education

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Instrumentalism

Introduction.

The course which I teach within is to prepare new employees for working within a manufacturing environment within a highly regulated industry. All learners are required to show competence on a range of skills ranging from health and safety through to industry specific manufacturing skills. The qualifications may be in the form of a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or in an industry specific internal training event. Learner's ages will range from 19 to 55 and they will come from a wide range of employment backgrounds such as retail, construction or other industrial roles.

Ideologies and Theories of Learning.

As identified by Scrimshaw (1983) cited by Armstrong et al (2003), “Instrumentalism: a curriculum delivering a specific product such as the development of a skilled workforce.” The instrumental curriculum is focused on practical skills and is teacher led. This is only one of five educational ideologies identified but is the one most comparable with the course that I teach. (Should I list the others)

Curriculum Models.

The closest match for my course is the ‘Product' model for curriculum development which is closely associated with Ralph Tyler (1971) cited by Armitage et al (2003). Neary (2002) describes the product model as a curriculum which has been entirely designed around the meeting of clear objectives. My course has clear aims and expected outcomes to which methods of learning and assessment are clearly mapped. The evaluation methods are designed to identify any shortfall and for corrections to be made to enable learners to meet the objectives that have been set.

As the expected outcomes are clear from the outset it allows for clear design of content and also ensures an accurate and fair assessment process. However as the course structure is rigid it limits creativity both for lesson design but also for learner activities.

However as with most models applied to an actual teaching environment there is an element of overlap with one or more of the models identified by Smith (1996, 2000) www.infed.org/biblio/b-curric.htm . Although the ‘Product' model is the main influence on my course the ‘Process' model must still be a consideration as it is designed around how individuals learn and focuses on teacher and learner activities. By acknowledging the ‘Process' model it allows an emphasis to be placed on the learners current and prior experiences.

The context of the course will impact substantially on curriculum design, delivery, assessment and evaluation, my own teaching philosophy and profession values will have an effect on the course delivery. As my course is influenced by an instrumentalist ideology and using the ‘Product' model for the design the links with behaviourism can clearly be seen; however as previously mentioned this is an over simplification as I do consider the other learning theories and do take a cognitive approach.

Critical reflection.

As previously recognised there are elements of the ‘Process model' within my programmes curriculum; however I feel that it relates most closely to the ‘Product model' as the objectives are clearly defined from the outset. To analyse the effectiveness of this model I shall answer the questions set by Tyler (1971) as cited in Armitage et al (2003:201), “which, he claims, must be answered when developing any curriculum”.

1. What are your curriculum aims and objectives?

2. Which learning experiences meet these aims and objectives?

3. How can these learning experiences be organised into a curriculum programme.

4. How can this programme be evaluated.

1. What are your curriculum aims and objectives?

The aim of my programme curriculum is to deliver the necessary learning to satisfy our external regulators and to meet the skills and capabilities required by AWE plc.

To meet the requirements of our external regulators we must demonstrate competence in the following element.

* General safety.

* Mandatory safety

* Role specific.

2. Which learning experiences meet these aims and objectives?

2.1 General Safety.

This element is delivered by theory based classroom sessions that will

include practical tasks where appropriate.

2.2. Mandatory Safety.

Delivered as a series of theory lessons and practical tasks within a

simulated work environment.

2.3. Role specific.

Training delivered in the work area by subject matter experts.

3. How can these learning experiences be organised into a curriculum programme.


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