Curriculum Issues In Formulation Of Educational Goals

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Many educational researchers have been toiling in order to improve the system of education. There are many who have made plans for a better educational system based on the environment, society and so on. Apart from them, there are a number of people in the educational system who directly or indirectly acts towards the improvement of the curriculum.

"Curriculum is a plan for learning"1

Curriculum transcends different parts of the educational system that is the planning, the development and the evaluation of the educational programs. Often questions like what should be taught in schools, how it should be taught, to whom it should be taught, why it should be taught, when it should be taught are aroused.

My subject curriculum is Tamil. For teaching Tamil at the secondary level, books have already been prescribed by the Ministry of Education and by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. I feel that we educators should teach the content of the syllabus in a professional rather than in a technocratic manner.

Curriculum is considered as a syllabus which is revised every now and then towards educational goals for the betterment of the students. In the process of curriculum there are many factors which influence these educational goals. These factors occur at school level and at the classroom level also. For example, the weather, holidays, time factor, policy makers, pressure, school are some of the factors which directly or indirectly influence the formulation of educational goals. The factors influencing educational goals can be grouped in different ways such as environmental, ideological and pedagogical.

The pedagogical factors influence greatly the curriculum developers while formulating the educational goals. The pedagogical factors include the philosophical, psychological and sociological factors. In the school, I meet hundreds of people including students (learners), parents, teaching staffs, non- teaching staffs and so on. The educational goals are influenced in many different ways by their behaviours. For example, at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, the Gandhian values and teachings reflect on the schooling system. In many topics taught in class, Gandhi's principles are included. For instance, I am doing a comprehension based on 'disciplines in your studies' with the Form 3 students. It is obvious that I will take into consideration the Gandhian philosophy.

At the school, in the Tamil syllabus, we are more driven to systematic teaching and learning. That is I come in class, deliver my teachings, assess the students and grade them. But the philosophical ideas behind the setting of the Tamil language are totally different. In fact, these ideas are to empower students with the necessary skills in order to take control of their own learning and to put them into practice which are shown through students'behaviours. Our Tamil society is very much traditional based. Our traditions are reflected in our syllabus and in our scheme of work also. For example, at the beginning of the year, I start the class of Form 1 by doing bridging the gap classes followed by the Cavadee festival. This is so because in January, there is the fasting and celebration of the Cavadee festival. Linking both of them will help my Form 1 students to better understand the theme and consequently my objectives will be well achieved.

In my class, I often deal with beginner students that is, students who have never or partly learnt Tamil or they did not succeed in Tamil at the final year examinations. For these kinds of students, I firstly do some activities which include dictation, quiz, and educational games using Tamil Language as much as I can. Moreover I use self assessment surveys in my beginner classes.

SELF ASSESSMENT SURVEY

1. School-wide discipline systems: Within the disciplines of the school, I try to adjust all my planning effectively.

2. Non-classroom management systems: Normally for my beginner students, I step out of the class, usually under trees, in the yard, in the canteen or even in the playground. This helps them mentally since they are not closed within the four walls of the class.

3. Classroom management system: With my students, the topics dealt with, will be completely different from the mainstream ones. Learning of the Tamil Language is done in different ways such as words findings, drawing, and colouring, hide and seek and so on. Like this, my students are so much involved in these interesting activities that classroom management becomes an easy task.

4. Systems for individual students engaging in chronic problem behaviours: For such category of students, the activities are done in a very light manner. They are more indulged in activities that will give them less difficulties and more joy. These students are also given more attention and more guidance.

The aims and objectives behind this self- assessment survey will somehow influence the educational goals in a positive way. I believe that the learner should discover himself instead of the purely cultural heritage and holistic development. I also think that education should not be concerned with only subjects learnt at school. The learner also is having his own experiences (discovery learning). (Rousseau, 1762). But finally we have to abide to the syllabus prescribed. The lesson plan which follows shows clearly how a normal form 1 beginner class is being conducted.

LESSON PLAN

Learning Area: Tamil Date: 19.01.2011

Class: Form 1 beginner Time: 12.00-12.40 p.m.

Number of students: 2

TOPIC: Grammar- Sentence Making

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to identify and discriminate between the subject and the object. Moreover they have to be ale to make use of the verbs to form a sentence.

TEACHING AIDS: Whiteboard, marker, eraser, textbook of Std 3, colourful pencils

PREPARATIONS:

1. Check prior knowledge - Students have completed the work on identifying subject, object and verb.

2. Attention to be given to the steps, resources and demonstrations to be used - Through examples from the prescribed book, students will be more familiar to the explanations. Prepare ten examples with real life applications.

LESSON CONTENT: Formation of sentences using subject-object-verb. Simple sentences are given in the 1st comprehension 'One school day'in the Std 3 book.

PROCEDURE:

TIME: 10 MINS

1. Reviewing previous lesson - Homework, previous learning or knowledge for this lesson or re teaching the mistakes areas- Through questioning and correcting the homework, understanding and application of subject-object-verb are learnt.

5 MINS

2(a) Presenting the topic- Reading the comprehension-Locating the subjects-objects-verbs in the comprehension- Explanation of the application of subject, object, verb in a simple sentence.

2 MINS

(b) Referring to the Std 3 book for examples.

8 MINS

3. Class work: highlight or underline the subject, object and verb with different colour pencils and jot down all the simple sentences.

5 MINS

4. Guidance:

Examples are given in case of difficulties.

Guide, prompt and question to situate them.

Aim at students answering at the maximum level- Students, to come in front of the class to write the example on the whiteboard.

EVALUATION: 10 MINS

A quick review of the steps explained, by asking examples of a simple sentence. This can be referred to the students own actions. For example,

I am doing my lessons.

The teacher asks questions.

My mother gave me bread.

REMARKS: About performance and behaviour of learners in class.

While formulating the aims of education, I look upon the specialised knowledge which will later contribute to economical growth, a better person and critical thinking. In class group works develop certain types of skills of the learner. They construct their knowledge when they learn in groups (Vygotsky's theory). When living in groups, common goals are achieved for the benefit of the society. Education has got a social function. It makes one fitting everywhere. School acts as a social ladder.

DEVELOPMENT OF CURRICULUM MODEL IN MY TEACHING

Curriculum model is the planning of the lesson which will be done in class. This helps both the teacher and the learner to situate them in different ways. For instance lesson plans help in ameliorating the topics done and hence changes also can take place. In my school the curriculum model has been planned in terms of values, principles and disciplines.

The curriculum is important because it enables teachers to excel to an extent in the preparations and achievements of the SMART goals. Moreover the elements found in the curriculum are inter-related. In fact at school, teachers are more prone to follow Tyler's linear model of writing logical and systematic lesson plans since it is teacher centred and helps to be accountable to complete the syllabus.

LESSON PLAN

Learning Area: Tamil Date: 26.05.2010

Class: Form 2 Time: 13.10-14.30 p.m.

Number of students: 7

TOPIC: Grammar - Case markers (prepositions)

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to differentiate between the case markers and make use of them in different sentences.

TEACHING AIDS: Whiteboard, marker, eraser, textbook of Form 2.

ORGANISATION OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES:

1. Check prior knowledge - Students have completed the lesson of using case markers with nouns

2. Lay emphasis on the steps and explanations to be used - Illustrations from the prescribed book (page142 no 8.4), will help the students to get a clearer view of the explanations. Prepare concrete examples for easy applications.

LESSON CONTENT: 8 types of case markers and their applications in sentences

PROCEDURE:

TIME: 15 MINS

1. Reviewing previous lesson - Homework, checking prior knowledge and explanation of the confused areas. By asking questions and reviewing mistakes done in the homework, students are less doubtful.

12 MINS

2(a) Continuation of the previous topic- Using examples from a comprehension which has already been done make the task become easier-Locating the case markers in the comprehension - Explanation of the application of case markers in simple sentences.

3 MINS

(b) Referring to the book for examples.

REMARKS: About performance and behaviour of learners in class.

20 MINS

3. Activity: underline sentences using case markers, looking at the examples and using your understanding of the lesson, write down your own sentences..

15 MINS

4. Guidance:

Examples are given in case of difficulties.

Guiding and questioning to help those in difficulties.

Aim at students answering at the maximum level- Students one by one, come in front of the class and write the example on the whiteboard.

EVALUATION: 10 MINS

A quick review of the steps explained and asking examples orally, referring to the students' own ideas.

REMARKS: 5mins

Performance and behaviour of learners in class.

This Tyler's model is very direct and easy. It will be even helpful for another teacher to explain this topic in case the teacher is not present. But, the Tyler's model appears to be more teacher-centred. It is more helpful to teachers than to the learners.

I find that a mix model of writing a lesson plan of Tyler and Taba with Wheeler's positive influence is more appropriate for the learner. The algorithmic nature of Taba's model is very logical, valuable and is in favour of the future generations.

LESSON PLAN

Learning Area: Tamil Date: 26.05.2010

Class: Form 2 Time: 13.10-14.30 p.m.

Number of students: 7

TOPIC: Grammar - Case markers (prepositions)

DIAGNOSIS OF NEEDS: This allows the teacher to satisfy the needs of the learners and even clear their doubts.

FORMULATION OF OBJECTIVES: The teacher will decide according to the response from the diagnosis of students'needs if he will go forward with the common objectives to differentiate between the case markers and make use of them in different sentences or he should re- explain the previous lesson.

SELECTION OF LESSON CONTENT: 8 types of case markers and their applications in sentences.

TEACHING AIDS: Whiteboard, marker, eraser, textbook of Form 2.

ORGANISATION OF CONTENT:

(1) 8 types of case-markers

(2) Application in sentences

SELECTION OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES:

1. Prior knowledge.

2. Lay emphasis on the steps and explanations to be used.

ORGANISATION OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES:

1. Students have completed the lesson of using case markers with nouns

2. Illustrations from the prescribed book (page142 no 8.4), will help the students to get a clearer view of the explanations. Prepare concrete examples for easy applications.

PROCEDURE:

TIME: 15 MINS

1. Reviewing previous lesson - Homework, checking prior knowledge and explanation of the confused areas. By asking questions and reviewing mistakes done in the homework, students are less doubtful.

12 MINS

2(a) Continuation of the previous topic- Using examples from a comprehension which has already been done make the task become easier-Locating the case markers in the comprehension - Explanation of the application of case markers in simple sentences.

3 MINS

(b) Referring to the book for examples.

20 MINS

3. Activity: underline sentences using case markers, looking at the examples and using your understanding of the lesson, write down your own sentences..

15 MINS

4. Guidance:

Examples are given in case of difficulties.

Guiding and questioning to help those in difficulties.

Aim at students answering at the maximum level- Students one by one, come in front of the class and write the example on the whiteboard.

EVALUATION: 10 MINS

A quick review of the steps explained and asking examples orally, referring to the students' own ideas.

REMARKS: 5mins

Performance and behaviour of learners in class.

SELECTION AND USE OF TEACHING METHODS

Educators have to develop life long learners (keri, 2002). I believe that if the selection and teaching strategies are well set, the goals will also be attained. In my class, I select and use different teaching methods in order to satisfy the different needs of my different students. Each topic holds its own teaching strategies. There are many teaching strategies such as collaborative learning, group work, expository, brainstorming, small group corporative learning, project works, lecturing, role play and other numerous methods.

I choose the role play method in the explanation of a comprehension based on drama in a Form 4 class. Through this, many of my goals are achieved. Students are able to converse with each other correctly; they are learning new words and expressions; they are able to answer the questions; finally they even learn the model of writing a dialogue which is part of the paper 1 Form 4 &5 syllabus. Moreover, it provides opportunity for people to assume roles of others and thus appreciate point of view of another person. In one topic, I am able to fulfil many objectives.

A topic to write an essay of 200 words about the advantages and disadvantages of living in an extended family in the 21st century are given to the students. Here, the discussion based learning and thinking critically allow everyone to participate in an active process. Moreover collaborative learning also takes place. Even group work also is advantageous. Hence my students develop different skills, knowledge and attitudes; consequently they react and participate actively in my class.

IMPORTANCE OF CURRICULUM EVALUATION AT CLASSROOM LEVEL

Evaluation is one among the most important part of a lesson plan. It is found in all the types of curriculum models. Evaluation can be done at the start, during and at the end of the lesson plan. It is the tool to give feedback on the teaching and learning which are done. Even evaluation should have SMART goals.

Evaluation can be done in different manners. Even if it is teacher centred, it allows teacher to judge how much and how far students are learning and progressing. Formative evaluation enables teachers to question and observe the learners. It helps to adjust, re-orient the class and change strategies completely. While evaluating, questions asked to everyone must be answered individually. ( Taba Model). Assessment is a subset of evaluation. To be able to judge we have to measure. So through continuous assessments in class, teachers are able to mark, grade and measure the level of the student. (Even though this kind of testing capacity of students are not acceptable by many curriculum theorists, they are used everywhere in the normal educational system)

At classroom level the evaluation system is important because it allows breaking larger content into smaller and attainable objectives. It also promotes remedial classes. This is in the interest of the learner since it improves learning. Self evaluation also is very important. It helps the teacher to improve his own ways of teaching.

Examples of evaluation are not only assessment or exam based. They also include remedial classes as said previously and re explaining lessons which are not understood. We find out about that through diagnosis of needs.

CONCLUSION

The curriculum studies help teachers in a great manner to excel in their field. Through the steps of planning, the lesson plan holds a very important part of the teaching and learning process. Developing the curriculum in details has also helped me to improve my ways of teaching and delivering of my lessons also. The evaluation system gave a clear view of the special needs of my students. Overall I can say that for a successful system of education, implementation of all these aspects have to be done.

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