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Curriculum is defined as the following; a specific blueprint for learning that is derived from content and performance standards. Curriculum takes content and shapes it into a plan for effective teaching and learning. Thus, curriculum is more than a general framework, it is a specific plan with identified lessons in an appropriate form and sequence for directing teaching (Wiggins and McTighe, 1998).
The word 'curriculum' is actually a Latin word for 'racecourse'. Curriculum is the activities that learners will undertake to achieve their learning goals.
The planning, learners experience and order in which it occurs are all part of the curriculum. There are a huge and vast amount of elements that help shape a curriculum. There are many different methods and approaches to the design and implementation of curriculum and a lot is dependant on the teachers' approach of it. In the world of training, the curriculum can designed around the objectives of the clients specifications.
Most of the time curriculum is based on the organisational needs of learning and objectives, for example, their curriculum. Approval from external agencies, for example, awarding bodies give approval for the qualification to be delivered. The awarding bodies supply the syllabus or guidance which gives the teacher the information and framework for delivery and assessment of the subject matter. External agencies may provide funding in some cases and in this instance the course will only be provided once the funding has been attained.
Within the training in-house sector of teaching, it is normally the business and individual needs' that sets the benchmark for the requirement of bespoke training courses. In house training/teaching cater for the needs of the staff and in the majority a lot of the courses attained by the learners do not lead to formal qualifications.
In all of the above instances the organisation will supply the syllabus or course content to shape the curriculum. If the syllabus or course content is not available the teacher will have to develop their own based around the subject that has to be delivered. The aim of the teachers is to identify the learning needs, styles and the potential of the learners, this needs' to be achieved at the prior to the start of the students learning.
As an example of this a school's curriculum comprises both statutory elements (including the National Curriculum, religious education and careers educations) and non statutory elements (priorities defined by the school). An area where there will be a significance of equality and diversity in the design of the curriculum would be children with multi-sensory impairments. One of the fundamental principles of the code of practice is that all children, including those with special educational needs should be offered full access to a broad, balanced and relevant education. This is what the national curriculum was designed to provide. Some children who are multi-sensory-impaired will follow the National Curriculum, usually with additional support. Others will follow a modified form of it. Still others will follow more specialised developmental curricula which will include teaching a child things that non-disabled children already know by the time they start school.
Even children who follow the same curriculum as non-disabled peers, however, will usually need additional elements because of their sensory impairment. These may relate to:
mobility skills, communication, sensory development or other aspects specifically affected by deaf blindness
therapy needs - for example, physiotherapy
concepts usually learned incidentally - for example, the interpersonal and independence skills used at break or meal times
All teachers modify the curriculum in order to meet the range of learning needs in their class. Children who are multi-sensory-impaired are likely to need the curriculum modified on an individual basis, because each child's combination of hearing impairment, visual impairment, other disabilities and learning characteristics will be different.
There are many models which affect the delivery of curriculum, way in which a teacher must attain the end result, should and could deliver to the learners.
For example, the product model focuses hugely on the outcomes of a course. The product model is also referred to as the behavioural objectives model. An example could be of a first aid course, the teacher has to teach what must be taught in order to facilitate the learners to pass. Training in the workplace is very much honed to the product/behavioural model of curriculum development. The teacher focus predominantly on what must be taught rather than focusing on what should or could be taught
The behavioural model of learning concentrates on the measurable outcome of curriculum. The advantages of the behavioural model are that there is normally a general statement of intent and this is hopefully ensuring avoidance of vagueness. The assessment process is actually more precise. The learning should be step by step and it should focus on the previously learned material. Ralph Tyler (1971) stated that there is a guideline for curriculum development that the interacting influences of organized scholarship, the learner, and society should provide the dominant source and influence for curriculum development. Tyler organized his model into four fundamental questions, which he stated should be answered when designing curriculum:
What are your curriculum aims and objectives?
Which learning experiences meet these aims and objectives
How can these learning experiences be organised into a curriculum programme?
How can this programme be evaluated?
The Tyler theory to date is the most influential model of all in preparation of curriculum, the needs of society at the time of development and the needs of the learner at the time of development should be imperative. The ever evolving social psychology of our society must be accounted for, exactly what are the educational purposes needing to be attained. The focus should be related to previous learning and experiences and after analyse the factors how is the curriculum design going to encompass and attain the objectives that may not have been reached previously.
The philosophy of education will profoundly affect a student's life. It is providing the foundations, the aspects of knowledge and social experiences are needed to improve learner's futures. An example could be of training, the different settings and mutli-cultural workforce will have a variation on the curriculum. The curriculum will need to be designed in partnership with the employers, so a competency framework will be met. Aims and objectives will have to set within in the competency framework which over time changes with legislation and regulations. The learning experiences should organised into the curriculum and depth, complexity of the subject, ensuring that it covers all levels of learner's attainment. Then course needs to be evaluated, how will the course be evaluated and the key objectives attained?
Simplistically the Tyler theory in practice is the most fool proof design of curriculum. The curriculum can be subjective and open to interpretation. Needs analysis previous to design of curriculum is imperative, the findings should be summarised and should formulate part of the curriculum development documentation, which is practice is fantastic if you have the relevant information prior to course delivery. The world of training can be ad-hoc and trainers are not always privy to this information.
However, the behavioural model approach has received criticism. One of the arguments against the behavioural model is that the 'affective domain' cannot be considered adequately in terms of specific behaviours. The affective domain describes learning objectives that emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection, thus it cannot be assessed adequately and the behaviour model will discourage 'creativity' on the part of both learner and teacher. In the 1980's behaviourism was superseded by the humanistic approach to curriculum design and implementation.
The process model concentrates on course content, relevant knowledge and skills that can be learnt and applied. This model focuses on teacher's activities, the conditions in which the learning takes place and the learner activities. An example could include when a person pays for their course of study. The learner would be getting the benefit of what 'must' and 'should' be covered as well as 'what' could be delivered.
Stenhouse (1975) quoted the English dictionary when defining curriculum as 'a course; especially a regular course of study as at school or university'. Most of the time the course design/curriculum is what the governing bodies have decided should be taught. The sets what exactly as teachers in advance what learning is going to be planned, achieved and what goals should be produced to the subjected being taught.
Stenhouse challenged the view that teachers need to be objective in their view of curriculum, realistic even, to ensure that there is a balance between the 'intentions and realities' that the curriculum design will get the best outcomes for their students. He draws comparisons the process of curriculum as to a recipe in cookery, the recipe is followed and the result would be a dish.
In theory this can be a tried and tested, for example, how to you know if the curriculum design has achieved all the education goals until the there is a evaluation at the end of the course? How many pass grades and how many failures. Like making a cake it doesn't always rise the way you'd wished it to. Often when baking the ingredients need to be adjusted or the timings.
In 2001, DDA (Disability Discrimination Act). was introduced, fortunately this means that teaching must always be inclusive, counting for the needs all of learners The curriculum must encompass best practice principles of equality and diversity in all areas. Equality of opportunity and provision means giving every student the same learning environment, and is an important element of schooling. Equality and diversity means giving students what is necessary to extend them to their full potential. Some may need additional tuition to bring them to the standard of the rest of the group, while others may need additional tuition to take them beyond the group because they are capable of further development and learning.
It is imperative to ensure that all students are able to access the curriculum it is important to consider the curriculum content, as well as the teaching and learning practices used within a design.
With regards to design of curriculum we have to attain why and what. The educational ideology such as the fundamental values, beliefs and assumptions this is extremely prevalent in the world of care, the format is normally set out by the governing bodies such as the Commission of Social Care Inspection. Normally the needs that the course must met are the needs set out by the governing body to attain the best level of care for Service Users. For the main part with training, cost analysis plays heavy, is the course a requirement under the recommendations that have been implemented by the governing body?
Learners in this social care field are normally trying to achieve and meet performance criteria, the learning outcomes are normally behavioural as the learning is skill based. However the curriculum is not considered a complete entity and does not provide every opportunity relevant to qualifying as a health care worker. Ongoing learning will provide opportunities to evidence knowledge, skills, experience, values and ethics. Some of the methods used to deliver the curriculum are essential; others that are not are open to negotiation. A diversity of methods of learning is useful to meet the different learning styles of students. The main objective must be continuity for the learners' and teachers alike. Coordinated Curriculum is very much relevant in the Social Care Sector. Coordinated curriculum is the method of linking different subjects/contents together. It establishes the links between the subjects for example in Social Care it would link the psychology, sociology, biology and practice together. Coordinated curriculum means that there is a greater emphasis on the total context in which teaching and learning take place.
Realistically in Social Sector teachers/trainers will be using both product and process models. The process objective happens when you can't tell in advance will exactly the student will learn advance, health and social can unmanageable in the fact that you are dealing with human beings (patients/service users) and they don't always follow the curriculum recipe. Therefore, evaluation will be invaluable in ascertaining if effective learning has taken place. This should help identify any problems within the curriculum design, reflection on the needs of the organisation, the syllabus and learners.
Evaluation is should be the process through which teachers judge the quality of their work, their own work and their students. Formative evaluations, which involve a continual stream of reflection and feedback, and allow the educator or student to continually adjust and improve their work while it's ongoing. Traditionally, teachers have emphasized summative evaluations, where feedback is gathered only after instruction has been completed. Both strategies are necessary to provide for effective curriculum assessment and student education. A teacher's skill in the classroom assessment is essential to the goal of student success. In evaluating the curriculum can only lead to a teachers continuing professional development in the Life long learning sector.
If the evaluation and assessment of curriculum is to be meaningful, teachers must be able to relate their learning to their personal experience and practice. Kolb's Learning Cycle, outlines the four stages involved in any successful learning experience. Learning is defined as a process in which experience is changed into knowledge. In turn, knowledge creates a foundation and opportunity for learning. In Kolb's four-staged cycle, the individual reflects on experience and draws on conclusions, which can be used to influence future action. In this way, practice, reflection, theory and action become essential parts of professional development and therefore assist with the future of improving practice in inclusive curriculum design.
After reading and studying the different models of curriculum, one can draw comparisons from the Ralph Tyler's Basic Principles of Curriculum Instruction (1949). As a trainer clear definitive learning objectives are set out by the customer, the learning will hopefully be a useful experience to the candidate and will have a cumulative effect. Tyler's model applies the importance of evaluating the curriculum and revising any aspects that do not prove to be effective. Thus the importance of continuing professional development, evaluation, assessment and reflection play heavy in the product model of curriculum.
The other model used in training would be the process model by Laurence Stenhouse An introduction to Curriculum research and development (1975). Teachers or trainer have to have a high level of professionalism and competence in their specialist subject area. The content is defined in cognitive terms; the process is that the learner needs to go through to learn. As mentioned earlier in the assignment, Stenhouse draws comparison to making a cake and with the social care sector the same methodology can be used. If a candidate/learner has been taught to use a hoist but then drops the patient then this would question the realities and intentions of the curriculum.
In conclusion, it is important that the teacher is always involved at all stages of any curriculum development and review. This will ensure that quality assurance happens at all stages of development. The teacher therefore can be positive that all parts of curriculum contains all the relevant information such as the course goal, aims and objectives, rationale, entry requirements, evaluation, assessment etc. Any curricula should ensure that schools/higher education programs must be delivered in the most effective and up to date manner as possible. In reviewing the subject of curriculum it should enable a teacher to reflect on addressing the identified needs of the students within the educational establishments or programmes. Curriculum should also provide a tool for examining the quality and completeness of the curriculum's components for, example, instructional principles, functional knowledge, self-perceptions, attitudes, skills, and duration. Through constant analysis it will help to determine the degree of fidelity between the curriculum and its application in the classroom; and assess the impact of the curriculum on students' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour.
As David Ausubel (1969) suggested the learning process should be approached like a mental journey!
Geoff Petty quotes ' We should seek a win-win curriculum that puts the needs of individuals on equal terms with economic and other factors'. The quote really say it all as we are purely developing curriculum with the main objective of imparting knowledge and skills on the learners of the future which will hopefully have a positive effect on the economy in the 21st century.