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Curriculum Models Design

Prof . Fatin Khairy Al-Rrif’i , Ph.D.

Asst. Inst. Ghazwan Adnan Mohammed , M.A.


Curriculum model design is one of the major challenges of developing an

education program and it’s one of the main factors that can influence student retention and
satisfaction. A well-designed or suitable selected curriculum model design makes the
syllabus come alive. It may combine technology and pedagogy to engage faculty and
students in an exciting exchange of ideas. Creating this dynamic learning environment takes
more than porting an existing syllabus into learning system. The classroom experience must
be redesigned. A valid curriculum design model provides the theoretical framework needed
to operate an effective education program . The purpose of this research is to provide a brief
synopsis of curriculum models design . Two main models are proposed to examine; ( the
product and process models) in relation to each model is set and discussed.


Models, like myths and metaphors, help to make sense of world. Whether it is
derived from whim or from serious research, a model offers its user a means of
comprehending an otherwise incomprehensible problem. Models, also help to visualize the
problem, to break it down into discrete, manageable units. The value of a specific model or
design is determined within the context of use. Like any other instrument, a model assumes
a specific intention of its user. A model should be judged by how it mediates the designer's
intention, how well it can share a work load, and how effectively it shifts focus away from
itself toward the object of the design activity.
To be in line with the curriculum planning , one way of developing a curriculum
plan is through modeling. Models are essentially patterns that serve as guidelines to action.
They can be found for almost every form of educational activity. The education profession
has models of administration, supervision, instruction, evaluation, and others. So, there are
models of curriculum development as well.
Yet, curriculum models are very useful for teachers for planning and organizing
educational process. They can make its use in the transaction of curriculum and preparing
an outline for guiding students' activities and developing instructional procedure for
realizing objectives .
Vividly, curriculum models help designers to systematically and transparently map
out the rationale for the use of particular teaching, learning and assessment approaches.
Ornstein and Hunkins (2009:15) suggest that although curriculum development models are
technically useful, they often overlook the human aspect such as the personal attitudes,
feelings, values involved in curriculum making. Therefore; they are not a recipe and should
not be a substitute for using one's professional and personal judgment on what is a good
approach to enhancing student learning.

According to Page & Thomas (1977) a model is a means of transferring a
relationship or process from its actual setting to one in which it can be more conveniently
studied. In the curriculum development process, the term model is used to represent ; the
different elements or stages , and how they relate to one another. Thus , models are usually
abstract conceptual. This means that they exist in people’s minds. They are very useful in
the task of theory building (Sharma et al. , 2004: 37-67) . Similarity, Fawcett (1984:13)
suggests that the term conceptual model, and synonymous terms such as conceptual
framework and conceptual system, refer to global ideas about the individual groups,
situations, and events of interest to a discipline.

Consistency with aforesaid , Lippett (1973: 23) assigns that conceptual models
have existed since people began to think about themselves and their surroundings. He
identifies examples of models in the early Egyptian and Chinese civilizations and in
disciplines such as physics, medicine, mathematics, chemistry and biology. In consequence
of models, which are influential in shaping the world. Examples given in this context are
Marx & Engels (1968), Einstein (1950) and Sigmund Freud (1914). Marx's model relates to
political, philosophical, social and economic matters and provides a framework for
communist ideology. Einstein's model of relativity paves the way to the atomic era. Freud's
model provides a structure for the understanding of man in the context of psychoanalysis.
As far as Blight & et. al. , (2001:35) , they state that there are two main types of
models in curriculum development; the first one is called prescriptive models, which
indicate what curriculum designers should do; they are concerned with the ends rather than
the means of a curriculum. Moreover, the three models are prescriptive; they suggest what
ought to be done and what is done by many curriculum developers. These Models are
conceived by well known scholars in the field , such as ,: Ralph W. Tyler (1949), George
Beauchamp (1981), and J. Galen Saylor, William M. Alexander, and Arthur J. Lewis

While ,the second one is called descriptive models, which purport to describe what
curriculum designers actually do. An enduring example of a descriptive model is the
situational model advocated by Malcolm Skilbeck, which emphasizes the importance of
situation or context in curriculum design. A consideration of these models assists in
understanding two additional key elements in curriculum design: statements of intent and
Likewise, Lunenburg (2011:1-10) states two types of models are called , Inductive
and deductive models , Inductive models have begun with the development of curriculum
materials and leading to generalization. Furthermore, the models are nonlinear. A nonlinear
approach permits curriculum planners to enter a model at various points, skip components
in the model, reverse the order, and attend to two or more components of the model
simultaneously. As examples , these models are assumed by well known scholars in the
field: Wheeler (1967), Gerald Weinstein and Mario Fantini (1970), and Elliott Eisner
(1991). While Deductive models are proceed from the general (e.g., examining the needs of
society) to the specific (e.g., specifying instructional objectives). As examples , these
models are assumed also by well known scholars in the field: (Tyler (1949 ) , Taba (1962 )
. Moreover, the models are linear; they involve a certain order or sequence of steps from
beginning to end . Linear models need not be immutable sequences of steps, however,
curriculum makers can exercise judgment as to entry points and interrelationships of
components of the model.
A commonly description, maybe slight simplistic version of two polarized
curriculum models are those referred to by many authors as the ‘Product Model’ and the
‘Process Model’. Neary (2003:39) describes these as one which emphasizes ‘plans and
intentions ( product model) , which looks at outcomes , the end product ‘what’. While , the
second one emphasizes on activities and effects’ the (process model). It is also concerned
with the methods and means ‘how’.

Concisely, these two models can be assembled under the wings of two approaches
that have been developed: normative approaches ( objective / product ) and descriptive
approaches ( procedural / process ). This presentation aims at discussing the types of
models of curriculum development, that is, “product” – Objectives models such as (Tyler
1949) and the rational (Taba 1962 ) , because they provide a sequence of steps. Also it
involves models which have technical interests of control. While , “ cyclical ” or process
models like (Wheeler, 1967; Nicholls & Nicholls,1987) and “interactive” (Walker 1972,
Stenhouse 1975, Skillbeck 1976, Olivia 1976) . Also , other models will be discussed such
as “ Humanistic ” , “ Systematic Atheistic ” , and “ Deliberative ” models.

The Product versus Process model

The product model is a simplified representation of complex reality, which

enables one to understand the process of curriculum development better. A model
represents the components and structure of the curriculum. It is depicted in diagrammatic
form. Knight (2001:369-381) expresses the advantages of a more process model of
curriculum planning in comparison to the product. It makes sense to plan curriculum in this
intuitive way, which is reassured by the claim from complexity theory that what matters is
getting the ingredients— the processes, messages and conditions— right and trusting that
good outcomes follow. This suggests that when working in a more product model of
learning outcomes, it may be more valuable to first consider what one is really trying to
achieve in his teaching/learning activities and to then write programme and/or module
learning outcomes.

Initially, one should know the differentiation between process and model:
Process; some synonyms include such like procedure, development, method, progression,
practice, and a course of action. A process is very simply the steps from the beginning of
something to its end. It has been said that curriculum development is a process because it

has a beginning and it is continuously changing or being developed. In Education , other
synonyms can be used for a model such like representation or reproduction, which means a
diagrammatic representation of something.

The Further Education Curriculum Review and Development Unit. London (FEU
1980) has set out seven variants of curriculum models and these are set out in Figure 1.
Each model is based on certain assumptions about the students for whom it is designed.

In the first place the deficiency model is based on the assumption that the
students have learning deficiencies which need to be corrected before progress can be made.
The deficiencies may be in the areas of literacy, numeracy. Interpersonal or manipulative
skills. On the other hand a deficiency may relate to a student's self-image or a lack of
recognition of his learning needs.
Then , the competency model, as its name suggests, is concerned with the
'acting' part of learning in the form of performing specific skills. A model which may be
described as information-based would be concerned with the acquisition of knowledge
such as the knowledge needed for a student to function in an informed and in an
understanding manner. In a sense all education is information-based, but this model
highlights the acquisition of knowledge rather than other aspects of the educational process.
While , Socialization, as its name implies, is concerned with the initiation of the
student into the social milieu of learning. It is characterized by the development of attitudes
and values, and assumptions about the requirements of the world of work, vocational
matters and society. The four models which have just been described rather briefly are all
product models, that is, the emphasis is placed on the outcome of a learning experience.
The next group of models to be considered are all process models. In this context
the emphasis is on learning acquired from experience of work and life, that is experiential
learning. It comprises open-ended student activities with developing tendencies and

capacities. The emphasis is on the quality of the learning as it takes place rather than on
predetermined outcomes.
Whereas, The reflective model is an example of a process model. The essence of
this model is developing in the student the capacity to look at experience or data in
alternative ways. It is concerned with working out possible relationships between matters
being studied, making generalizations and the development of conceptual frameworks by
the student. Reference to Figure 1 shows that the reflective model is mainly concerned with
the 'knowing' aspect of learning, but it is also concerned with the feeling aspect. Finally, as
far as Figure 1 is concerned, there is the 'counselling model'. This model is mostly
concerned with the 'feeling' aspect of learning. This model is characterized by a concern
with understanding and control of personal behaviour and that of others. Counselling is
sometimes described as a helping relationship, that is, helping the person to know
himself/herself better. It allows feelings to be expressed. This is particularly important in a
case where feelings may be acting as a barrier to learning.
Acting Knowing Feeling
Information based
Figure 1 Models of Curriculum reproduced with permission of the Further Education Unit (1980)
In addition to the product and process model, there are a range of different more
specific models that individually or collectively could suit any program design , however,

many are transferable across the different areas. Some are described as ' models' and as
they become more specific they may be referred to design .
a) The Product Model
Curriculum writers classify product models in different ways .One of them is
the objective model (described below) has been variously described as objective- based,
rational, means-end, linear, sequential, logical, scientific, and classical ( for example ,
Brady, 1995; Marsh, 1992; Mc Gee, 1997).

1- The Objectives Model

The objective model is also known as the rational/classical , academic model, and
the linear product model . It is proposed by Ralph Tyler in 1949. It follows a fixed,
sequential pattern, that is, from objectives to content, method and lastly evaluation. In
coming up with this model, Tyler points out that curriculum development needed to be
treated logically and systematically. The objective model states that to develop any
curriculum, four questions, which he considered to be fundamental, had to be posed:
i. What educational purpose should the school seek to attain. For instance, what
educational purpose do variety shows in schools seek to attain? As curriculum
developers, one ought to know whether learners would benefit anything from such
activities. Once this is understood, curriculum developers would then decide whether
such co-curricular activities should be included in the curriculum.
ii. What educational experiences are likely to attain these objectives? This question
refers to the selection of learning experiences, which are appropriate to attain the
objectives in the first question .
iii. How can these educational experiences be organized effectively? This refers to the
organization of learning experiences.
iv. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained? Here the
evaluation procedures are taken into consideration. (Tyler ;1949 :44 ) see figure 2 .


Selection of learning experiences

Organization of learning experiences


Figure 2
Tyler's Model (Urevbu,1985:20)

This model has attracted some criticism—for example, It claims that writing
objectives is difficult and time consuming to construct behavioural objectives , particularly
in the form which is demanded by writers like Mager (1962) who argues that each objective
has to contain a statement of the ‘behaviour’ to be attained, the’ conditions’ under which it
would be demonstrated and the ‘standards’ by which it would be judged.

A more serious criticism is that the model restricts the curriculum to a narrow
range of student skills and knowledge that can be readily expressed in behavioural terms. In
the 1970s English writers such as Stenhouse (1975) mounts much stronger criticisms. He
claims that the use of behavioural objectives are resulted in curricula which focused on
skills and knowledge acquisition only. Higher order thinking, problem solving, and
processes for acquiring values may be excluded because they cannot be simply stated in
behavioural terms. As a result of such criticism the objectives model has waned in
popularity. The importance of being clear about the purpose of the curriculum is well
accepted but no longer are behavioural objectives demanded (Print,1993 : 60-92) .

2- The Rational Model

Taba (1962) has been given the precedence in this model , in which the process is
begun with the specification of objectives but a school is not seen as a factory. Curriculum

Development is instead seen as a rational and orderly process. Here, the learning
experiences are separated from the content and evaluation. This model is specifying aims
and objectives, selecting learning experiences, selecting content, organizing learning
experiences and evaluating leaning outcomes (Wheeler, 1967:56 ).

Hilda Taba’s model is a modified version of Tyler’s objective. She modifies

Tyler’s model and calls for a logical organization of the curriculum and the individual
learner. She argues for a rational, sequential approach to the development of the
curriculum. The objectives model is rational and scientific in approach. The decisions on
the fundamental elements should be made according to valid criteria, meaning that the
curriculum should reflect the needs of the society and the learner. Taba further states that it
should be flexible and systematic. She argues that there is a definite order in creating a
curriculum. She believes that teachers, who teach the curriculum, should participate in
developing it which led to the model being called the grass-roots approach . Her approach is
more prescriptive than Tyler's regarding the procedure of curriculum planning. Whereas
Tyler offers four questions that must be addressed, she advocates for an orderly way of
developing curricula by following seven sequential steps in her grass-roots model, in which
teachers would have major input (Taba, 1962 : 34).

• Diagnosis of need: The teacher who is also the curriculum designer starts the process
by identifying the needs of students for whom the curriculum is planned. For
example, the majority of students are unable to think critically.
• Formulation of objectives: After the teacher has identified needs that require
attention, he or she specifies objectives to be accomplished.
• Selection of content: The objectives selected or created suggest the subject matter or
content of the curriculum. Not only should objectives and content match, but also the
validity and significance of the content chosen needs to be determined. i.e. the
relevancy and significance of content.

• Organization of content: A teacher cannot just select content, but must organize it
in some type of sequence, taking into consideration the maturity of learners, their
academic achievement, and their interests.
• Selection of learning experiences: Content must be presented to students and
students must be engaged with the content. At this point, the teacher selects
instructional methods that will involve the students with the content.
• Organization of learning activities: Just as content must be sequenced and
organized, so must the learning activities. Often, the sequence of the learning
activities is determined by the content. But the teacher needs to keep in mind the
particular students whom he or she will be teaching.
• Evaluation and means of evaluation: The curriculum planner must determine just
what objectives have been accomplished. Evaluation procedures need to be designed
to evaluate learning outcomes (ibid, 1962;36-37).

Thus, Taba's model (figure 3) is not only a technical-production model but also
linear. Also , her interactive model adds the idea of a needs analysis, and reflects more
accurately actual design practice .

Figure 3 Taba’s Model (Brady, 1995 : 81)

From all above, this model is characterized by the following points:

1- Different relationship between the curriculum elements;

2- Process is dynamic, not a fixed sequence;

3- Elements are interactive and progressively modifiable;
4- Change in one element will affect other elements;

5- Developer can move to and fro - rarely a linear process; and

6- Not constrained by fixed procedure and can pursue interests.

As well, it become evident, that the major differences between Taylor's and Taba's
models can be summarized as follows : Tyler's model is deductive while Taba's is
inductive. Tyler's approach is from the administrator approach while Taba's is the teacher's
approach. In essences Tyler believes that administration should design the curriculum and
the teachers try to implement it; Taba believes that the teachers are aware of the students
needs hence they should be the ones to develop the curriculum.
3- Beauchamp: Managerial Model

According to Beauchamp (1981:27-49) , a curriculum possesses five properties or

characteristics , which are:

a) It is a written document;
b) It contains statements outlining the goals for the school for which the curriculum is
c) It contains a body of culture content or subject matter that tentatively has the
potential for the realization of the school's goals;
d) It contains a statement of intention for use of the document to guide and direct the
planning of instructional strategies; and
e) It contains an evaluation scheme.
Thus, by definition, a curriculum is a written plan depicting the scope and
arrangement of the projected educational program for a school.

George Beauchamp recognizes the following procedures for curriculum
development as it is described by Tyler: the process of determining objectives, selecting and
organizing learning experiences, and evaluating the program of curriculum and instruction.
Two additional ingredients are included in Beauchamp’s design model: a set of rules
designating how the curriculum is to be used and an evaluation scheme outlining how the
curriculum is to be evaluated. An evaluation scheme constitutes the final component of the
model. The evaluation scheme is designed to provide feedback data for the products and
processes of the curriculum system and the instructional system. Outputs immediately lead
back to the curriculum system and the instructional system, thus providing a dynamic cycle
of feedback and correction to the fundamental processes of schooling , which are ;
curriculum and instruction (Beauchamp , 1981 : 50 -77).

4- Administrative Model
Galen Saylor and his associates (1981:34-58) adopt an administrative approach to
curriculum development. They describe and analyze curriculum plans in terms of the
relations of ends and means, the attention to pertinent facts and data, and the flow of
activities or procedures from beginning to end.

The selection of educational goals and objectives is influenced by (1) external

forces, including legal requirements, research data, professional associations, and state
guidelines, and (2) bases of curriculum, such as society, learners, and knowledge. (Note the
similarity to Tyler’s sources.) Curriculum developers then choose the combinations of
curriculum design, implementation strategies, and evaluation procedures that are calculated
to maximize the attainment of goals; review feedback from the plan in effect through
instruction; and re-plan the elements of the curriculum as indicated by the data.
b) The Process Model

Unlike the objectives model, this model does not consider objectives to be
important. Using this model presupposes that:
• Content has its own value. Therefore, it should not be selected on the basis of the
achievement of objectives.
• Content involves procedures, concepts and criteria that can be used to appraise the
• Translating content into objectives may result in knowledge being distorted.
• Learning activities have their own value and can be measured in terms of their own
standard. For this reason, learning activities can stand on their own (Gatawa, 1990: 31) .

Curriculum Idea
( goals)

Evaluation Content


Figure 4 The Process model (Gatawa, 1990: 32)

It is important to note that in the process model:

• Content and methodology are derived from the goals. Each of them has outcomes that
can be evaluated.
• The evaluation results from the outcome are fed into the goals, which will later
influence the content and methodologies. Unlike the objectives model, there is no
direct evaluation of the content and methodologies.

The process models that followed them (Print calls them “dynamic”
models) are more interesting. In the student-centered process models, the teacher’s
role is that of facilitator rather than content authority. Brady (1995:84) states that
these models assume curriculum design to be an ongoing process, dependent on
emerging information and practice, shaped by the beliefs, experiences, theories and
philosophies held by those planning the learning environment. Yet , these models go
well beyond the core elements of objectives, content, method, and assessment /
evaluation, although these are recognized as part of the process. Hawes, for instance,
shows that designers draw on theories from psychology, teaching and learning, and
epistemology in making decisions about content and process selection. There can be
problems with classrooms designed along these lines. For example, it may be difficult
to ensure consistency of content coverage from cohort to cohort, and the quality of
learning is very dependent on the quality of teaching. Attempts to compensate for
these aspects have contributed to the discovery learning and problem-solving

Theories of Child Situation
Behaviour Extent to
Process Teacher
Theories of behaviour
Selection classroom
Teaching Content processes
Learning match those
Theories of the
Structure of

Guiding principles Lesson plans Learning situation Evaluation

Figure 5 Hawes’ Process Model

1- Cyclical Models
The cyclical models are similar in many ways to the linear and interactive
models that preceded them. They incorporate the same or similar elements – initial situation
analysis, identification of aims and objectives, selection and organization of content,
selection and organization of learning activities, followed by an assessment / evaluation
process (Wheeler, 1967; Nicholls & Nicholls, 1978). All of these product models – linear,
interactive, and cyclical – are efficient, logical and clear. They probably don’t reflect actual
curriculum design practice for most teachers, but they serve as useful checklists and tools
for documenting curriculum

Cyclical models on the other hand are an extension of the objective model as
Tyler lays a foundation for most curriculum models. They are logical and sequential in
approach. They present the curriculum process as a continuing activity, which is constantly
in a state of change as new information or practices become available. In other words, the
content, methods of learning activities and evaluation are liable to change once new
information or practices become available. The Cyclical model is responsive to needs,
which are on-going, necessitating constant updating of the curriculum process. They are
flexible. These models view elements of the curriculum as interrelated and interdependent.
They accept a degree of interaction between the various curriculum elements.

The Cyclical models involve Situational Analysis, which involves the analysis of
those factors, which exist in the environment where the curriculum is going to be

In cyclical model, Wheeler, who develops and extended the ideas forwarded by
Tyler. In line with this, Wheeler suggests five interrelated phases that should developed
logically as it is demonstrated in his diagram. Audrey Nicholls and Howard Nicholls also
had to put in their input into the cyclical model. The Nicholls model emphasizes the logical

approach to curriculum development, particularly where the need for new curricula emerges
from changed situations. The cyclical models can be further described in terms of the
structure that they follow generally and its flexibility (Wheeler , 1967 :56 – 77).

The Differences between Objectives and Cyclical model should not be under
estimated. One difference is that Cyclical models are flexible while the objectives models
are rigid. Whenever there is new information, which needs to be incorporated in the
curriculum, the cyclical models readily incorporate it while it will be very hard for it to be
included in the objective model.

Secondly, Cyclical models view curriculum elements as interrelated and

interdependent while in the objectives models, the elements are linear, where one leads to

The third is that Cyclical models present the curriculum process as a continuing
activity, which is constantly in a state of change as new information, and practices become
available. Cyclical models accommodate change over the years while in the objective
model it is not clear whether this could happen or not.

The fourth is that Cyclical models emphasis on the importance of situational

analysis, so that the subsequent curriculum will accurately reflect the needs of the learners
for whom it is intended.

2- Interaction / Dynamic Model

Interaction / Dynamic Model stake into consideration the background and
experience of students & teachers. The curriculum elements are seen as flexible, interactive
and modifiable (In Sharma 2004:37.67). Advocated by Walker (1972),Skilbeck 1976,
Stenhouse 1975), it sees the process of curriculum development as dynamic in nature.
Changes can be initiated from any point in the process unlike the objectives model where

the beginning is always the setting of objectives. Walker (1972) feels that the objectives or
rational models are unsuccessful and devised a model, which has three phases. These
phases are
1. Platform – includes“…ideas, preferences, points of view, beliefs and values about the
curriculum”(Print: 1993:113).
2. Deliberations – here interaction between stakeholders begin and clarification of
views and ides in order to reach a consensus of a shared vision.
3. Design – here, curriculum developers actually make decisions, which are based on
deliberations (above).
These decisions affect curriculum documents and materials production. Skilbeck
(1976) stated that: A situational analysis of needs is vital for effective curriculum change.
He also said:
 Education should be a meaningful learning experience
 Teachers are very important
 Curriculum change can occur at any point in the process & can proceed in any
 The source of objectives should be clear to teachers and curriculum developers.
While , Stenhouse (1975) developed his model as a direct reaction to the
limitations of the objectives model. He focuses on teaching and learning & developing
curriculum through practice rather than policy change. This is also known as Action
Research Approach. This process model identifies the teacher as the person most qualified
to make the change. It is based on two core features – teacher research (also known as
action research) and reflective practice (the teacher reflects on his/ her practice and makes
improvisations along the way).

There are a range of different more specific models that individually or

collectively could suit any programme design. Some of the curriculum models have grown

out of different educational contexts . However, many are transferable across the different
areas. Some are described as ‘models’ and as they become more specific they may be
referred to ‘designs’, i.e. subject-centered designs, as it is explained below (Ornstein &
Hunkins, 2004:207).

3- Deliberative Model
Schwab (1970:26-44) takes the issue with several of Tyler's and Taba's views,
including the focus on objectives, the clear separation of ends and means, and the insistence
on an orderly planning procedure. In order to characterize planning more appropriately, he
offers curriculum planners the concept of "deliberation." Schwab's concept of deliberation
is the centerpiece of this "practical" language for developing curricula. For Schwab, this
practical language is preferable to the single-theory approaches that have dominated
curriculum development. Single-theory curricula, such as a science curriculum based on
Piagetian theory which helps the planner to understand the student's cognitive development.
In order to avoid the "tunnel vision" associated with any theory, Schwab
recommends not only a deliberative method for curriculum planning but also suggests the
participants in this process. According to Schwab, at least one representative of each of the
four "commonplaces" of education must be included, i.e., the learner, the teacher, the
subject matter, and the milieu. (Note the similarity with Tyler's three "sources.") In addition
to representation of each of these four commonplaces, a fifth perspective, that of the
curriculum specialist (trained in the practical and eclectic arts), must be present (
Schwab's model to curriculum planning accepts some assumptions of the Tyler
Rationale and rejects others. Curriculum planning for both Schwab and for Tyler is a
technical matter requiring expert knowledge. The representatives of each of the four
commonplaces are to be experts in each commonplace. For example, the representative of
"the learner" is to be a psychologist, not a student. Furthermore, the curriculum specialist is

to be a trained expert in the arts of the practical and of the eclectic as an approach to
curriculum planning .
Although technical in its reliance on experts, Schwab's model rejects the
constraints inherent in the separation of means and ends, insisting instead on a more
flexible, varied, and interactive planning process. Deliberation is not characterized by
specified procedural steps carried out in prescribed order (Schwab; 1970: 45 -50).
4- Humanistic Model
Weinstein and Fantini (1970:66- 89) link socio-psychological factors with
cognition so learners can deal with their problems and concerns. For this reason, these
authors consider their model a “curriculum of affect.” In viewing the model, some readers
might consider it part of the behavioral, managerial, or administrative approach, but the
model shifts from a deductive organization of curriculum to an inductive orientation from
traditional content to relevant content.

Three steps are adopted in this model , firstly ; identifying the learners , their age,
grade level, and common cultural and ethnic characteristics. Secondly , the school
determines the learners’ concerns and assesses the reasons for these concerns. In
organizing ideas, the last step, the teacher should select themes and topics around learners’
concerns rather than on the demands of subject matter. The concepts and skills to be taught
should help the learners cope with their concerns.

The first step is to identify the learners, their age, grade level, and common
cultural and ethnic characteristics. Weinstein and Fantini are concerned with the group, as
opposed to individuals, because most students are taught in groups. Therefore, knowledge
of common characteristics and interests is considered prerequisite to differentiating and
diagnosing individual problems.
In the second step, the school determines the learners’ concerns and assesses the
reasons for these concerns. Student concerns include the needs and interests of the learners,

self-concepts, and self-image. Because concerns center on broad and persistent issues, they
give the curriculum some consistency over time. Through diagnosis, the teacher attempts to
develop strategies for instruction to meet learners’ concerns. Emphasis is on how students
can gain greater control over their lives and feel more at ease with themselves.
In organizing ideas, the next step, the teacher should select themes and topics
around learners’ concerns rather than on the demands of subject matter. The concepts and
skills to be taught should help the learners cope with their concerns.
The content is organized around three major principles, or what Weinstein and
Fantini call vehicles: life experiences of the learners, attitudes and feelings of the learners,
and the social context in which they live. These three types of content influence the
concepts, skills, and values that are taught in the classroom, and they form the basis for the
“curriculum of affect.”
According to the authors, learning skills include the basic skill of learning how
to learn which in turn increases learners’ coping activity and power over their environment.
Learning skills also help students deal with the content vehicles and problem solving in
different subject areas. Self-awareness skills and personal skills are recommended, too, to
help students deal with their own feelings and how they relate to other people.
Teaching procedures are developed for learning skills, content vehicles, and
organizing ideas. Teaching procedures should match the learning styles on their common
characteristics and concerns (the first two steps). In the last step, the teacher evaluates the
outcomes of the curriculum: cognitive and affective objectives. This evaluation component
is similar to the evaluation components of deductive models [see Tyler (1949), Beauchamp
(1981), and Saylor et al. (1981), companion article]; however, there is more emphasis on
the needs, interests, and self-concept of learners—that is, affective outcomes.

5- Systemic-Aesthetic Model
Eisner (1991:67-81) offers a systemic and dimensional view of curriculum that
combines behavioral principles with aesthetic components to form a curriculum planning
model. Eisner indicated that if America is going to have the kind of schools it needs, it will
need to pursue five dimensions: (a) intentional, (b) structural, (c) curriculum, (d)
pedagogical, and (e) evaluative.

 The Intentional
This refers to the serious, studied examination of what really matters in schools. To
realize ones intentions, this will need to address the characteristics of curriculum, the
features of teaching, the forms of evaluative practices, and the nature of workplace.

 The Structural
This dimension refers to how schools are structured, how roles are defined, and how
time is allocated. All are important in facilitating and constraining educational
opportunities. According to Eisner, the structural organization of schools has not changed
much in the past one hundred years. School starts in September and end in June; school
lasts twelve years with a prescribed curriculum for everyone; thirty students per class are
taught by a single teacher; grades are given several times a year; and students are promoted
to the next grade. Such a structure is restrictive.
 The Curriculum
The significance of ideas in a curriculum is of great importance. This needs to
think about those ideas more deeply and about the means through which students will
engage them. The design of curriculum includes attention to ideas that matter, skills that
count, and the means through which students and programs interact.
 The Pedagogical
Whatever the virtues of a school’s curriculum, the quality of teaching ought to be
a primary concern of school improvement. To treat teaching as an art requires a level of

scrutiny, assistance, and support that any performing art deserves. Schools need to be places
that serve teachers so that they can serve students.
 The Evaluative
School evaluation practices operationally define what really matters for students
and teachers. Schools need to approach evaluation not simply as a way of scoring students,
but as a way in which to find out how well students are doing in order to better do what
ones do.

6- Backward Design Model

This model is advocated by Wiggins & McTighe (2010), and is very popular
with professional programmes as it links with the idea of Graduate Attributes and
Competences. This model is frequently used in curriculum design in the Irish context
(O’Neill, 2010). Fink’s (2003) popular curriculum model although non-technical and
humanistic in its approach, also draws on the concept of ‘looking-back’ to design a

7- The Post-Positivism Models

These models take this one step further, where they advocate less intervention
by educators, even advocating chaos to occur in order that order may result. In this model
‘students are not presented with ideas or information with which they will agree, but with
encounters with content arranged as such that students will see that they have to seek more
to find frameworks and generate fresh understandings’ (Ornstein and Hunkins, 2004: 213) .
This approach is challenging to record, without being prescriptive, however it can allow for
unexpected and creative learning to occur.

In the higher education literature, Toohey’s (2000:44-69) key textbook on

curriculum design, describes the main curriculum models in this context . She elaborates on
how these models view knowledge, express goals, organize content, assess learning and

what resources are needed. She also gives examples of where these models are used in
different disciplines. She sets out how these parallel with the other authors mentioned in
this resource guide. Her experiential and social crucial models are elaborated on in table 1.
Experiential Social critical

1. Belief in importance of personal 1. Seek to develop a critical

relevance and learning from consciousness in students so that
experiences student become aware of the
2. Adults learn in order to be able present ills of society and are
to do , solve problems , live life motivated to alleviate them .
in a more satisfying way. 2. Content drown form significant
3. Curriculum organized around social problems of the day.
life institutions 3. Collaborative group work/
4. Authentic Assessment projects

Table 1 The Experiential and Social Critical Models (Toohey , 2000)

Another way of exploring these models, is examining them in more depth from
the Subject-Centred or Learner-Centred Models, as it is explained below (described as
‘Designs’ by Ornstein & Hunkins, 2004).

 Subject – Centered Design : Subject – Centered Design Focus - A group of subjects

or subject matter that represent the essential knowledge and values of society that
have survived the test of time. Philosophical orientation – Essentialism proponent /
S – Adler, Hutchins .
 Child-Centered Design : Child-Centered Design Focus – Learning activities
centered around the interests and needs of the child, designed to motivate and interest
the child in the learning process. Philosophical orientation – Progressivism
proponent / S – Dewey , Eisner .

 Integrated Design : Integrated Design Focus - the integration of two or more
subjects, both within and across disciplines, into an integrated course. Philosophical
orientation – Experimentalism proponent / S – Broudy, Silberman .
 Core Curriculum Design : Core Curriculum Design Focus – a common body of
curriculum content and learning experience that should be encountered by all
students – The great books Philosophical orientation – Perennialism proponent /S –
Goodlad / Boyer .
 Social Reconstructionist : Social Reconstructionist Focus – critical analysis of the
political, social, and economic problems facing society; future trends; social action
projects designed to bring about social change. Philosophical orientation – Social
Reconstruction proponent / S – Shane , Bramald .
 Deschooling : Deschooling Focus – in-school experiences, primarily in the social
sciences, designed to develop the child’s sense of freedom from the domination of the
political, social, and economic systems; out of school experiences of equal value.
Philosophical orientation – Social Reconstructionism proponent /S - Freire ,


The above – mentioned papers, gives an overview of the literature on these

curriculum designs models. No one model or design is ideal and no one model may suit a
full a course or programme. However, identifying and being consistent with these models
will help support cohesion and clarity of approaches in any course or programme. For
example, it is typical in some Science and Professional Health Science programmes that the
early years may have a more technical-scientific approach, whereas later years may have a
more experiential approach. However, in relation to student engagement could these models
be more integrated and streamlined across a programme? Is it valuable to think back over a

programme and question what would a graduate remembers, and still finds helpful, three
years later (Fink, 2003)?

As a programme team it is worth exploring one’s views on these different models

and using them to help design and deliver certain programme to obtain the best and most
coherent educational experiences for both students and the staff who teach on this

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Bligh, J., Prideaux, D., Parsell, G. (2001). Prisms: New educational strategies for

medical education. Medical Education ;35:520-1.

Brady, L. (1995). Curriculum Development. Australia : Prentice Hall.

Eisner, E. W. (1991). Should America have a national curriculum? Educational

Leadership, 49, 76-81.

Fawcett, J. (1984). Analysis and Evaluation of Conceptual Models of Nursing.

Philadelphia: Davis.

FEU (1980) . Developing Social and Life Skills. Furrher Education. Curriculum

Review and Development Unit. London.

Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated

approach to designing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gatawa, B. S. M. (1990). The Politics of the School Curriculum: An Introduction.

Harare: Jongwe Press.

Knight, P.T. (2001). Complexity and Curriculum: a process approach to curriculum-

making. Teaching in Higher Education, 6 (3), 369-381.

Lippitt, G. (197). Visualizing Change: Model Building and the Change Process.

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Lunenburg, Fred ,C. (2011) Curriculum Development: Deductive and Inductive

Models . Sam Houston State University: schooling press .

Mager, R. F. (1962). Preparing instructional objectives. California: Fearon Press.

Neary, M. (2003a). Curriculum Concepts and Research. In Curriculum studies in

post- compulsory and adult education: A teacher’s and student teacher’s

study guide. (pp33-56). Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd.

O’Neill, G. (2010). Initiating Curriculum Revision: Exploring the Practices of

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Schwab, J. (1970). The Practical: A language for curriculum. Washington, DC:

National Education Association.

Schwab, J. J. (1973). The Practical 3: Translation into Curriculum, School

Review 79 (1973):501-22.

Sharma, D., B. S. Sahay, and A. Sachan. (2004). Modelling Distributor

Performance Index Using System Dynamics Approach. Asia Pacific

Journal of Marketing and Logistics 16(3): 37–67.

Stenhouse, L. (1975). An introduction to Curriculum Research and Development.

London: Heineman.

Taba, H. (1962). Curriculum development: Theory and Practice. Harcourt, Brace

and World.

Toohey, S. (2000). Beliefs , Values, and Ideologies in Course Design. In Designing

Courses for Higher Education.

Tyler, R. W. (1949). Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago,

IL: University of Chicago Press.

Weinstein, G., & Fantini, M. D. (1970). Toward Humanistic Education. New York,

NY: Praeger.

Wheeler, D.K. (1967). Curriculum Process. London: University of London Press.

Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2010). Understanding by Design: A brief

Introduction. Center for Technology and School Change at Teachers
College, Columbia University.