentz, 2001).
Through participating in everyday activities/routines and play,
children absorb messages from people and the environment regarding
their identity and social values. Bonel and Lindon (1993) noted that
practitioners should be aware of and respect areas of difference such
as gender, faith/no faith or family structure. These form part of a
childs home experience and individual identity. Difference in this
sense should be respected in every aspect of early childhood work. By
exploring our own and other cultural daily practices/routines,

we gain appreciation of our common humanity as well as providing

the optimal environment for childrens cognitive, emotional and
social growth (Lave and Wenger, 1992).
Murray and ODoherty (2001) strongly advocate the anti-bias
approach for diversity education, which is relevant for all children
in Ireland including ethnic minority children and dominant culture
children. This approach goes beyond cultural issues and also
addresses class, language, faith, gender, and disability (DermanSparks, 1989). All forms of bias are challenged, and children are
supported in developing empathy and thus recognising and resisting
bias or discrimination. The underlying intent of an anti-bias
approach to learning is to support children and adults in becoming
critical thinkers and becoming active in building a more caring, just
society for all. However, the anti-bias approach although important,
may not be sufficient.
Tobin (2006) suggests that to better serve children from newly
arrived international families there is a need to shift from an anti-bias
to a cultural negotiation paradigm. Cultural negotiation involves
listening deeply to and engaging with families and subsequently
modifying settings based on their requirements.

Active learning and meaning making:

Early childhood is a time of tremendous opportunity for active
exploration and for interpreting this experience(NCCA, 2004, p. 32).
Active learning mediated through first hand experiences engages the
baby, toddler and young child in following their personal interests and
goals, individually, in pairs, in groups, in families, and community
contexts in making sense of their world.

Child learning as an individual:

Piaget (cited in Wood, 1998) believed that all children pass through
a series of developmental stages before they construct the ability to
perceive, reason and understand in mature rational terms. Piaget and
Inhelder (1969) claimed that the essential nature of human beings
was their power to construct knowledge through adaptation to the
environment. Thus, through assimilation and accommodation the
child is in a continual process of cognitive self-correction. The goal
of this activity is a better sense of equilibrium. Equilibration is
fundamental to learning (Krogh and Slentz, 2001). Piagets key
contribution to child development is his teaching that learning is a
continual process of meaning making. It is not a linear input/output
process as favoured by behavioural theorists (Pavlov, Skinner).
Information is not simply absorbed into a memory bank but must be
worked on by the child in order for it to make sense in terms of the
learners existing frame of reference.

Child learning with others:

Dewey (I959, p. 27) also viewed learning as a continuing
reconstruction of experience. Thus the optimal education should be
both active and constructive. This kind of education has a social
direction through a joint activity within which people consciously
refer to each others use of materials, tools, ideas, capacities, and
applications (Dewey, 1966, p. 39). Dewey placed greater emphasis on
interaction, than did Piaget. His focus was on designing a curriculum
to reflect the circumstances children faced as members of a
community living in the modern world. Fostering democracy,
independence and real experiences in the classroom were major goals
for Dewey. True collaborative exploration takes place where all
participants influence the direction, timing, and outcome of the
investigation. In such a social setting, according to Rinaldi (1992, p.

5), doubt and amazement are welcome factors in a deductive method

similar to the one used by a detective ... where the probable and the
possible are assigned a place.
Vygotsky also stressed childrens active role in human development
(1978). Unlike Piaget, he believed that childrens development arises
from the childs attempts to deal with everyday problems.
Furthermore, in dealing with these problems, the child always
develops strategies collectivelythat is, in interaction with others.
According to Vygotsky (1978, p. 57), every function in the childs
development appears twice: first on the social level and later on the
individual level. A significant proportion of childrens everyday
activities take place in what Vygotsky (1978, p. 86) calls the zone of
proximal development. Modern day theorists (Rogoff, Bruner,
Bronfennbrenner, Egan, Lave and Wenger) further developed
Vygotskys views.
Wood et al, (1976) stressed the importance of the role of the adult
and capable peers and identified that the key challenge
for adults then becomes one of defining the limits of the zone,
matching or tuning the adult support, or scaffolding the learning to
a point beyond the childs current capabilities. Bronfenbrenners
work concurs, although he placed an even greater emphasis on the
relationship between adult and child:
Learning and development are facilitated by the participation of the
developing person in progressively more complex patterns of
reciprocal activity with someone with whom that person has
developed a strong and enduring emotional attachment and when
the balance of power gradually shifts in favour of the developing
person (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 60).

Brain research:
Research on brain development (although in its infancy) has
suggested that direct action - physical and intellectual engagement
with experiences - in addition to problem-solving and repetition,
ensures that the synapses or neural pathways become stronger
(Bruce, 2004). According to French and Murphy (2005), this is
particularly true of children aged from birth to three years as early
experience determines how the neural circuits in the brain are
connected (Bertenthal and Campos, 1987). Children who are played
with, spoken to, and allowed to explore stimulating surroundings are
more likely to develop improved neural connections which aid later
learning (Karr-Morse and Wiley, 1997). The stimulation babies,
toddlers and young children receive determines which synapses form
in the brain, that is, which pathways become hardwired.
Through repetition these brain connections become permanent.
Conversely, a connection that is not used at all or often enough is
unlikely to survive. Children who learn actively have positive
dispositions to learning. These children are interested in what they
are doing, experience enjoyment and, with repetition, experience the
probability of success. They develop competence and, as a result,
confidence and are intrinsically motivated to learn (Hohmann and
Weikart, 1995).
Cycle of active learning
The role of active learning in supporting childrens well-being
and early learning and development is illustrated in Figure 1:
the active learning cycle (Marshall 2005).

Figure 1: Active learning cycle

1.Play: simulation of
brain connections



Well-being: takes risks,

makes choices

5 Security: all is
. well
with the world

Pleasure: enjoyment

3.Repeat activity: learning

becomes hardwired

4. Mastery:
sense of

The adult has a responsibility to provide rich environments where

children are able to explore, touch, manipulate and experiment with
different materials (Smith, Cowie and Blades, 2005,) and where
children can ask questions, make hypothesis and form new
concepts. Children have to construct learning for themselves, with
the focus of learning on the reasoning processes rather than on the
end products. This requires time for children to engage in their

A childs well-being is an essential foundation for early learning,
and all subsequent learning. It is nurtured within the context of
warm and supportive relationships with others their emotional
well-being is directly related to the quality of early attachments

(NCCA, 2004, ). Mirroring Bronfenbrenners systems model (1979;

1989), this section examines the role of different relationships in
supporting the childs learning and development.

The individual child

All babies are born with universal aspects to their development such
as automatic reflexes or muscles that always develop from the head
down. There are also fundamental variations. All babies cry, but
some cry more than others. These differences can be ascribed to the
individual temperament of the child. Temperament has been defined
as the inbuilt predispositions that form the foundations of personality
(Bee and Boyd, 2004, ).

Thomas and Chess (1977) identified that from birth, babies have been
found to be different from each other in nine ways: activity level,
adaptability, approach/withdrawal to novelty, attention span,
distractibility, intensity of reaction, mood, regularity, and sensitivity
threshold. These traits are shaped, strengthened or counteracted by
the childs relationships and experiences.
Children with more challenging temperaments may find it more
difficult to deal with lifes stresses. Supportive, responsive adults in a
low stress, accepting environment reduce this potential difficulty
(Fish, Stifter and Belsky, 1991). In these environments, relationships
enhance and enrich learning and development supporting many
children to move through childhood with relative ease.

The building blocks of human relationships:

When children from birth are treated with warmth, respect and
interest from responsive adults they are confident to learn and develop

through sensorymotor exploration. Hohmann and Weikart (1995)

building on the work of Erikson, identified five building blocks of
human relationships. Thus, trust is a confident belief in oneself and in
others that allows a young child to explore the unknown knowing that
the people on whom s/he depends will provide needed support and
Autonomy is the capacity for independence, identity, exploration and
thinking that prompts a child to make such statements as; I wonder
what is around the corner and let me do it. Initiative is the capacity for
children to begin and then follow through on a task - to take stock of a
situation, make a decision and act on what they have come to
understand. Empathy is the capacity that allows children to
understand others feelings by relating them to feelings that they
themselves have had. Empathy helps children form relationships and
develop a sense of belonging.
Self-confidence is the capacity to believe in ones own ability to
accomplish tasks, communicate and contribute positively to society.
These five capacities provide the foundation for much of the
socialisation that occurs as children develop and blossom in an
environment that supports the growth of positive social relationships.
These capacities are fundamentally linked to the Framework for Early
Learnings themes of Well-being,
Identity and Belonging,
Exploring and Thinking
Socio-cultural theory
how intellectual capacity is intimately connected to social activity.
Trevarthen (1998,) argues that the motivation, medium and outcome
of learning is inter subjectivity which is a continual process of

meaning making; the construction and reconstruction of joint

purposes between a child as innate companion and co-participant.
Relationships are therefore vital for a sense of identity and of
separateness. Trevarthen (2001) describes human reciprocal
relationships as developing companionships

The child and family:

The crucial role of the family as the natural and primary educator of
the child (Article 42.1 of the Constitution [1937]) with rights and
duties to active participation in the childs education, is reflected in
legislation and policy in Ireland. This role necessitates the
development of strong working relationships between parents/family
and practitioners/childminders based on a shared sense of purpose and
mutual respect in order to create environments for children to support
their optimal learning and development.
The evidence strongly suggests that participation of parents in their
childs care and education improves childrens cognitive and social
development and motivation and leads to higher adult expectations
and increased parental confidence and aspirations (Schweinhart,
Montie, Xiang, Barnett, Belfield and Nores,
2004; Taggart, 2007). The National Early Years Networks (1997)
research in the US revealed that greater involvement by parents
in their childrens care and education leads to:
more sharing of information




parents spending more time in the setting

parents improving their knowledge of parenting and child
development generally

family values and beliefs being understood and taken account

of by the practitioner/childminder
a more emotionally secure environment for the child
parents being viewed as valuable resources bringing added
value to the setting
parents feeling more confident about engaging in dialogue
regarding their childrens later education.
Guided by the collective purpose of supporting the child, parents
and practitioners/childminders bring different but important and
complementary skills to caring for and educating children.
Supportive and trusting relationships between parents and
practitioners/childminders are therefore critical in supporting
childrens learning and development.

The child and practitioner/childminder relationships:

Adults development of supportive relationships with babies, toddlers
and young children is especially significant for childrens emotional
and social development. The importance of babies attachment to their
parents (mothers and fathers) has long been acknowledged (Bowlby,
1988). The part of the brain that deals with memories and coincides
with the childs growing awareness of and attachment to caregivers,
develops between the age of six and eight months. The experience
young babies have of forming relationships at this time influences all
future relationships (Perry, 1995; Karr-Morse and Wiley, 1997).
Attachments between children and adults are critical in assuring the
baby he/she will be taken care of, building in him/her a basic trust in

others and giving the baby the sense that s/he is worth caring for. As
articulated by Goldschmied and Jackson (1994, p. 37)
The young children with whom we work, and who do not yet have
language to express what they are experiencing, need to have these
special relationships too, and deeply need to have them in a very
immediate and concrete way. We can never remind ourselves too
often that a child, particularly a very young and almost totally
dependent one, is the only person in the nursery who cannot
understand why he is there. He can only explain it as abandonment,
and unless he is helped in a positive and affectionate way, this will
mean levels of anxiety greater than he can tolerate.
In general, babies depend on adults to meet their needs, and cope
with little discomfort or distress.
Toddlers rapidly acquire physical, social, reasoning, and language
skills, but these skills still need a lot of practice. Through the
development of positive relationships and problem-solving skills,
young children begin to understand how to respect the needs/rights
of others while meeting their own needs/rights (Gartrell and King,
2004). They also begin to see that there is not always a right side to
the argument, that the feelings of others are important and that it is
possible to solve conflicts in such a way that both parties can be
satisfied. Corsaro (1997) noted that developmental psychologists
have long stressed the importance of conflict and challenges for
creating new cognitive structures and skills. When adults facilitate
problem-solving children learn to collaborate, discuss details of
problems (number; space; time) and discover there are many possible
solutions to problems (Evans, 2002).

Collaborative and shared learning

The adult role and collaborative teamwork are fundamental to

developing positive relationships with children and their families
(Bruner, 1996). Hohmann and Weikart (1995, p. 43) declare a
supportive interpersonal climate is essential for learning. Both Dewey
(1966) and Vygotsky (1978) proposed that learning is a reciprocal and
collaborative process between adult and child. This involves active
listening and reflection,in order to create a pedagogy of listening
(Rinaldi, 2005) and a pedagogy of relationships (Malaguzzi, 1993b).
This approach sees the adult as a teacher-researcher, a resource and
guide to children; a catalyst to provoke, co-construct, and stimulate
childrens thinking and their collaboration with peers (Dewey, 1966).
Vygotskys concept of the zone of proximal development, Rogoffs
(1990) model of guided participation and Trevarthens (1998) inter
subjectivity have helped adults to realise that children learn as social
beings in daily interactions, with the support of others.
The Primary School Curriculum (Department of Education and
Science, 1999b) is premised on the principle that collaborative
learning provides many advantages such as children are stimulated by
hearing the ideas and opinions of others, and by having the
opportunity to react to them. Collaborative work exposes children to
the individual perceptions that others may have of a problem or a
situation (Introduction, 1999b, p. 17).
The Primary School Curriculum also emphasises the importance of
the teacher using information he/she gathers about the child, to ensure
that the learning opportunities and activities are effective in advancing
the childs learning.
Attention to the emotional state of babies and a capacity to slow
down and tune into young childrens ways of experiencing the world
demands key worker systems especially for babies (Anning and
Edwards, 1999, p. 64). This new understanding requires adults to take

a more active participatory role as opposed to a didactic role in

supporting childrens learning.

The child and community:

Socio-cultural theory has been influential in guiding the early
childhood profession towards a more community-spirited approach to
childrens learning and development (Cowie and Carr, 2004).
Socio-cultural theory supports a view of learning as work in progress.
Rogoff (2003, ) suggests that in socio-cultural research children are
observed within a dynamic and evolving cultural context. ... we see a
glimpse of a moving picture involving the history of the activities and
the transformations towards the future in which people and their
communities engage.

The child and society:

Bourdieu (1977) offers the concept of the habitus to portray how
members of society, through their continual and routine involvement
in their social worlds, acquire a set of predispositions (habits) to
behave and to perceive in a certain way. This set of predispositions is
infused in early socialisation and plays itself out through the tendency
of the child and all society members to maintain their sense of self
and place in the world (Bourdieu, 1993).
The mind emerges through joint mediated activity and coconstruction of learning and this activity is played out in society
(Cole, 1996; Rogoff, 1990). Douglas (2004, ) proposed that every
human being is part of a much larger, integrated system with a
multitude of feedback loops. Vygotskys focus was on the nature,
evolution and transmission of culture, which is learned by the child
mainly through language and is considered in the next section.

Drawing on his work, contemporary theory suggests that childrens

experiences of society can be the focus of the curriculum (Egan,

Communication and language:

Most children are naturally disposed to communicate. This enables
them to establish and maintain social relationships with others, to
express and share their thoughts and feelings, to represent and to
understand the world around them (NCCA, 2004, p. 29). As the
Primary School Curriculum (Department of Education and Science,
1999b) notes, language has a vital role to play in childrens
development. Much learning takes place through the interaction of
language and experience .

Language as a cultural tool:

Childrens development of both receptive and expressive language
impacts on other domains of development (MacWhinney and
Bornstein, 2003) particularly intellectual functioning and later
literacy. According to Wood (1998), Vygotsky emphasised activity in
learning but placed language and communication (and hence
instruction) at the heart of personal and intellectual development. A
key principle in Vygotskys view was the individuals internalisation
or appropriation of culture.
Especially important to this process is language, which both encodes
culture and is a tool for participating in culture. Vygotsky argued that
language and other sign systems (for example, writing, film, and so
on), like tool systems (for example, material objects like machines)
are created by societies over the course of history and change with
cultural development. Thus, argued Vygotsky, children, through their

acquisition and use of language, come to reproduce a culture that

contains the knowledge of generations.
Bruner (1990), like Piaget, emphasised the importance of
biological and evolutionary constraints on human development.
However, in keeping with Vygotsky he also stressed the way
culture forms and transforms the childs development. Social
interaction, language and instruction are central in forming the
mind. He used the language of information processing in
formulating his ideas grounded in a theory of culture and growth.
Through language, the child reflects on his or her actions,
integrates new experiences into an existing knowledge base, and
seeks the co-operation of others in his/her activities (Hohmann,
Banet and Weikart, 1979).

Learning and developing using communication and

In order to provide appropriate scaffolding for the child
in learning and developing, a shared context of meaning and
experience must be established. This is especially important in the
first years of life, and is particularly relevant to children who do not
speak Gaeilge or English as their first language or who have a
specific language delay. In the early years the childs ability to
communicate is not fully developed and the adult often needs to
interpret or expand on the childs utterances or gestures. Through
shared experiences, the child gradually makes sense of the world and
of adult meaning. The adult provides the bridge between the familiar
and known to the unfamiliar and yet to be known, and responsibility
is gradually transferred to the child (Smith, 1999, p. 96). This process
requires a close and nurturing relationship between adult and child.
Egan (1997) offers a summary of the human formation of language

and the kind of understanding of the world and experience that

stimulation and development of language capacities entail. Some
level of language development occurs naturally by children being
brought up in a language-using environment, but fuller development
of language and its associated intellectual capacities requires
deliberate teaching. Egan (1997, p. 68) has suggested that the most
important, dramatic, and vivid stories of our world and of human
experience can provide an appropriate curriculum for the earliest
years. The issue of language development is critically linked to
important educational questions of teaching (how much adult
direction versus child initiation) and the consequences of literacy for
participation in society (Wood, 1998). As advocated by the Primary
School Curriculum (Department of Education and Science, 1999b),
Wood (1998) suggests that, oracy (verbal expression by children)
should be an important part of the curriculum.

The environment:
Outdoor and indoor learning environments should be motivating and
inviting to all children, so that they are encouraged and helped to
explore and to use all the possibilities offered for fun, adventure,
challenge and creativity (NCCA, 2004, ). McMillan (cited in Smith et
al, 2005) believed in the importance of first hand experiences and
active learning. Convinced of the value of play she ensured there were
ample materials available to stimulate childrens imaginations. This
section provides a general overview of supportive physical

Characteristics of a supportive environment:

The physical environment, both indoors and outdoors, encourages
positive growth and development for children through
opportunities to explore and learn (Finch, 1996). Safe, clean,

spacious, bright, welcoming, warm, and accessible environments

for children and adults, including those with additional needs,
should afford opportunities to rest and play. Babies, toddlers and
young children need fresh air and outdoor play space is essential if
children are to have a balanced, healthy day. Learning is
constrained and may be
damaged if young children are required to sit still indoors, where
adults do most of the talking and require children to follow their
lead (Bruce, 2004). The environment should offer children
opportunities to: actively explore, make decisions and follow
through with their ideas; engage in co-operative, symbolic,
dramatic or pretend play; move, dance and increase control over
their bodies (Hohmann and Weikart, 1995).
Socio-cultural theory is concerned with childrens learning in
context. Children respond to the reality they see around them and
what they learn reflects that reality (Penn, 2005). Environments can
reflect the lives and activities of the children/families in the service
to establish positive identities. In addition, environments can have
resources to counteract stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes
(French, 2003).
The same principles apply whether organising indoor or outdoor
areas. In fact many of the activities babies, toddlers and young
children enjoy indoors can be achieved outdoors and with greater
freedom. If in group care, careful consideration of the organising of
rooms for different age groups is necessary. Babies and toddlers need
a room or home base where they can relate for part of the day with a
small group of children and adults, where they can feel secure and
build relationships. Older children need more space (French, 2003).

Creating the supportive environment:

Montessori (cited in Smith et al, 2005) advocated that the learning
environment should be carefully planned to meet childrens needs by
providing them with the optimum opportunities to work
independently, to make choices, decisions and solve problems, to
engage in real experiences, and to experience success. The
High/Scope Educational Research Foundation (2001) suggested the
space should be inviting for children and organised into well-defined
areas of interest to encourage distinctive types of play. Hohmann and
Weikart (1995, p. 113) noted that the interest areas are arranged to
promote visibility and easy movement between areas and are flexible
to accommodate childrens changing interests.
Steiner promoted a variety of easily accessible, open-ended, natural,
found, real life materials which can be used in creative and purposeful
ways and reflect childrens family lives (Curtis and OHagan, 2004).
Materials are stored so that children can find, use and return materials
they need. The most effective learning comes from simple but
versatile materials and environments which extend the childs
imagination and can be adapted by children to suit their learning
needs and level of understanding. Dowling (2000, p. 10) referred to
this as an informational environment which supports childrens ability
to make and learn from mistakes, discover the best way of doing
things and learn how to make decisions.

The NCCAs consultative document (2004) identified play as one of
the key contexts for childrens early learning and development. Play
and its role in learning and development have focussed the attention

of theorists from diverse perspectives and for a considerable period of

time. A consistent feature of contemporary early childhood curriculum
models such as those from New Zealand, Australia, the United States
(US), and Reggio Emilia, is that learning through play is channelled
through complex reciprocal and responsive relationships and is
situated in activities that are socially constructed and mediated
(Wood, 2004, p. 20).
These models (stemming from socio-cultural theory) share Froebels
view that play is too important to be left to chance (Curtis and
OHagan, 2003). Like Froebel, Montessori saw the value of selfinitiated activity under adult guidance. However, she placed
importance on learning about real life and therefore on constructive
play materials which supported sensory discrimination.

Supporting and enabling learning and development:

Wood (2004, ) advocated that through play children demonstrate
improved verbal communication, high levels of social and
interaction skills, creative use of play materials, imaginative and
divergent thinking skills and problem-solving capacities. Curtis and
OHagan (2003) stressed that if play is to be seen as a process that
will promote learning and development, it must be of high quality.
This quality is nurtured by adults providing a rich environment and
guiding children so they can develop their confidence as players and
learners. As outlined by Anning et al, (2004, ) the maxim that
children learn through play constitutes a pedagogical given in early
years settings that has been influenced by developmental, playbased curriculum philosophies. From this perspective, they reported,
the adult facilitates childrens development and manages the
learning environment, and less frequently acts as educator.

The whole child in context:

Young children learn from the range of experiences they have in
their everyday lives. They dont naturally compartmentalise this
learning. Childrens holistic approach involves them intricately
interweaving domains of social, emotional, personal, physical
(sensory and motor), cognitive, linguistic, creative, aesthetic, moral,
and spiritual development, and the whole system of learning
processes all of which influence each other in highly complex and
sophisticated ways (NCCA, 2004, p. 21).Bruce, (2004, p. XV)
reported how the basic processes of movement, play,
communication, self-esteem, and understanding of self and others,
as well as the symbolic layering's in development (leading to dances,
reading, writing, mathematical and musical notations, drawing and
model making) support childrens learning and development.
Erikson (1950) theorised that children from birth to approximately
five years negotiate three stages of social and emotional
development: trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame and
doubt, and initiative versus guilt (see also Appendix 1).
A human society is a group of people involved in persistent social
interaction, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical
or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and
dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by
patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who
share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be
described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent
members. In the social sciences, a larger society often
evinces stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Insofar as it is collaborative, a society can enable its members to

benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible on an individual
basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be
distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap.
A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their
own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is
sometimes referred to as a subculture, a term used extensively
within criminology.
More broadly, and especially within structuralism thought, a society
may be illustrated as an economic, social, industrial or cultural
infrastructure, made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of
individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships
people have with the material world and with other people, rather than
"other people" beyond the individual and their familiar social

Social forces:
Social forces and trends are continually changing. They are also
effecting schools curriculum and planning. Here are some of areas of
social forces:
1) Social goals
2) Conceptions of culture
3) the Tension between cultural uniformity and diversity
4) Social pressures
5) Social change
6) Future planning

When building a curriculum or instruction, these ten social forces

should be taken into consideration:
1) Increasing Ethnic and Cultural Diversity- an educator should
emphasize the salad bowl theory over the melting pot and
preserve and share cultural diversity, as the population of schools
continues to be more and more diverse.
2) The Environment- curriculum should address important
environmental issues such as pollution and overpopulation to raise
awareness and prevent further damage.
3) Changing Values and Morality- there has been an inconsistent
cycle of frugality versus overconsumption and elders transmitting
values to the next generations seems somewhat lost. Increasing drug
and alcohol abuse as well as a high divorce rate are evidence.
Students admitted to a much higher level of cheating on tests or
stealing from a store.
4) Family- Family dynamic is changing now more than ever:
single-parent families, grand-parents as guardians, same-sex parents,
and stepparent families are more common than ever. Families are not
as close as before, not closely tied to community, mothers are working
more, family can be spread over a large geographical area. The roles
of mothers, fathers, and families overall have changed.
5) Microelectronics Revolution- technology is more important now
than ever and ever-changing, with a vast array of available
educational aids. Computers, software, programs, and other
technologies have changed the way people learn- as well as the time
and place! Computer literacy should be included and students who are

not familiar with technologies available should be exposed in a

structured and nonthreatening way.
6) Changing World of Work- the boom in technology has greatly
changed the job market and will continue to do so, again reinforcing
the importance of technological education for all students. Teachers
should encourage and enable students to become self-directed lifelong learners.
7) Equal rights- women and minority groups have had success in
seeking equal rights and creating more equality. However, with
N.C.L.B. there is again more inequality because of the uniform
standards applied globally. Students with learning difficulties or
language barriers are getting left behind, and some students with no
handicaps are being placed in special education classes. Schools try to
promote social change and equal opportunity, but somehow end up
often furthering the existing problems.

8 ) Crime & Violence- there is much more school vandalism, more
violence including armed robberies, burglaries, aggravated assaults,
and rapes at schools. Violence and gangs create unsafe
neighborhoods, and the issues in school are ever-more complicated
with too many instances of school shootings.
9) Lack of Purpose & Meaning- changes in family dynamics,
rampant corruption and violence, poverty, fluctuation in economy,
rapid changes in technology increasing disparities, crime, the lack of
adult guidance, and injustice leave many students feeling a lack of
purpose or meaning. Resulting concerns include: depression, eating
disorders, violent and criminal behavior, alcohol and drug abuse,

academic failure or drop-out, suicide, and teenage pregnancies and

10) Global Interdependence- international relations are extremely
important and continue to be more and more so; educators must help
students understand others cultures and values, economics, and way
of life so they can participate in a global community.

Revolutionary change in Society:

Within the literature on curricular revision, three major premises
were identified. First, the society and culture served by an
educational community dictate the needs, obligations, and
responsibilities expected of the educational program. Second, society
perpetuates itself with educational programming, i.e. the content and
methodology of instruction referenced as educational
curriculum. Third, systemic change, as in the form of transitioning
educational curriculum, is often difficult at best and controversial at
These three elements combine to offer a strong foundation from
which educators can begin to address what is taught at all levels, the
needs of a respondent society, and the changing roles of classroom
As noted above, the society and culture served by an
educational community dictate the needs, obligations, and
responsibilities expected of the educational program. A traditionally
accepted view of educational curriculum states that it (curriculum) is
the information which should be taught with the underlying purpose
of standardizing the behaviors of the society by educating the
young in the traditions and rituals of that culture (Beyer & Liston,
l996; Borrowman, l989; Glatthorn, l987; Tanner & Tanner,
l995). Likewise, Glatthorn (l987) offered that beliefs and behaviors

of each ethnic group or geographical area were developed in order to

foster and teach children specific skills necessary for the transition
from childhood to adulthood, thereby sustaining or advancing the
convictions of that culture. In the same vein, but addressing the need
for change, Purpel (l972) proposed that the primary responsibility for
the childs learning was historically determined by the parent, but as
society became more complex, the needs for specialized training
grew, necessitating more formal training. It is obvious, therefore, that
the curriculum must meet the needs and current demands of the
culture, the society, and the expectations of the population being
served. To this end, the educational reform process is still undergoing
review, revision, and constant change.
Also noted above, society perpetuates itself with educational
programming, i.e. the content and methodology of instruction
referenced as educational curriculum. Borrowman (l989) stated that
education is the process by which individuals gain knowledge, skills,
values, habits, and attitudes.
Societal mores, cultural norms, and practical needs compel
the incorporation of various components of learning and
information. Hence, the educational curriculum is vitally important to
a societys success and may become extremely controversial when
conflicting views emerge.
Finally, as noted earlier, systemic change, as in the form of
transitioning educational curriculum, is often a challenge to all
concerned and in some cases, may even create a negative, divisive
environment. It is an accepted fact that without acceptance and buyin by all major constituencies, long-lasting systemic change cannot
occur. Cited by Beyer and Liston (l996), James B. MacDonald (l975)
suggested that . . . in many ways, all curriculum design and
development is political in nature. . . . Continuing in that line of
reasoning, Olson and Rothman (l993) offered that while the last

decade has been one of challenge and excitement for American

education, the fragmented and isolationist manner in which many of
the reform efforts have been implemented brought about no lasting
change. Substantiating this view that change was necessary despite
overt resistance, various authors (Henderson & Hawthorne, l995;
Jelinek, l978; Kallen, l996; Patterson, l997; Toch & Daniel, l996,
Wagner, l998) presented strong arguments that outdated strategies (the
implementation of curriculum) had to be discarded and ineffectual
methodology eliminated. Concurring with these views that change
was not only necessary but imminent, Scott (l994) declared that
curriculum revision projects of the past twenty years had in reality
been dismal failures with a high cost to taxpayers, students, and
educators.Monson and Monson (l993) presented the need for
collaborative, sanctioned revision by all stakeholders with an
emphasis on the performance of teacher leaders. It has been suggested
that the educational community must include those not usually
considered to be at the leading edge of school reform initiatives.
Hargreaves (l995) and Kyriakides (l997) both emphasized
the importance of creating coordinated efforts that supported a
modification of teachers roles in policy revision as it related to
curriculum review and revision. Despite the fact that the emergent
view of teachers roles are often in conflict with the traditional view
of teachers performance (Monson & Monson, l993; Hargreaves,
l995; Scott, l994), the leadership roles of teachers are becoming more
prevalent, more dominant, and more demanding. Questions facing
the educational community, therefore, revolve around what reforms
will be implemented, what process will be used, and how to make the
revisions effective and sustaining.
Accepting that changing an educational curriculum can be a
challenge, the involvement of all stakeholders, especially individuals
who are directly involved in student instruction, is an especially vital
piece in successful curriculum revision. The review of literature

substantiated the concern that until the parameters of curriculum

revision are defined and understood, the process will suffer from
confusion and failure for decades to come.
These determinants are directly related to the purposes of
education. The purposes can be cultural transmission, environmental
adaptation, and total personality development. Transmission leads to
adaptation and adaptation to personality fulfillment. Conversely, the
cause of adaptation is enhanced by personality fulfillment and it later
enhances the cause of transmission. However, the objective of total
personality fulfillment is debatable. The values that a culture live by
help in establishing a curriculum. Education's future course will be
decided by the decision that the culture renders on the current value
debate. Humanism for all versus humanism for some and the
cognitive man versus the mentally-healthy man are the two emotionarousing issues which are included in the debate.

"ICT" is the Information and Communication
Technologies. "ICT in Education" means "Teaching and
Learning with ICT".

The present curricula for ICT in Education aims at realising the goals
of the National Policy of ICT in Schools Education and the National
Curriculum Framework.

Given the dynamic nature of ICT, the curricula, emphasising the core
educational purposes, is generic in design and focuses on a broad
exposure to technologies, together aimed at enhancing creativity and
imagination of the learners.
For the teacher, it is an initiation into:

Exploring educational possibilities of technology,

Learning to make right choices of hardware, software and
ICT interactions, and
Growing to become a critical user of ICT.

For the student, it is an initiation into:

Creativity and problem solving,

An introduction to the world of information and
technologies, and

An opportunity to shape career pursuits.

Teachers who are already proficient in ICT can fast track through the
Based on availability of infrastructure and access, students can begin
as early as grade 6, in any case, completing the course before they
leave school.


1 Through ICT, images can easily be used in teaching and improving the retentive
memory of students.
2 Through ICT, teachers can easily explain complex instructions and ensure students'

3 Through ICT, teachers are able to create interactive classes and make the lessons more
enjoyable, which could improve student attendance and concentration.


1 Setting up the devices can be very troublesome.

2 Too expensive to afford
3 Hard for teachers to use with a lack of experience using ICT tools
ICT has become an integral and accepted part of everyday life
for many people. ICT is increasing in importance in peoples
lives and it is expected that this trend will continue, to the
extent that ICT literacy will become a functional requirement
for peoples work, social, and personal lives.
ICT includes the range of hardware and software devices and
programmes such as personal computers, assistive technology,
scanners, digital cameras, multimedia programmes, image
editing software, database and spreadsheet programmes. It
also includes the communications equipment through which
people seek and access information including the Internet,
email and video conferencing.

The use of ICT in appropriate contexts in education can add
value in teaching and learning, by enhancing the effectiveness

of learning, or by adding a dimension to learning that was not

previously available.
ICT may also be a significant motivational factor in students
learning, and can support students engagement with
collaborative learning.

Change in Value System:

Values and character education development usually occurs over a
number of years and within a number of environments. Since family
members are the first individuals with whom one comes into contact
the influence of the family continues to be extremely important to a
child's character and values development. This fact is particularly
appropriate in the preschools and early school years.
As students progress through public schools, it is important that their
education provide instructional opportunities, explicit and implicit
that help them develop their beliefs about what is right and good.
The following definitions are intended to guide schools in providing
the basis for the teaching of values and character education in the
public schools.
Values: hold in high esteem; regard highly
Values Concepts: ideas, beliefs or understandings one
has that guide and are reflected in one's behavior


Values Education: the process of providing

opportunities for the continuous development in all
students of the knowledge, skills and attitudes related
to certain values which lead to behavior exhibiting
those values
Character: attributes or features that make up and
distinguish the individual; the complex of mental and
ethical traits making a person, group or nation
Character Concepts: actions, attitudes and practice
that characterize a person. Acting honorably under all
circumstances, even when it is to the disadvantage of
the self
Character Education: the proem by which positive
personality traits are developed, encouraged and
reinforced through example, study (history and
biography of the great and good) and practice
(emulation of what has been observed and learned)
RESPECT FOR OTHERS Altruism: concern for and motivation
to act for the welfare of others
Civility and cheerfulness: courtesy and politeness in action
or speech
Compassion, kindness and generosity: concern for
suffering or distress of others and response to their feelings
and needs
Courtesy and cooperation: recognition of mutual
interdependence with others resulting in polite treatment
and respect for them

Integrity: confirmed virtue and uprightness of character, freedom

from hypocrisy
Honesty: truthfulness and sincerity
Truth: freedom from deceit or falseness; based on fact or
Trustworthiness: worthy of confidence
Fairness and good sportsmanship: freedom from
favouritism, self-interest or indulgence of one's likes and
dislikes; Patience: not being hasty or impetuous
RESPECT FOR SELF: Accountability: responsibility for one's
actions and their consequences
Commitment: being emotionally, physically or intellectually
bound to something
Perseverance and diligence: adherence to actions and their
Self control and virtue: exercising authority over one's
emotions and actions
Frugality: effective use of resources; thrift
Self-Esteem: pride and belief in oneself and in achievement of one's
Knowledge: learning, understanding, awareness
Moderation: avoidance of unreasonably extreme views or

Respect for physical, mental and fiscal health: awareness of

the importance of and conscious activity toward maintaining
fitness in these areas
Cleanliness: good habits of personal hygiene and grooming
Work Ethic: belief that work is good and that everyone who can,
should work
Punctuality: being on time for attendance and tasks

Accomplishment: appreciation for completing a task

Cooperation: working with others for mutual benefit

Dependability: reliability; trustworthiness

Diligence: attentiveness; persistence; perseverance

Pride: dignity; self-respect; doing one's best

Productivity: supporting one's self, contributing to society

Creativity: exhibiting an entrepreneurial spirit inventiveness;

originality; not bound by the norm

School pride: playing a contributing role in maintaining and

improving all aspects of a school's environment, programs and
activities within the context of contributing to the betterment
of the city, county and state.


Curriculum Localization:

As an answer to these questions posed, many nations in the
developing and developed world have decided to hand over a
portion of their national school curricula to local districts and local
communities, in order to tie local realities into the learning process.
This local curriculum commonly comprises approximately 20% of
the national school curriculum in many of the countries that have

begun such implementation. While the process of implementation

varies across nations, the basic premise holds: a significant percentage
of instructional design has been handed over to localized input from
national governments and national ministries of education in the
hopes of achieving the mentioned goals of localization. Local regions
and communities are tasked with identifying topics of local
importance and incorporating these into the school plan (Dhorsan and
Chachualo, 2008; 200).
As noted by Ruiz de Forsburg and Borges Mansson, The LC (local
curriculum) introduces content that is relevant at the local level to
meet local learning needs and develop life skills, attitudes, and
values (10), in addition to acquiring those life skills, attitudes, and
values that enable full participation in the political, social, and
cultural life of their communities...Tightly bound into the theme of
curriculum localization and its related increases in autonomy both at
the individual teacher level and at the broader school level, is the
issue of additional responsibility being transferred from the
traditionally centralized educational hierarchy to these local levels,
reversing situations in which there is ...usually little freedom for
schools or local education authorities to adapt this curriculum to local
conditions (Taylor, 2004; ).

Globalization and privatization:

Globalization and privatization are two of the most important and
interesting phenomena in current world economic and political
relations. While much research has been done on each topic and on its
impact on other aspects of the world economy, no one has examined
the interaction governing these two seemingly symbiotic subjects. To
our knowledge, ours is the first multinational empirical study of the
potential link between privatization and globalization.

The processes of globalization and privatization appear to be

reinforcing each other. But what do we really know about the
relations between these two processes? We seek to provide evidence
of a bi-directional causality between two reinforcing phenomena,
privatization and globalization. Thus, we investigate whether
privatization is a determinant of globalization, and whether
globalization enhanced and contributed to the sustainability of the
privatization process.
Three broad groups of indicators are investigated: economic
indicators, such as international trade; technological indicators, such
as research and development, and lastly privatization indicators, such
as the number of privatization transactions per year. The use of
international data from developed and developing economies allows
us to provide new evidence and to draw several novel insights and
policy implications.


Child development refers to the biological, psychological and
emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the
end of adolescence, as the individual progresses from dependency to
increasing autonomy. It is a continuous process with a predictable
sequence yet having a unique course for every child.
It does not progress at the same rate and each stage is affected by the
preceding types of development. Because these developmental
changes may be strongly influenced by genetic factors and events
during prenatal life, genetics and prenatal development are usually
included as part of the study of child development. Related terms
include developmental, referring to development throughout the

lifespan, and pediatrics, the branch of medicine relating to the care of

Developmental change may occur as a result of genetically-controlled
processes known as maturation,[1] or as a result of environmental
factors and learning, but most commonly involves an interaction
between the two. It may also occur as a result of human nature and
our ability to learn from our environment. There are various
definitions of periods in a child's development, since each period is a
continuum with individual differences regarding start and ending.
Some age-related development periods and examples of defined
intervals are:
Newborn (Ages 04 Weeks),
Infant (Ages 4 Weeks 1 Year),
Toddler (Ages 13 Years),
Preschooler(Ages 46 Years),
School-Aged Child (Ages 613 Years),
Adolescent (Ages 1319).
However, organizations like Zero to Three and the World Association
for Infant Mental Health use the term infant as a broad category,
including children from birth to age 3.
Promoting child development through parental training, among other
factors, promotes excellent rates of child development.

Parents play a large role in a child's life, socialization, and

development. Having multiple parents can add stability to the child's
life and therefore encourage healthy development.
Another influential factor in a child's development is the quality of
their care. Child care programs present a critical opportunity for the
promotion of child development.
The optimal development of children is considered vital to society
and so it is important to understand the social, cognitive, emotional,
and educational development of children. Increased research and
interest in this field has resulted in new theories and strategies, with
specific regard to practice that promotes development within the
school system. In addition there are also some theories that seek to
describe a sequence of states that compose child development.

Sequential skill development in learning to talk:

Child Age in

Language Skill


Vocal play: cry, coo, gurgle, grunt


Babble: undifferentiated sounds


Babble: canonical/reduplicated syllables




First words


Expressive jargon, into national sentences


10-word vocabulary


50-word vocabulary


Single-word stage and a few sentences, two-tothree-word combinations, Articles: a/the, Plural: -s


Irregular past: went, modal and verb: can/will, 28 to

436-word vocabulary, 93-265 utterances per hour


Regular past: -ed, Auxiliary be: -m, -s


Third-person singular: -s, 896 to 1 507-word

vocabulary, 1 500 to 1 700 words per hour

Theories of language development

Although the role of adult discourse is important in facilitating the
child's learning, there is considerable disagreement among theorists
about the extent to which children's early meanings and expressive
words arise. Findings about the initial mapping of new words, the
ability to decontextualize words, and refine meaning of words are

diverse. One hypothesis is known as the

syntactic bootstrapping hypothesis which refers to the child's ability to
infer meaning from cues, using grammatical information from the
structure of sentences. Another is the multi-route model in which it is
argued that context-bound words and referential words follow
different routes; the first being mapped onto event representations and
the latter onto mental representations. In this model, parental input
has a critical role but the children ultimately rely on cognitive
processing to establish subsequent use of words. However, naturalistic
research on language development has indicated that preschoolers'
vocabularies are strongly associated with the number of words
addressed to them by adults.
Individual differences:
Delays in language is the most frequent type of developmental delay.
According to demographics 1 out of 5 children will learn to talk or
use words later than other children their age. Speech/language delay is
three to four times more common in boys than in girls. Some children
will also display behavioral problems due to their frustration of not
being able to express what they want or need.
Simple speech delays are usually temporary. Most cases are solved on
their own or with a little extra attribution from the family. Its the
parents duty to encourage their baby to talk to them with gestures or
sounds and for them to spend a great amount of time playing with,
reading to, and communicating with their baby. In certain
circumstances, parents will have to seek professional help, such as
a speech therapist.
It is important to take into considerations that sometimes delays can
be a warning sign of more serious conditions that could

include auditory processing disorders, hearing loss,developmental

verbal dyspraxia, developmental delay in other areas, or even an
autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Environmental causes
There are many environmental causes that are linked to language
delays and they include situations such as, the child is having their
full attention on other skills, such as walking perfectly, rather than on
language. The child may have a twin or a sibling in which their age
are relatively close, and may not be receiving the parents full
attention. Another circumstance could be a child that is in a daycare
that provides few adults to be able to administer individual attention.
Perhaps the most obvious component would be a child that suffers
from psychosocial deprivation such as poverty, malnutrition, poor
housing, neglect, inadequate linguistic stimulation, or emotional
Neurological causes
Language delay can be caused by a substantial amount of underlying
disorders, such as intellectual disability. Intellectual disability takes
part for more than 50 percent of language delays. Language delay is
usually more rigorous than other developmental delays in
intellectually disabled children, and it is usually the first obvious
symptom of intellectual disability. Intellectual disability accounts to
global language delay, including delayed auditory comprehension and
use of gestures.
Subject Matter of Educator and of Learner.

So far as the nature of subject matter in principle is concerned,

there is nothing to add to what has been said . It consists of the facts
observed, recalled, read, and talked about, and the ideas suggested, in
course of a development of a situation having a purpose. This
statement needs to be rendered more specific by connecting it with the
materials of school instruction, the studies which make up the
curriculum. What is the significance of our definition in application to
reading, writing, mathematics, history, nature study, drawing, singing,
physics, chemistry, modern and foreign languages, and so on? Let us
recur to two of the points made earlier in our discussion. The
educator's part in the enterprise of education is to furnish the
environment which stimulates responses and directs the learner's
course. In last analysis, all that the educator can do is modify stimuli
so that response will as surely as is possible result in the formation of
desirable intellectual and emotional dispositions. Obviously studies or
the subject matter of the curriculum have intimately to do with this
business of supplying an environment.
The other point is the necessity of a social environment to give
meaning to habits formed. In what we have termed informal
education, subject matter is carried directly in the matrix of social
intercourse. It is what the persons with whom an individual associates
do and say. This fact gives a clew to the understanding of the subject
matter of formal or deliberate instruction.
A connecting link is found in the stories, traditions, songs, and
liturgies which accompany the doings and rites of a primitive social
group. They represent the stock of meanings which have been
precipitated out of previous experience, which are so prized by the
group as to be identified with their conception of their own collective
life. Not being obviously a part of the skill exhibited in the daily
occupations of eating, hunting, making war and peace, constructing

rugs, pottery, and baskets, etc., they are consciously impressed upon
the young; often, as in the initiation ceremonies, with intense
emotional fervor. Even more pains are consciously taken to perpetuate
the myths, legends, and sacred verbal formulae of the group than to
transmit the directly useful customs of the group just because they
cannot be picked up, as the latter can be in the ordinary processes of
As the social group grows more complex, involving a greater number
of acquired skills which are dependent, either in fact or in the belief of
the group, upon standard ideas deposited from past experience, the
content of social life gets more definitely formulated for purposes of
instruction. As we have previously noted, probably the chief motive
for consciously dwelling upon the group life, extracting the meanings
which are regarded as most important and systematizing them in a
coherent arrangement, is just the need of instructing the young so as
to perpetuate group life.

The invention of writing and of printing gives the operation an

immense impetus. Finally, the bonds which connect the subject matter
of school study with the habits and ideals of the social group are
disguised and covered up. The ties are so loosened that it often
appears as if there were none; as if subject matter existed simply as
knowledge on its own independent behoof, and as if study were the
mere act of mastering it for its own sake, irrespective of any social
values. Since it is highly important for practical reasons to counter-act
this tendency (See ante, p. 8) the chief purposes of our theoretical
discussion are to make clear the connection which is so readily lost
from sight, and to show in some detail the social content and function
of the chief constituents of the course of study.

The points need to be considered from the standpoint of instructor and

of student. To the former, the significance of a knowledge of subject
matter, going far beyond the present knowledge of pupils, is to supply
definite standards and to reveal to him the possibilities of the crude
activities of the immature. (i) The material of school studies translates
into concrete and detailed terms the meanings of current social life
which it is desirable to transmit. It puts clearly before the instructor
the essential ingredients of the culture to be perpetuated, in such an
organized form as to protect him from the haphazard efforts he would
be likely to indulge in if the meanings had not been standardized. (ii)
A knowledge of the ideas which have been achieved in the past as the
outcome of activity places the educator in a position to perceive the
meaning of the seeming impulsive and aimless reactions of the young,
and to provide the stimuli needed to direct them so that they will
amount to something. The more the educator knows of music the
more he can perceive the possibilities of the inchoate musical
impulses of a child.

The Development of Subject Matter in the Learner.

It is possible, without doing violence to the facts, to mark off three
fairly typical stages in the growth of subject matter in the experience
of the learner. In its first estate, knowledge exists as the content of
intelligent ability -- power to do. This kind of subject matter, or
known material, is expressed in familiarity or acquaintance with
things. Then this material gradually is surcharged and deepened
through communicated knowledge or information. Finally, it is
enlarged and worked over into rationally or logically organized
material -- that of the one who, relatively speaking, is expert in the

The knowledge which comes first to persons, and that remains most
deeply ingrained, is knowledge of how to do; how to walk, talk, read,
write, skate, ride a bicycle, manage a machine, calculate, drive a
horse, sell goods, manage people, and so on indefinitely. The popular
tendency to regard instinctive acts which are adapted to an end as a
sort of miraculous knowledge, while unjustifiable, is evidence of the
strong tendency to identify intelligent control of the means of action
with knowledge. When education, under the influence of a scholastic
conception of knowledge which ignores everything but scientifically
formulated facts and truths, fails to recognize that primary or initial
subject matter always exists as matter of an active doing, involving
the use of the body and the handling of material, the subject matter of
instruction is isolated from the needs and purposes of the learner, and
so becomes just a something to be memorized and reproduced upon
demand. Recognition of the natural course of development, on the
contrary, always sets out with situations which involve learning by

Arts and occupations form the initial stage of the curriculum,

corresponding as they do to knowing how to go about the
accomplishment of ends.
Popular terms denoting knowledge have always retained the
connection with ability in action lost by academic philosophies. Ken
and can are allied words. Attention means caring for a thing, in the
sense of both affection and of looking out for its welfare. Mind means
carrying out instructions in action -- as a child minds his mother -and taking care of something -- as a nurse minds the baby. To be
thoughtful, considerate, means to heed the claims of others.
Apprehension means dread of undesirable consequences, as well as
intellectual grasp. To have good sense or judgment is to know the
conduct a situation calls for; discernment is not making distinctions

for the sake of making them, an exercise reprobated as hair splitting,

but is insight into an affair with reference to acting.
Wisdom has never lost its association with the proper direction of life.
Only in education, never in the life of farmer, sailor, merchant,
physician, or laboratory experimenter, does knowledge mean
primarily a store of information aloof from doing. Having to do with
things in an intelligent way issues in acquaintance or familiarity. The
things we are best acquainted with are the things we put to frequent
use -- such things as chairs, tables, pen, paper, clothes, food, knives
and forks on the commonplace level, differentiating into more special
objects according to a person's occupations in life. Knowledge of
things in that intimate and emotional sense suggested by the word
acquaintance is a precipitate from our employing them with a
purpose. We have acted with or upon the thing so frequently that we
can anticipate how it will act and react -- such is the meaning of
familiar acquaintance.
We are ready for a familiar thing; it does not catch us napping, or play
unexpected tricks with us. This attitude carries with it a sense of
congeniality or friendliness, of ease and illumination; while the things
with which we are not accustomed to deal are strange, foreign, cold,
remote, "abstract."
But it is likely that elaborate statements regarding this primary stage
of knowledge will darken understanding. It includes practically all of
our knowledge which is not the result of deliberate technical study.
Modes of purposeful doing include dealings with persons as well as
things. Impulses of communication and habits of intercourse have to
be adapted to maintaining successful connections with others; a large
fund of social knowledge accrues. As a part of this
intercommunication one learns much from others. They tell of their

experiences and of the experiences which, in turn, have been told

them. In so far as one is interested or concerned in these
communications, their matter becomes a part of one's own experience.
Active connections with others are such an intimate and vital part of
our own concerns that it is impossible to draw sharp lines, such as
would enable us to say, "Here my experience ends; there yours
begins." In so far as we are partners in common undertakings, the
things which others communicate to us as the consequences of their
particular share in the enterprise blend at once into the experience
resulting from our own special doings. The ear is as much an organ of
experience as the eye or hand; the eye is available for reading reports
of what happens beyond its horizon. Things remote in space and time
affect the issue of our actions quite as much as things which we can
smell and handle. They really concern us, and, consequently, any
account of them which assists us in dealing with things at hand falls
within personal experience.
Information is the name usually given to this kind of subject matter.
The place of communication in personal doing supplies us with a
criterion for estimating the value of informational material in school.
Does it grow naturally out of some question with which the student is
concerned? Does it fit into his more direct acquaintance so as to
increase its efficacy and deepen its meaning? If it meets these two
requirements, it is educative. The amount heard or read is of no
importance--the more the better, provided the student has a need for it
and can apply it in some situation of his own.
Subject Matter as Social. Our next chapters will take up various
school activities and studies and discuss them as successive stages in
that evolution of knowledge which we have just been discussing. It
remains to say a few words upon subject matter as social, since our

prior remarks have been mainly concerned with its intellectual aspect.
A difference in breadth and depth exists even in vital knowledge; even
in the data and ideas which are relevant to real problems and which
are motivated by purposes. For there is a difference in the social scope
of purposes and the social importance of problems.
With the wide range of possible material to select from, it is
important that education (especially in all its phases short of the most
specialized) should use a criterion of social worth. All information
and systematized scientific subject matter have been worked out
under the conditions of social life and have been transmitted by social
means. But this does not prove that all is of equal value for the
purposes of forming the disposition and supplying the equipment of
members of present society. The scheme of a curriculum must take
account of the adaptation of studies to the needs of the existing
community life; it must select with the intention of improving the life
we live in common so that the future shall be better than the past.
Moreover, the curriculum must be planned with reference to placing
essentials first, and refinements second. The things which are socially
most fundamental, that is, which have to do with the experiences in
which the widest groups share, are the essentials. The things which
represent the needs of specialized groups and technical pursuits are
There is truth in the saying that education must first be human and
only after that professional. But those who utter the saying frequently
have in mind in the term human only a highly specialized class: the
class of learned men who preserve the classic traditions of the past.
They forget that material is humanized in the degree in which it
connects with the common interests of men as men.

Democratic society is peculiarly dependent for its maintenance upon

the use in forming a course of study of criteria which are broadly
human. Democracy cannot flourish where the chief influences in
selecting subject matter of instruction are utilitarian ends narrowly
conceived for the masses, and, for the higher education of the few, the
traditions of a specialized cultivated class. The notion that the
"essentials" of elementary education are the three R's mechanically
treated, is based upon ignorance of the essentials needed for
realization of democratic ideals.
Unconsciously it assumes that these ideals are unrealizable; it
assumes that in the future, as in the past, getting a livelihood, "making
a living," must signify for most men and women doing things which
are not significant, freely chosen, and ennobling to those who do
them; doing things which serve ends unrecognized by those engaged
in them, carried on under the direction of others for the sake of
pecuniary reward.

Curriculum design is about how a person envision what a curriculum
should be. There are several standard models of curriculum design.
One of the most prominent is the subject-centered design.

The subject-centered designer divides the curriculum into nice and

neat subjects such as math, science, history, literature, etc. This
structuring of the disciplines is for practical reasons. It organizes the
curriculum into basic concepts that are combined based on what they
have in common. The essential knowledge of each area is gathered
together to be taught to students.
Where the division of the curriculum stops depends on its purpose.
Any expert in education knows that subjects overlap and the division
is often arbitrary. In addition, every subject can be further divide into
smaller parts. For example, English can be broken down into writing,
reading, speech, grammar, and more.A major criticism of this design
is the lack of integration or horizontal articulation. The learning is
compartmentalized and the students often never see the connections
across subjects. In addition, the subject-centered design does not take
into account the needs and interest of the students. The textbook is
made by experts in the field who already know what knowledge and
even experiences a child requires.
Despite this, the subject design is by far the most popular approach. It
is easy to do and practical. Its appropriateness needs to be left to the
educator who is trying to help their students.

Learner-centered teaching is an approach to teaching that is
increasingly being encouraged in higher education. Learner-centered
teachers do not employ a single teaching method. This approach
emphasizes a variety of different types of methods that shifts the role
of the instructors from givers of information to facilitating student

Traditionally instructors focused on what they did, and not on what

the students are learning. This emphasis on what instructors do often
leads to students who are passive learners and who did not take
responsibility for their own learning. Educators call this traditional
method, instructor-centered teaching. In contrast, learner-centered
teaching occurs when instructors focus on student learning.
Interactive presentation introducing learner-centered teaching lct intro
general plenary Polk.
Learner-centered/ learning-centered teaching or student-centered

Educators commonly use three phrases with this approach. Learnercentered teaching places the emphasis on the person who is doing the
learning (Weimer, 2002). Learning-centered teaching focuses on the
process of learning. Both phrases appeal to faculty because these
phrases identify their critical role of teaching in the learning process.
The phrase student centered learning is also used, but some instructors
do not like it because it appears to have a consumer focus, seems to
encourage students to be more empowered, and appears to take the
teacher out of the critical role (Blumberg, 2004).

Learner-Centered teaching for general audiences
Intro to learner-centered teaching- teaching so your students
will learn more
A general introduction to learner-centered teaching
Becoming a learner-centered teacher

Overcoming myths or misconceptions about learner-centered

Why should instructors use learner-centered approaches in their
Strong, research evidence exists to support the implementation of
learner-centered approaches instead of instructor-centered approaches.
Knowledge of this research helps instructors defend their teaching
methods to their students and to more traditional faculty peers.
A task force of the American Psychological Association integrated
this research into fourteen Learner-Centered Psychological Principles
which can be summarized through the following five domains.
(Lambert & McCombs, 2000) (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)
1. The knowledge base. The conclusive result of decades of research
on knowledge base is that what a person already knows largely
determines what new information he attends to, how he organizes and
represents new information, and how he filters new experiences, and
even what he determines to be important or relevant. (Alexander &
Murphy, 2000)
2. Strategic processing and executive control. The ability to reflect
on and regulate ones thoughts and behaviors is an essential aspect of
learning. Successful students are actively involved in their own
learning, monitor their thinking, think about their learning, and
assume responsibility for their own learning .
3. Motivation and affect. The benefits of learner-centered education
include increased motivation for learning and greater satisfaction with
school; both of these outcomes lead to greater achievement (Johnson,
1991; Maxwell, 1998; Slavin, 1990).

Research shows that personal involvement, intrinsic motivation,

personal commitment, confidence in ones abilities to succeed, and a
perception of control over learning lead to more learning and higher
achievement in school. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)
4. Development and individual differences. Individuals progress
through various common stages of development, influenced by both
inherited and environmental factors.

Depending on the context or task, changes in how people think,

believe, or behave are dependent on a combination of ones inherited
abilities, stages of development, individual differences, capabilities,
experiences, and environmental conditions. (Alexander & Murphy,
5. Situation or context. Theories of learning that highlight the roles
of active engagement and social interaction in the students own
construction of knowledge (Bruner, 1966; Kafai & Resnick, 1996;
Piaget, 1963; Vygotsky, 1978) strongly support this learner-centered
paradigm. Learning is a social process.

Many environmental factors including how the instructor teaches, and

how actively engaged the student is in the learning process positively
or negatively influence how much and what students learn (Lambert
& McCombs, 2000). In comparison studies between students in
lecture and active learning courses, there are significantly more
learning gains in the active learning courses (Springer, Stanne, &
Donovan, 1999).


4. Advantages of Learner-centered teaching over Instructorcentered teaching

When the focus becomes student learning, colleges attain higher
rates of student retention and have better prepared graduates than
those students who were more traditionally trained (Matlin, 2002;
Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2002).
A Learner-centered teaching model. Weimer (2002) described five
learner-centered practice areas that need to change to achieve learnercentered teaching: the Function of Content, the Role of the Instructor,
the Responsibility for Learning, the Processes and Purposes of
Assessment, and the Balance of Power.
The functions of the content in learner-centered teaching include
building a strong knowledge foundation and to develop learning skills
and learner self-awareness.
The roles of the instructor should focus on student learning. The
roles are facilitative rather than didactic.
The responsibility for learning shifts from the instructor to the
students. The instructor creates learning environments that motivate
students to accept responsibility for learning.
The processes and purposes of assessment shift from only assigning
grades to include constructive feedback and to assist with
improvement. Learner-centered teaching uses assessment as a part of
the learning process.
The balance of power shifts so that the instructor shares some
decisions about the course with the students such that the instructor
and the students collaborate on course policies and procedures.
While Weimers model appeals to faculty, they find that is less
pragmatic in describing ways to implement change (Wright, 2006).
Since these five practices are broad abstract categories, they do not
identify specific learner-centered behaviors for many instructors. To
assist faculty, I defined each practice into specific components and
incremental steps between instructor-centered and learner-centered
teaching. Incremental steps allow instructors to make changes
gradually over time.

These incremental steps define a manageable transition process from

instructor-centered to learner-centered teaching.
Interactive presentations and workshops on one or more specific
aspects of leaner-centered teaching
Students takings responsibility for learning
How you assess your students will impact how and what they
Aligning courses in terms of their objectives, teaching learning
methods and assessments
Organizing content to be taught through organizing schemes
Implementing Learner-centered approaches in your teaching
4. Rubrics as a learner-centered tool.
I organized these incremental steps into rubrics. Rubrics
provide concrete, incremental steps between levels. (Rubrics are
commonly used to objectively and effectively grade student
assignments.) Instead of assessing student performance, these rubrics
are a tool to evaluate the status of a course on the continuum from
instructor-centered to learner-centered for Weimers five learnercentered practices. Instructors can see incremental steps, given on the
rubrics, in the transformation process toward learner-centered
teaching. This tool explains various ways to change an instructors
teaching. Specific courses may be at different points in their transition
to learner-centered teaching as indicated by different levels on the
components of the rubrics.
Discussions with faculty developers, instructional designers,
instructors, and administrators over four years led to the development
of specific components, and the levels on the rubrics. A total of over
250 faculty developers and instructors offered feedback and
validation. These individuals represent many different disciplines, and
they teach at all levels in higher education. This cycle of seeking
feedback and making changes to the components and the levels
validated the rubrics and gave me confidence that the specific
components and the levels on the rubrics transcend disciplines and
different types of courses.

The development of Community-Centered Learning (CCL), an
approach to using the classroom as a community, is described, with
the writer's experiences in using the model in three classes over a
A community is regarded as a group of people who share common
goals and traditions, who realize their interdependence, and who
strive to care for one another. In CCL the dimensions that structure the
organization and operation of the classroom community are roles,
rules, and rewards.
The roles described by R. von Oech are expanded to result in
classroom roles of conductor, explorer, artist, judge, and crusader.
Rules for CCL are built on dialogue, problem solving, and practice.
Rewards in CCL are those of the student's own recognition of
achievement and growth.
The application of the model in the writer's sophomore, junior, and
graduate classrooms is described; and the difficulties are explored.
One figure and five tables illustrate the model. (Contains 31
references.) (SLD)
Learner-Centered vs. Curriculum-Centered Teachers: Which Type Are

The difference between learner-centered and curriculum-centered

classrooms is philosophical. Philosophy drives behavior, so when it
comes to your teaching style, it is important to have a deep
understanding of your own belief system. Your view of learning,
students' roles, and teachers' roles determine the method by which you

Use this article to place yourself on the pedagogical continuum by
The types of activities you create
The layout of your classroom
The way students learn with you
How you prepare for class
How to make the most of your style
hat there will be no academic gaps in what is taught.

Learner-centered classrooms:
Learner-centered classrooms focus primarily on individual students'
learning. The teacher's role is to facilitate growth by utilizing the
interests and unique needs of students as a guide for meaningful
instruction. Student-centered classrooms are by no means
characterized by a free-for-all.
These classrooms are goal-based. Students' learning is judged by
whether they achieve predetermined, developmentally-oriented
In essence, everyone can earn an A by mastering the material.
Because people learn best when they hear, see, and manipulate

variables, the method by which learning occurs is oftentimes


Learn more about the structure of learner-centered classrooms.


Curriculum-centered classrooms:
Curriculum-centered classrooms focus essentially on teaching the
curriculum. The teacher determines what ought to be taught, when,
how, and in what time frame.
The curriculum that must be covered throughout the year takes
precedence. These classes often require strict discipline because
children's interests are considered only after content requirements are
In this framework students are compared with one another. Student
success is judged in comparison with how well others do. A fixed
standard of achievement is not necessarily in place. In these
classrooms grades resemble the familiar bell curve.

Comparison of the two different classrooms:

Many teachers fall somewhere in the middle of this continuum. They

are neither strictly learner-centered nor only curriculum-centered.
Teachers use what works for them based on their fundamental belief
A curriculum-centered teacher works mostly by himself or herself
when he or she is teaching or developing lessons. When teachers do
collaborate in team meetings, all involved agree to teach the same
lessons. These assignments usually result in a lot of correcting at the
end of the day.


In order to visualize the two different types of classrooms, think about

the structure of each:








Information-age model

Factory model


Norm (bell curve) based



Thematic integration

Single subjects

Process- and product-oriented


Block scheduling

Short time periods


Isolated teaching and learning

Experiential knowledge

Rote knowledge


How to work within the curriculum Framework:

If you are basically a curriculum-centered teacher, the system is
already set up for you no worries! If you are essentially a learnercentered teacher, you need to enlist support for your teaching style.
Effective ways of gaining credibility include the following:

Initiate collaboration with other educational professionals.

Locate and share research that documents successful learnercentered classrooms (see References below).
Invite fellow teachers to attend conferences and workshops
geared toward learner-centered topics.

Ask colleagues to discuss your philosophy of education (and

theirs) so that you both may gain a clearer understanding of
your principles. At that point, it becomes important to do what
you say you do and make no excuses. Some people talk about
running a child-centered classroom but actually have not
broken from the model they were exposed to as students.
Finally, it is imperative to gain the respect of your students'
parents at Back-to-School night, Open House, conferences,
and through regular newsletters.


Types of curriculum and Areas of
Types of curriculum with their definition (Leslie Owen
Wilson. )
Here are multiple definitions of curriculum, from Oliva (1997) (4)
Curriculum is:

That which is taught in schools

A set of subjects.


A program of studies.

A set of materials

A sequence of courses.

A set of performance objectives

A course of study

Is everything that goes on within the school, including extraclass activities, guidance, and interpersonal relationships.

Everything that is planned by school personnel.

A series of experiences undergone by learners in a school.

That which an individual learner experiences as a result of


What are the different kinds of curriculum?

Obviously the answer to this question is subject to interpretation.
Since curriculum reflects the models of instructional delivery chosen
and used, some might indicate that curriculum could be categorized
according to the common psychological classifications of the four
families of learning theories .

Psychological classifications of the four families of learning

theories .
Information Processing,

Longstreet and Shane have dubbed divisions in curricular

orientations as:

Common philosophical orientations of curriculum parallel those
beliefs espoused by different philosophical orientations

Reconstructivism and the like.
Whatever classification one gravitates to, the fact remains that at one
time or another curriculum in the United States has, at some level,
been impacted by all of the above. In essence, American curriculum is
hard to pin down because it is multi-layered and highly eclectic.
My personal definition (Wilson, 1990) of curriculum is:
Anything and everything that teaches a lesson, planned or otherwise.
Humans are born learning, thus the learned curriculum actually
encompasses a combination of all of the following the hidden, null,
written, political and societal etc..
Since students learn all the time through exposure and modeled
behaviors, this means that they learn important social and emotional
lessons from everyone who inhabits a school from the janitorial
staff, the secretary, the cafeteria workers, their peers, as well as from
the deportment, conduct and attitudes expressed and modeled by their
teachers. Many educators are unaware of the strong lessons imparted
to youth by these everyday contacts.


The following represent the many different types of curricula used

in schools today
Type of
1. Overt,
explicit, or

2. Societal
curriculum (or

Is simply that which is written as part of formal

instruction of schooling experiences. It may
refer to a curriculum document, texts, films, and
supportive teaching materials that are overtly
chosen to support the intentional instructional
agenda of a school. Thus, the overt curriculum
is usually confined to those written
understandings and directions formally
designated and reviewed by administrators,
curriculum directors and teachers, often
As defined by Cortes (1981). Cortes defines this
curriculum as:[the] massive, ongoing, informal
curriculum of family, peer groups, neighborhoods,
churches organizations, occupations, mas, media and
other socializing forces that educate all of us
throughout our lives.
This type of curricula can now be expanded to
include the powerful effects of social media
(YouTube; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest, etc) and how
it actively helps create new perspectives.

3. The hidden That which is implied by the very structure and

or covert
nature of schools, much of what revolves around
daily or established routines.

Longstreet and Shane (1993) offer a commonly

accepted definition for this term the hidden
curriculum, which refers to the kinds of learnings
children derive from the very nature and
organizational design of the public school, as well as
from the behaviors and attitudes of teachers and
Examples of the hidden curriculum might include the
messages and lessons derived from the mere
organization of schools
the emphasis on:
sequential room arrangements; the cellular, timed
segments of formal instruction; an annual schedule
that is still arranged to accommodate an agrarian age;
disciplined messages where concentration equates to
student behaviors were they are sitting up straight
and are continually quiet;
students getting in and standing in line silently;
students quietly raising their hands to be called on;
the endless competition for grades, and so on.
The hidden curriculum may include both positive or
negative messages, depending on the models
provided and the perspectives of the learner or the

In what I term floating quotes, popularized quotes

that have no direct, cited sources, David P. Gardner is
reported to have said: We learn simply by the
exposure of living. Much that passes for education is
not education at all but ritual. The fact is that we are
being educated when we know it least.
4. The null

That which we do not teach, thus giving students the

message that these elements are not important in their
educational experiences or in our society. Eisner
offers some major points as he concludes his
discussion of the null curriculum. The major point I
have been trying to make thus far is that schools
have consequences not only by virtue of what they do
teach, but also by virtue of what they neglect to
teach. What students cannot consider, what they
dont processes they are unable to use, have
consequences for the kinds of lives they lead. 103
Eisner (1985, 1994) first described and defined
aspects of this curriculum. He states: There is
something of a paradox involved in writing about a
curriculum that does not exist. Yet, if we are
concerned with the consequences of school programs
and the role of curriculum in shaping those
consequences, then it seems to me that we are well
advised to consider not only the explicit and implicit
curricula of schools but also what schools do not
teach. It is my thesis that what schools do not teach
may be as important as what they do teach. I argue
this position because ignorance is not simply a
neutral void;


it has important effects on the kinds of options one is

able to consider, the alternatives that one can
examine, and the perspectives from which one can
view a situation or problems.
From Eisners perspective the null curriculum is
simply that which is not taught in schools. Somehow,
somewhere, some people are empowered to make
conscious decisions as to what is to be included and
what is to be excluded from the overt (written)
curriculum. Since it is physically impossible to teach
everything in schools, many topics and subject areas
must be intentionally excluded from the written
curriculum. But Eisners position on the null
curriculum is that when certain subjects or topics
are left out of the overt curriculum, school personnel
are sending messages to students that certain content
and processes are not important enough to study.

5. Phantom

The messages prevalent in and through exposure

to any type of media. These components and
messages play a major part in the enculturation
of students into the predominant meta-culture, or
in acculturating students into narrower or
generational subcultures.


6. Concomitant What is taught, or emphasized at home, or those

experiences that are part of a familys experiences, or
related experiences sanctioned by the family. (This
type of curriculum may be received at church, in the
context of religious expression, lessons on values,
ethics or morals, molded behaviors, or social
experiences based on the familys preferences.)

7. Rhetorical

Elements from the rhetorical curriculum are

comprised from ideas offered by policymakers,
school officials, administrators, or politicians.
This curriculum may also come from those
professionals involved in concept formation and
content changes; or from those educational
initiatives resulting from decisions based on
national and state reports, public speeches, or
from texts critiquing outdated educational
practices. The rhetorical curriculum may also
come from the publicized works offering
updates in pedagogical knowledge.

8. Curriculum- The formal curriculum (written or overt) comprises

those things in textbooks, and content and concepts
in the district curriculum guides. However, those
formal elements are frequently not taught. The
curriculum-in-use is the actual curriculum that is

delivered and presented by each teacher.

9. Received

Those things that students actually take out of

classrooms; those concepts and content that are
truly learned and remembered.

10. The

Processes, content, knowledge combined with the

experiences and realities of the learner to create new
knowledge. While educators should be aware of this
curriculum, they have little control over the internal
curriculum since it is unique to each student.
Educators can explore this curricula by using
instructional assessments like exit slips, reflective
exercises, or debriefing discussions to see what
students really remember from a lesson. It is often
very enlightening and surprising to find out what has
meaning for learners and what does not.

11. The

Those lessons learned through searching the

Internet for information, or through using eforms of communication. (Wilson, 2004) This
type of curriculum may be either formal or
informal, and inherent lessons may be overt or
covert, good or bad, correct or incorrect
depending on ones views. Students who use the
Internet on a regular basis, both for recreational
purposes (as in blogs, wikis, chatrooms,
listserves, through instant messenger, on-line
conversations, or through personal e-mails and
sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube) and for

personal online research and information

gathering are bombarded with all types of media
and messages.

Much of this information may be factually

correct, informative, or even entertaining or
But there is also a great deal of other einformation that may be very incorrect, dated,
pass, biased, perverse, or even manipulative.
The implications of the electronic curriculum for
educational practices are that part of the overt
curriculum needs to include lessons on how to
be wise consumers of information, how to
critically appraise the accuracy and
correctness of e-information, as well as how to
determine the reliability of electronic sources.
Also, students need to learn how to be artfully
discerning about the usefulness and
appropriateness of certain types of information.
Like other forms of social interaction, students
need to know that there are inherent lessons to
be learned about appropriate and acceptable
netiquette and online behaviours, to include
the differences between fair and legal
usage, vs. plagiarism and information


Curriculum areas:
The eight curriculum areas are:
Expressive arts
Health and wellbeing
Religious and moral education
Social studies

Expressive arts

The inspiration and power of the arts play a vital role in enabling our
children and young people to enhance their creative talent and
develop their artistic skills.


Knowing other languages and understanding other cultures is a 21st

century skill set for students as they prepare to live and work in a
global society.
Religious and moral education

Support for the religious and moral education experiences and

outcomes and National Qualifications.
Social studies

Through social studies, children and young people develop their

understanding of the world by learning about other people,
societies, their beliefs and values.
Health and wellbeing

Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young

people develop the knowledge, understanding and skills which they
need now and in the future.

Mathematics equips us with the skills we need to interpret and

analyze information, simplify and solve problems, assess risk and
make informed decisions.

Science and its practical application in healthcare and industry is

central to our economic future, for our health and wellbeing as
individuals and as a society.

Technologies form a central part of Scotland's heritage, identity and

future. Their importance cannot be overstated whether as an economic
necessity, a social influence or a vital educational experience.
Curriculum areas and subjects

The curriculum areas are the organizers for ensuring that learning
takes place across a broad range of contexts, and offer a way of
grouping experiences and outcomes under recognizable headings.

The experiences and outcomes describe the expectations for learning.

Taken together, experiences and outcomes across the curriculum areas
sum up national aspirations for every young person: the knowledge
and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes we hope they will
'Building the Curriculum:' focuses on the curriculum areas, each of
which makes its own unique contribution to developing the four
capacities. Each does so both within its own disciplinary contexts and
through connections with other areas of learning.
Curriculum areas are not structures for timetabling: establishments
and partnerships have the freedom to think imaginatively about how
the experiences and outcomes might be organized and planned for in
creative ways which encourage deep, sustained learning and which
meet the needs of their children and young people.
Subjects are an essential feature of the curriculum, particularly in
secondary school. They provide an important and familiar structure
for knowledge, offering a context for specialists to inspire, stretch and
Throughout a young person's learning there will be increasing
specialization and greater depth, which will lead to subjects
increasingly being the principal means of structuring learning and
delivering outcomes.

Experiences and outcomes:

The experiences and outcomes describe the expectations for learning
and progression in all areas of the curriculum.

The title 'experiences and outcomes' recognizes the importance of the

quality and nature of the learning experience in developing attributes
and capabilities and in achieving active engagement, motivation and
depth of learning. An outcome represents what is to be achieved.

They describe learning which has a clear purpose at levels from early
to fourth in the acquiring of knowledge and the establishment of
understanding. They also support the development of skills and
Important themes such as enterprise, citizenship, sustainable
development, international education and creativity need to be
developed in a range of contexts. Learning relating to these themes is
therefore built in to the experiences and outcomes across the
curriculum areas. This approach reduces the need for other layers of
planning across the curriculum.

Principles for curriculum design:

The curriculum should be designed on the basis of the following

Challenge and enjoyment




Personalisation and choice



The principles must be taken into account for all children and young
They apply to the curriculum both at an organizational level and in the
classroom and in any setting where children and young people are
The principles will assist teachers and schools in their practice and as
a basis for continuing review, evaluation and improvement. They
apply to the curriculum at national, education authority, school and
individual levels and must be taken into account for all children and
young people
Although all should apply at any one stage, the principles will have
different emphases as a child or young person learns and develops.

Challenge and enjoyment:

Children and young people should find their learning challenging,
engaging and motivating. The curriculum should encourage high
aspirations and ambitions for all.
At all stages, learners of all aptitudes and abilities should experience
an appropriate level of challenge, to enable each individual to achieve
his or her potential.

They should be active in their learning and have opportunities to

develop and demonstrate their creativity. There should be support to
enable children and young people to sustain their effort.

All children and young people should have opportunities for a broad,
suitably weighted range of experiences.
The curriculum should be organized so that they will learn and
develop through a variety of contexts within both the classroom and
other aspects of school life.

Children and young people should experience continuous progression
in their learning from 3 to 18 within a single curriculum framework.
Each stage should build upon earlier knowledge and achievements.
Children should be able to progress at a rate which meets their needs
and aptitudes, and keep options open so that routes are not closed off
too early.
Progression in the experiences and outcomes

There should be opportunities for children to develop their full
capacity for different types of thinking and learning. As they progress,
they should develop and apply increasing intellectual rigor, drawing
different strands of learning together, and exploring and achieving
more advanced levels of understanding.

Personalisation and choice

The curriculum should respond to individual needs and support
particular aptitudes and talents. It should give each child and young
person increasing opportunities for exercising responsible personal
choice as they move through their school career.
Once they have achieved suitable levels of attainment across a wide
range of areas of learning, the choice should become as open as
possible. There should be safeguards to ensure that choices are
soundly based and lead to successful outcomes.
Taken as a whole, children and young people's learning activities
should combine to form a coherent experience. There should be clear
links between the different aspects of children and young people's
learning, including opportunities for extended activities which draw
different strands of learning together.
Children and young people should understand the purposes of their
activities. They should see the value of what they are learning and its
relevance to their lives, present and future.

The Humanistic Curriculum:

Humanistic education (also called person-centered education) is an
approach to education based on the work of humanistic psychologists,
most notably Maslow and Carl Rogers.

Carl Rogers has been called the "Father of Humanistic Psychology"

and devoted much of his efforts toward applying the results of his
psychological research to person-centered teaching where empathy,
caring about students, and genuineness on the part of the learning
facilitator were found to be the key traits of the most effective
He edited a series of books dealing with humanistic education in his
"Studies of the Person Series," which included his book, Freedom to
Learn and Learning to Feel - Feeling to Learn.

Humanistic Education for the Whole Man, by Harold C. Lyon, Jr, In
the 1970s the term "humanistic education" became less popular after
conservative groups equated it with "Secular Humanism" and attacked
the writings of Harold Lyon as being anti-Christian. That began a
successful effort by Aspy, Lyon, Rogers, and others to re-label it
"person-centered teaching", replacing the term "humanistic
education." In a more general sense the term includes the work of
other humanistic pedagogues, such as Rudolf Steiner, and Maria
All of these approaches seek to engage the "whole person "the
intellect, feeling life social capacities, and artistic and practical skills
are all important focuses for growth and development. Important
objectives include developing children's self-esteem, their ability to
set and achieve appropriate goals, and their development toward
full autonomy

Cognitive-children learn from responses to problems:
Affective-children handle challenges on an emotional level and see
failure as a learning experience
Social- provides training with cooperative and competitive groups as
well as assertiveness and role training
Moral-conflicts in the class and community create learning
Ego Development-self-respect and self-confidence develop without
regard to ability or maturity II. Evan Keislars Curriculum Model for
Self-Development The Four Humanistic Responses to
Depersonalization of the Curriculum to Focus on Basic Skills I. SelfDirected Learning:

Achievement Motivation-hope of success motivates the learner if the

task is of appropriate difficulty; fear of failure inhibits the learner if
the task is either too difficult or easy.
Attributive Theory-learners see themselves as the reason for their
Childrens Interests-self selected study of high interest topic results in
focused effort Humanistic Curriculum The humanistic Curriculum
supports the American ideal of individualism, helping students
discover who they are, not just shaping them into a form that has been
designated in advance.

John D. McNeil Self-actualization:

Self discovery
Problem-solving skills
Relevant learning What is humanism all about? Characteristics of
the Humanistic Curriculum Purpose

Provide the learner with rewarding experiences that

contribute to:
Personal growth
Autonomy Role of the Teacher
Listen fully to students views
Respect each student
Exhibit no false pretence or appearance Humanistic Curriculum took
two Forms Confluence Curriculum Consciousness Curriculum
Combines affective domain and cognitive domain-Starts with content
and then emotional aspect is added to personal connection to what is
Students acquire skills and discover self Shapiros elements of a
confluent curriculum:
Participation-all participants are equal
Integration-thinking, feeling and action
Relevance-meaningful emotionally and intellectually
Self-the center of the learning
Goal-social purpose to develop a self-actualized individual within the
larger society Mysticism

Goes beyond affective and cognitive domains to intuitive receptive

(guided fantasy and mediation).
Transcendence beyond thought to arrive at the source of the thought.
Has religious implications
Puts emotional and intellectual needs of the student above that of the
institution Transpersonal Techniques
Deep hypnosis
Dream analysis Ready to go deeper? III. Finding the Personal in the
Academic-Recognizing the limits of academic knowledge and the
relevance of other forms of knowledge and internalizing or finding
personal meaning of academic knowledge.
Philosophical roots of the humanistic approach pre-date Socrates
and can be seen throughout history. The Greeks envisioned education
as a way to develop a well-balanced and harmonious person. This
vision developed into what is commonly referred to as the
humanities or the humanistic approach. Abraham Maslow is a key
figure in the development of third force psychology.
For Maslow, the peak experiences of awe, mystery, and wonder are
both the end and the beginning of learning.
Cognitive and personal growth should take place simultaneously.
-Exhorts students to develop complexity in their consciousness, and to
acquire multiple interests and abilities.

-Complexity is made up of two closely linked processes:

differentiation and integration. Differentiation: when individuals feel
free to pursue individual goals and to become as different as they can
be from each other.
Integration: when individuals become aware of the goals of others and
help them to realize their goals. Other contributing ideas to the
humanistic curriculum Criticisms of the Humanistic Curriculum Carl
Rogers, a third force psychologist, offered a framework for the
humanistic curriculum.
Believed everyone has a natural ability to learn and wants to continue
learning as long as the experience is positive.
Emphasized learning how to learn. Carl Rogers -Important to listen to
an individual's perception rather than assume the cause for anothers
-Humanistic models center on motivation and emotions, including
strategies for boosting self-confidence or self-efficacy.
1) Humanists fail to appropriately assess their methods and techniques
in terms of consequences for learners.
2) Humanists are not concerned enough about the experience of the
individual (many humanist programs enforce strict conformity
3) Humanists give undue attention to the individual. Critics would
like humanists to be more responsible to the needs of society as a
whole. Fascinating video of Carl Rogers discussing one of his most
famous interviews in "Gloria."

Social reconstructionism as an approach to teaching also places a
focus on the use of the products and applications derived from the
most current advances in technology. The intent is to prepare
students to use these tools effectively in their everyday lives and
careers in a modern and technology-based society. Communitybased learning and students' personal experiences are integrated
into the classroom environment as a means of developing a
practical understanding of everyday societal functions and issues.
Curriculum is much more than the mere passing of information or
standardized content from the teacher to the student.
It is the teachers role to prepare students not only by sharing
valuable knowledge, but by guiding them to be healthy, active
citizens in their communities. Acknowledging this encompassing
and inclusive function of educators, it is important to adopt a
curriculum that shares those intentions. Embedding a social
reconstruction approach to teaching within a social studies
curriculum is a good place for teachers to start when addressing the
need for an education system that emphasizes the education of the
whole child.
In the 1920s, George Counts began to closely examine curriculum,
with specific note taken on the social disparities apparent within it.
Not only was the curriculum not imitative of the real world and the
problems the students would face upon completion of school, but it
actually worked to continue those very problems. This realization
caused Counts to advocate for a curriculum that taught students to
take part in social reform. He believed that although the world in
its current condition was in essence doomed, there was hope for

improvement. A strong curriculum with a focus on social reform

was the answer. Because of the social and economic state of the
country during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Counts ideas
began to gain support, though they were never adopted completely
in very many schools (Kleibard, 2004).
Social reconstructionists believe the purpose of school is to help
students become active citizens in a democratic society.
Essentially, they see current society as flawed and in need of
intervention. Those that agree with this particular curriculum
theory feel it is the job of educators to empower students to
understand that deficient society and then reconstruct it to improve
it. Schiro (2008) explains this by stating that schools have the
power to educate people to analyze and understand social
problems, envision a world in which those problems do not exist,
and act so as to bring that vision into existence". Ultimately, the
objective of social reconstruction is to continually move toward a
more Utopian form of society. Dewey (1916) asserts that schools
should work to shape the experiences of the young so that instead
of reproducing current habits, better habits shall be formed, and
thus the future adult society be an improvement on their own . In
this manner, curriculum should be more humanist in nature.
Educators should shape their curriculum in such a way that its
objectives are consistently striving for social reform.
Social reconstruction is an important theory to analyze and
consider for our modern curriculum and educational system. Our
society faces crises and issues of colossal impact to the people of
the world every day.
Discrimination and oppression are not new issues, but they are far
from outdated. Racism, sexism, and marginalization of many
different people goes on in almost every sector of society. In fact,
Tatum (1997) discusses how some people will claim that racism is

a thing of the past, but in reality if you are paying attention, the
legacy of racism is not hard to see, and we are all affected by it
Using racism as a specific example, although there are many
illustrations of injustice throughout modern-day society, it will not
simply disappear if we do not address it as a legitimate problem.
To make a positive impact on key issues such as race, Gary
Howard (2006), author of the book We Cant Teach What We
Dont Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools, tells us that a
more active stance on discrimination is required.

He instructs teachers to actively seek cross-cultural and crossracial interactions... [and to] engage their students in a continuous
process of exploring multiple perspectives (Howard, 2006, p.
111). A social reconstruction curriculum does just that in making
the learning of prejudice and discrimination an active process
where students can learn that they are capable of considerably
impacting inequity and oppression and make life better for
themselves and others.
The social reconstruction curriculum theory is especially relative to
social studies education. The study of social concerns and reform
lends itself to social studies curriculum. Our current social studies
programs in schools are for the most part entirely ineffective.
According to the most recent social studies results of the National
Assessment of Educational Progress from the National Center of
Education Statistics (2010), United States students on average
performed extremely low, in the basic category, in all subjects
including history, civics, and economics.

It is arguable that this low level of performance in the area of

social studies could be attributed to a lack of solid connection
between curriculum and students lives. Diane Ravitch (2005)
states in an open letter to Jon Wiener, Students... need to be
protected from plodding textbooks that give off a phony aura of
encyclopaedic truth and that turn history into a deadly boring
subject in which all the facts are already known. A reform of
social studies curriculum is imperative. Using a social
reconstruction approach to social studies, students will be able to
make connections between subjects like history to current social
issues, identify multiple perspectives, and internalize social studies
content more effectively.
In addition to all of this, students will also be growing as
responsible, aware citizens prepared to apply what they have
learned in class to current social issues that are facing their
communities and world.
There are many things to consider when setting up a social studies
curriculum based on the theory of social reconstruction. For many
educators, especially those incorporating a traditional approach to
social studies curriculum, this change would completely alter the
format and content of their social studies classroom. It transforms
the learning in the classroom from a passive consumption of
information from the teacher to an active and meaningful learning
environment. Bode (1933) echoes this belief with the following
This reconstruction of experience, if it is to have any significance,
must take the form of actual living and doing. Consequently the
school must be transformed into a place where pupils go, not
primarily to acquire knowledge, but to carry on a way of life. That
is, the school is to be regarded as, first of all, an ideal community
in which pupils get practice in cooperation, in self-government,
and in the application of intelligence to difficulties or problems as

they may arise. In such a community there is no antecedent

compartmentalization of values.
At the heart of social reconstruction is active participation. A
classroom truly modelled after this theory would allow students to
construct their own knowledge and apply that information to real
world situations and meaningful contexts.
Creating a social reconstruction curriculum for social studies does
not at all mean that important content knowledge cannot be
On the contrary, David Flinders (2004) expresses that this type of
curriculum could help students understand core content better
because of the connections they could make to their lives outside
of school. He explains that a highly academic curriculum can be
enacted in ways that avoid some of the disadvantages typically
assumed by those who argue that an academic curriculum is elitist
as well as irrelevant to much of a students lived experience
(Flinders, 2004, p. 293).
Topics that could be integrated into a social studies curriculum
include, but are not limited to, poverty and hunger, racism, sexism,
other forms of domination and oppression, power and human
suffering, violence, economics, politics, terrorism, and war. Karen
Zuga (1992) describes the teachers roles as being more
concerned about the social problem and creating a community with
students and society and is less concerned about covering the
content (p. 54). A study of history and content related to these
topics could easily be covered and used as evidence or support
while the social themes remained at the core of the lessons.
Flinders (2004) expressed the concern that school comes to be
recognized as an end in and of itself (p. 294). Our education

system is for the most part based on answers. Our systems of

accountability which is mainly standardized testing emphasizes
students being able to recall information. As a country, we value
the answer. This type of traditional approach to education is not
appropriate for social reconstruction classrooms. When we expect
students to provide a singular answer, then we are conveying that
there is one right answer to each social problem our country faces.
This does not align with the foundation of social reconstruction
that relies on students discussing issues and identifying multiple
A more appropriate and progressive approach to this type of
classroom would be a process-based emphasis. Instead of the
answer being the most valuable part of an activity or lesson, the
thinking and collaboration process would be revered above all else.
For example, a class may not be able to come up with a viable
solution to end world hunger, but that does not mean that learning
and self-growth did not occur. Instead of supplying answers, a
curriculum based on the ideas of social reconstruction provides
students with the tools and critical thinking skills required to
problem solve and apply strategies to new, relevant problems.
Another important feature that needs to be in place for a social
reconstruction curriculum to be successful is the presence of
inquiry. It is crucial for the classroom environment to encourage
dialogue, discussion, and the identification of multiple
Paulo Friere (2004) discusses the importance of dialogue in
education. He states that "without dialogue there is no
communication, and without communication there can be no true
education" (Friere, 2004, p. 128).

Dialogue in this sense means more than just students having a

discussion. The teacher has to be considered a learner, as well. It is
the role of the teacher to learn and discover alongside the students.
Friere (2004) continues his explanation of dialogue by describing
how authentic education is not carried on by A for B or by A
about B, but rather by A with B (p. 128). Friere (2004)
compares any other type of instruction to banking, where the
teacher merely deposits information into the students with little
A social reconstruction curriculum in this context would also
require students to look at social studies issues from multiple
perspectives. To truly think critically about a topic, a well-rounded,
unbiased view is required.
In keeping with an appreciation for diverse viewpoints, in a
rebuttal to the letter written by Diane Ravitch quoted earlier in this
text, Wiener (2005) writes of the power of encouraging and
instructing using multiple perspectives. He explains to Ravitch that
when this strategy is employed, students end up learning not just
about what happened... but about how history itself gets
The organizing theme... has intrinsic interest, whereas a mass of
data and dates can quickly become meaningless (Wiener, 2005).
Encouraging students to view a problem from multiple
perspectives helps to provide an awareness of potential biases and
also allows students to actively practice empathy, which is a key
characteristic of social change and reform.
If the purpose of the education system based on social
reconstruction ideas is to create students who are ready to
reconstruct society, then the students should be the primary driving
force behind instruction.

A social reconstruction classroom must be based on student-driven

content. Friere (2004) reiterates this need by pointing out that we
must never merely discourse on the present situation, must never
provide the people with programs which have little or nothing to
do with their own preoccupations, doubts, hopes, and fears .
In an ideal situation, the social studies curriculum in this type of
classroom would either rise from discussion of students interests
or the needs of the direct community. Once the topic is established,
it is important to continue ensuring that the learning is constructed
by the students and not simply passed from the teacher to the
A genuine student-led discussion allows students to expose their
thoughts and values to each other, have their thoughts and values
challenged, and reconstruct their thoughts and values in light of
insights obtained from the discussion and any group consensus that
might arise from it (Schiro, 2008, p. 140). This is at the heart of
social reconstruction.
A standard social studies unit in this type of classroom would
typically follow a specific pattern. At the introduction of the social
issue, the students would work to analyze the history of the
problem to uncover exactly how society evolved to get to that
certain point or social difficulty. Following this analysis and
synthesis step, the students would work together and have a
discussion of possible strategies that could be implemented to
overcome that particular problem.
Then finally, the students would participate in some form of
meaningful field experience or action to set in place their new

ideas. This important step in the process is a great way for students
to get actively involved in their communities and practice making a
real difference in the lives of other people.
Changing the traditional social studies classroom to one based on
the ideas of social reconstruction is not without its flaws and
potential obstacles.
The first roadblock to social reconstruction is the obligation of
teachers to help students master specific standardized content. The
Indiana Department of Education has determined a list of standards
and content that every social studies teacher is required to cover.
Social reconstruction in its purest form asks teachers to forget
about content and how they traditionally view education. It also
requires more time to be spent on each unit. Tackling social reform
is not a one day or even one week lesson. Students are asked to
think critically and then participate in the learning. This cannot
happen effectively with an extensive laundry list of standards to
Currently in Indiana, students are not tested as much on social
studies content on standardized high-stakes tests. For this reason,
the area of social studies is still the safest avenue for a social
reconstruction curriculum. As accountability and testing change
however, this might change as well. Unfortunately, this type of
curriculum requires administration and those in charge of schools
to put a lot of trust in teachers. Our current system of standards and
high-stakes testing is not a system based on trust of teachers at all.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding social reconstruction
education. This is another obstacle that teachers may face when
trying to implement this type of instruction in their classroom. This
particular form of curriculum requires teachers to bring
controversy and a discussion of conflict into each lesson. Themes
of social reform are generally very political and therefore can stir

controversy easily. In terms of quality education, this may not be a

bad thing in itself. Diane Ravitch (2011) agrees curriculum should
engage vigorously in discussion of controversial topics.
However, with controversy comes resistance. Community and
parent support in a childs education is undoubtedly important.
Considering this well known assumption, do teachers have the
right or should they teach social reform if the change the students
advocate for is in opposition to the views of their home
environment? This type of education unfortunately will sometimes
walk a fine line between important social change and decreasing
family and community support. Without a solid ethics guideline in
which everyone can agree, there will always be some resistance.
We experience dominance and oppression today because society as
a whole has allowed it. For this reason, social reform education
would be in direct opposition to what the majority has put in place.
A historical example of this inherent problem with social
reconstruction education involves Harold Rugg and the
controversial textbook series that he created. Rugg aligned himself
with social meliorates or social reconstructionists. He created a
textbook series called Man and His Changing Society calling
attention to the critical social problems that America faced
(Kliebard, 2004, p. 169).
His textbooks focused on controversial topics such as immigration,
sexism, and poverty. Because of the enlightening nature of his
textbooks about American practices that cast the country in a
negative light, his textbooks were eventually deemed un-American
and lost popularity very quickly. The introduction of controversy,
though essential to a curriculum based on social reform, was
ultimately what caused the demise of this series and ended its use
in the classroom. It was mentioned previously that the curriculum

in a social reconstruction classroom should always be studentdriven. Zuga (1992) reiterates this statement saying it is not
determining what content a child needs to know in the future in
order to be a successful adult, thereby limiting the potential of the
It is not lacking the commitment to take a stand, one which will
not be universally agreed upon, on issues, all issues, It is not
discouraging students from taking a stand on issues (p. 56). This
is a key attribute of a true social reconstruction curriculum.
However, without a strong, exact accountability system in place to
ensure that the content is not being predetermined by the teacher,
there is a strong possibility, if not a guarantee, that some bias or
prejudice will be introduced into the classroom. With a strong
government influence, there is the potential for special interest
groups to push their political agendas on education.
Also, if the curriculum remains tied to textbooks, then it allows
those textbook companies to push their own agendas, as well.
Without some way to guarantee that the content and the learning is
completely constructed by students, then there is a large risk for
corruption because of the political nature of a social reconstruction
Even without a primarily government controlled education system
and a reliance on textbooks as the source of curriculum, can
education and teachers be neutral? The answer is no, and this
presents an ingrained shortcoming of social reconstruction.
Teachers are in some way subconsciously or otherwise pushing
their own prejudices all of the time. Flinders (2004) asserts that
teaching itself is a normative enterprise; it seeks to foster
something that the teacher considers worth fostering (p. 287).
On the contrary, neutrality in education could be dangerous. If

neutrality is expected, what happens when students present

dangerous or unethical ideas? Remaining neutral in a sense also
means remaining apathetic to the continuing of social problems
such as oppression.
Even though there is the potential for prejudice and bias in a social
reconstruction curriculum, choosing to ignore the need for social
reform is a political choice and bias in itself. Gutstein and Peterson
(2005) explain this political choice in the following statement:
When teachers fail to include [content] that help students confront
important global issues, or when they dont bring out the
underlying implications of problems... these are political choices,
whether the teachers recognize them as such or not... [and they]
contribute to disempowering students and are objectively political
acts, though not necessarily conscious ones. (p. 6)
Basically if the curriculum is not slated toward social
reconstruction, then it is supporting the perpetuation of the current
society, which is simply the opposite side of the political agenda
(Schiro, 2008, p. 153).
This means that in making the choice to create a social reform
based curriculum or to avoid it, an educator is making a political
and biased decision. The fundamental question that educators need
to face concerns whether or not our current society is in need of
If educators can assume that we all share a basic ethics system that
in general defends the right for people to be treated fairly and
respectfully and if we can admit that there is still wrong in the
world, then we cannot avoid including those discussions in at least
the social studies curriculum.

By refraining from doing so, we are subconsciously teaching

students that the world in its current condition is just as it should

Teachers' Role in Reconstructions Curriculum:

Teacher and curriculum
After reading about the roles of Chinese teachers and American
teachers, you may ask What role would a Chinese language teacher
assume herself/himself in the language and culture in the United
States, and how would that affect the curriculum design? Or What
role would a bilingual/bicultural teacher assume herself/himself in the
immersion in the United States, and how would that affect the
curriculum design? Here are some thoughts for you to ponder upon:

Work as an instructional designer:

You may have focused on the learners developmental, emotional and
affective needs in your teaching.
You may have focused on learner critical thinking, problem-solving
and collaborative skills, you may also intend to emphasize, sometimes
overemphasize the correct way of pronouncing each word and making
each sentence order correct by repeating or ask your students to
answer this question
What does apple mean in Chinese?So can you identify yourself
in one or more of the scenarios described above? Research identified
that teachers well-designed learning activities that foster language use
in authentic and real life settings, can support learners needs and
facilitate deep learning.


Work as an intercultural practitioner (primarily for

language and culture teachers):
You are now teaching both Chinese language and
culture. These two aspects are closely knitted. And it is helpful for us
to ask what culture is, how we detect the nuanced cultural difference
in teaching, and how we lead students cross the boundaries of
difference cultures.
The role of teachers, as an intercultural practitioner, is first to analyze
a culture, its concepts and keywords, and then to introduce and
explain them to learners by way of paraphrase or presenting the
affective behavior within a situation-oriented approach, and finally to
step back and let learners discover and interpret the meanings for
themselves. (It is at this point that learners may show their positive or
negative feelings.) Teachers are now in a position to observe the
extent of learners understanding and agreement, and so may lead
learners into an analytical comparison of the two cultures.

Work with your colleagues to adapt the curricular

standards to your own teaching:
There are multiple standards for curriculum in the United States. How
do we work effectively under the mandated curriculum standards and
test system? Examples from Chinese context may give us some
insights. Researchers found there are two ways helpful for a teachers
professional development under the mandated curriculum standards
and testing system: 1) careful study of the curriculum materials that
were authoritatively, specifically, and consistently structured; 2) and
her continuous and substantial participation in the collaborative

observations, discussions, and reflections on each others lesson

development, teaching, and lesson debriefing in schools.

Work as an effective room manager:

Classroom management is not separated from academic curriculum. A
successfully designed and implemented curriculum cannot do without
effective room management strategies. Chinese researchers suggested
teachers set explicit rules, give punishment and award appropriately,
give students some control in a limited range, set up teachers
authority via respect, develop mutual trust and positive relationships
with students, and communicate with the parents. You can find more
resources on Gaining Ground and appropriate these resources for your
own use in the room management:

Work with parents and community in designing your

schoolwork and homework:
Your room is not the only place that curriculum should be! Please
note that we take the general view about the definition of curriculum
and regards it as the experiences through which children grow, learn
and mature to become adults. So the schoolwork needs to be
connected to what students can learn at home and make their learning
an integrated and consolidated daily experience. In that sense,
homework needs to be considered in our curricular design. And the
parents involvement is vital for this process. Researchers found that
in spite of the differences in students race, family background, prior
ability, and high school curricular track, low-ability students who did
10 hours of homework or more per week had as good report card
grades as high-ability students who did no homework. But it does not
mean that the more homework, the better. Teachers need work with

parents and make use of varied and meaningful homework to help

students engage in goal-directed learning.

Here is an example of how to involve parents in

schoolwork and homework:
1. Objectives: explains the learning goals of the activity, if this is
not clear from the title or letter.

2. Prewriting: gives the student space to plan a letter, essay,

story, or poem by outlining, brainstorming, listing, designing
nets and webs, or by using other planning strategies.

3. First draft: gives the student space to write and edit. A

student who needs more space may add paper. Some teachers
ask the student to write a final copy on other paper at home or
at school.

4. Interactions: guides the student to conduct a family survey or

interview, talk with a family partner about ideas or memories,
read work aloud for reactions, edit work, practice a speech, or
conduct other interactions. Other assignments include
exchanges focused on grammar, vocabulary, reading, and
other language arts skills.