A Study into the Curriculum Development Process

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In the past, curriculum development committees were typically composed of the teachers with expertise in the content area who were asked to create scope and sequence documents and to suggest texts and other resources for adoption by school districts. Our understanding of curriculum development has changed. The process is now viewed as an opportunity to develop understanding and ownership by the participants, and hence curriculum development committees include members of all parties with interests in the educational system. Identifying and sequencing the content can have a more positive effect on student achievement when it is combined with effective instructional and assessment strategies as well as a supportive school environment. Therefore, the job of curriculum development committees is more extensive than in the past. Curriculum development committees must research effective practices in order to support school environments that offer rich and varied learning experiences. They must review policies and behaviors that foster community involvement and equitable opportunities for all. They must consider professional development activities to support the content, instruction, and assessment expectations. The expectations of curriculum development committees cross some boundaries into what were previously defined as administrative roles. While some curriculum development committees might not have the time, resources, or power to assume all of these roles, they can consider the importance of each of the issues raised in this document and delegate related responsibilities to others who can effect these changes.

Assumptions

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A quality curriculum development process addresses what students should know, be able to do, and be committed to (content), how it is taught (instruction), how it is measured (assessment), and how the educational system is organized (context).

Every aspect of curriculum development should model inclusive, learner-centered instruction. In other words, district curriculum development committee meetings and district professional development should mirror best teaching practices. Curriculum development, instruction, and assessment should be open, fair processes. Everyone involved must know the purposes for every activity, the materials or processes to be used, the definition of success, and the consequences of failure.

The goal should be to encourage individuals to be independent, yet collaborate effectively; be self-evaluative yet take others' perceptions into account; be voracious learners, yet commit themselves to a balanced education.

Curriculum development should reflect the fact that students learn better when topics and concepts are tied together through interdisciplinary curriculum and thematic instruction.

Curriculum for educating and assessing young children should follow early childhood education guidelines and include involvement of parents and the early childhood community.

The curriculum development process must assume that students develop at different times; levels or stages must be looked at as ranges rather than specific grade levels or single-age categories.

Educational accountability means that the district has a clear statement of standards and expectations for students, teachers, instructional aides, parents, district officials, and all others who participate in the particular education community. Both standards and assessments must be known and credible to the entire community. Standards must be evaluated by a variety of assessments. Any evaluation process must identify the measurement yardsticks (processes, instruments), the purposes for measuring, the measurement points or descriptors, and the consequences of meeting or not meeting the stated expectations.

Professional development should be provided for the curriculum development committee and, when implementing the new curriculum, teachers and staff also need professional development. A significant investment in professional development must be an integral part of any curriculum development process.

The educational structures must be flexible to allow for the integration of curriculum across the disciplines in cases where such integration would improve motivation of the students and relevance of the content.

These assumptions must lead to rethinking the conventional structure and schedule of schools in terms of school day, school year, grade levels, subject areas, graduation requirements, student grouping, and physical plant. (Chip McMillian)

Te Whāriki

Te Whāriki is the Ministry of Education's early childhood curriculum policy statement. Te Whāriki is a framework for providing tamariki/children's early learning and development within a sociocultural context. It emphasises the learning partnership between kaiako/teachers, parents, and whānau/families. Kaiako/teachers weave an holistic curriculum in response to tamariki/children's learning and development in the early childhood setting and the wider context of the child's world.

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This curriculum is founded on the following aspirations for children:

to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body, and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society.This curriculum defines how to achieve progress towards this vision for learners in early childhood learning environments. It is about the individual child. Its starting point is the learner and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that the child brings to their experiences. The curriculum is also about early childhood settings. Learning begins at home, and early childhood programmes outside the child's own home play a significant role in extending early learning and in laying the foundations for successful future learning.

Each community to which a child belongs, whether it is a family home or an early childhood setting outside the home, provides opportunities for new learning to be fostered: for children to reflect on alternative ways of doing things; make connections across time and place; establish different kinds of relationship; and encounter different points of view. These experiences enrich children's lives and provide them with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to tackle new challenges.

This is an early childhood curriculum specifically designed for children from the time of birth to school entry, and it provides links to learning in school settings. The learning environment in the early childhood years is different from that in the school sector. This learning environment, the constraints of age, and the special nature of the early childhood years are elaborated on in this curriculum.

This curriculum emphasises the critical role of socially and culturally mediated learning and of reciprocal and responsive relationships for children with people, places, and things. Children learn through collaboration with adults and peers, through guided participation and observation of others, as well as through individual exploration and reflection.

This is a curriculum for early childhood care and education in New Zealand. In early childhood education settings, all children should be given the opportunity to develop knowledge and an understanding of the cultural heritages of both partners to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The curriculum reflects this partnership in text and structure. (Education)

Research in curriculum design

In general there are standards set by governing bodies to ensure that all children get the same education. This includes when children should begin learning certain concepts like multiplication, and at what ages they should have a specified reading ability. Those who work on curriculum design regularly review these standards to make sure that they can be met, and make adjustments when necessary.

Curriculum designers also consider the students, and what types of curriculum is best for their needs. This can be a difficult achievement since students in most schools come from a range of cultural and economic backgrounds. Teaching methods may be different depending on the basic makeup of the student body, as some methods are more appropriate for certain types of students than others. A truly professional and experienced curriculum designer will take these points into consideration.

One also has to think about limitations when planning new curriculum. Limitations include budget, time, and student's abilities. For example, not many schools could afford to take all their students to historical museums, but the parent of a home schooled child may. Additionally, some concepts taught in a large school environment may have to be broken into smaller pieces in order to give the teacher time to cover the topic with his or her class. When subjects are covered too fast many children may not have time to assimilate the information before new information is introduced. (schools)

Curiculum design at --------- definitely involves a research based approach. It has been identified that

The adults and teachers who work in the early childhood environment largely construct the 'language' of the environment so it is important that educators understand this language. It is our belief that a quality environment responds to the hundred languages of children identified by Loris Malaguzzi (pedagogist director of the journal 'Bambini' and a key figure in the development and promotion of the Reggio Emilia early childhood centres) in his poem The hundred languages of children. 3 The early childhood environment needs to say to children… Yes! This is a place for singing and understanding, a place to discover, to invent and to dream, a place for listening and marvelling.

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We've identified three key aspects to any early childhoodenvironment as the physical environment, the interactional environment (social interactions within the environment) and the temporal environment (routines/time). However this paper only attempts to examine two key areas of the physical environment - organisation and aesthetics. We consider that these two key areas contribute significantly to the messages and cues given to children by the environment (If the environment is the third teacher what language does she speak?)

Teachers Philisophy

For a teacher students aretheir main priority and they are aware that each of them has different level of proficiency when it comes to learning. They believe that by creating a student-centred learning,their students will be able to take charge of their own learning with little assistance from the teacher. This will inculcate a sense of responsibility in them in terms of achieving their learning goal. As a teacher, one of their roles would be to coach and facilitate them throughout the learning process by providing information and giving useful guidelines in order for them to achieve their learning target.

By being more resourceful, Teachers will be able to achieve self-satisfaction and success in teaching. Teachers ae usually open to new ideas and suggestions therefore they would like to be more involved in educational activities, attend educational talks and participate in forums or conferences to further expand my knowledge. Moreover, being up-to-date with the latest information, keeping in touch with global issues and getting their hands on the latest technology are some of the ways for me to improve themselves. It is also said, Teachers could incorporate technology into classroom practice because , knowledge-wise, teachers should be at least two or three steps ahead of their students. Therefore I have to be well-prepared for every lesson by planning their time and materials efficiently to ensure that a successful lesson takes place. . Thus based on the above it is evident that curriculum design is based on a teachers philosophy. At Te Whāriki a similar philosophy is followed.

(Jamil, 209)

A major influence on our thinking has been the work of early childhood educators from Reggio Emilia. We are interested in how the theoretical underpinnings of their approach has manifested in New Zealand and other Western countries. The influence Reggio Emilia programmes have had on early childhood educators' thinking - in the design of educational equipment, use of colour, space and lighting in early childhood centres, and the growing awareness of the importance of aesthetics in educational environments, reinforces our own belief that the Arts and aesthetics education are integral to developing quality early childhood programmes.

We have titled this paper 'If the environment is the third teacher what language does she speak?' because we believe the early childhood environment gives children important messages and cues. In other words, the environment 'speaks' to children - about what they can do, how and where they can do it and how they can work together."What is in a space, a room or a yard, and how it is arranged can affect the behaviour of people; it can make it easier to act in certain kinds of ways, harder to act in others. We don't ordinarily think to take out a deck of cards at a dinner table set for six, even though the number and arrangement suggest a poker game. The whole setting gives us cues about expected behaviour, and generally we do what we have been invited to do…in a similar way, particular settings invite children to involve themselves in particular activities, and the extent ofchildren's constructive participation in the activity will depend in large part on how well certain concrete, measurable aspects of the surrounding physical space meet their "hunger, attitudes and interests…" (Education)