IYT2 Intro to Curriculum Theory Task One
Curriculum as praxis describes the interrelationship existing between teaching and learning, and the ideologies that govern content design and delivery (Gay, 2013). This paper describes four ideologies of the curriculum theory, their influence on structuring material for teaching and learning, and their role in classrooms. It develops a personal philosophy, structured around the following ideologies of curriculum theory: social reconstruction, social efficiency, scholar academic, and learner centered. In application of each ideology, the paper describes the role of the learner and the teacher in content design and delivery in achieving the main intended goal of education.
The ideology of social reconstruction assumes an unhealthy society owing to the inability of existing social mechanisms to contend with social incapacities, which reproduces a broken society repeatedly (Pinar, 2004). Social reconstruction proposes the use of education, and hence curricula, to eliminate these problems in society and prevent it from the continuous self-destructing process that would otherwise continue. The reconstruction process involves foresight of a better vision for society and the use of curricula to eliminate such deep-rooted social vices as racism, sexism, corruption, corporate exploitation, among others (Fundi, 2013). I will consider the praxis definition of curriculum for this ideology, where the teacher is a critical thinker, aware of the expectations of the student and society regarding content design and delivery, and hence able to propose actions that model future principles in a classroom setting. This includes showing movies that depict historical or political injustices in a classroom situation, conducting questionnaires with members of the public to collect their opinion on a contending matter in the classroom, and allowing students to debate out issues while considering their different backgrounds, cultures, and preferences. The teacher therefore plays a key role in developing critical and analytical minds in learners to evaluate the existing societal issues, and expose them to a different, probably hypothetically better situation that would exist subject to better societal considerations. The social reconstruction ideology works for classroom delivery since it opens the minds of both students and teachers to challenge the status quo and forge a new and preferably better society. Incorporating the public’s opinion in classroom debates on a corruption issue, for instance, exponentially increases the relevance of school learning material to the reconstruction process that gives more meaning to the entire education process. Group discussions and debates stimulate self-reconstruction first before reconstructing the society. The ideology introduces a cohesiveness that makes learning a social act both in the community and classroom without limiting it to firsthand experiences by the learner.
The social efficiency ideology concentrates on training learners to increase their competence at the workplace and in society in general (Marulcu & Akbiyik, 2014). It therefore emphasizes the use of various assessment procedures to gauge learners’ levels of understanding and curriculum development that is in line with the employment market rather than focusing on developing each learner’s individual abilities (Pace & Hemmings, 2007). This ideology compliments the social reconstruction ideology, actualizing the suggestions made through curricula changes and learning procedures. Although social efficiency remains an important philosophical pillar of the curriculum theory, it applies the least in the philosophy I intend to create in later sections. In my opinion, student evaluation cuts across all ideologies of curriculum design and delivery. Hence, there is no need to consider it as an independent contributor to the construction of a new philosophy (Fallace & Fantozzi, 2013).
The scholar academic ideology considers teachers as experts, well read in their field of specialization, and willing to impart this knowledge to the learners to create culturally literate citizens (Marulcu & Akbiyik, 2014). It idolizes the use of traditional means of curricula design and delivery in the classroom while embracing research and considering new developments in the field. For this ideology, I consider the definition of curriculum as knowledge designed for impartation through the process of education (Smith, 2017). Scholar academic ideology uses curriculum to develop the learner’s thinking capacity in a predesigned study area that aims at acculturating the learner into a defined study discipline. Hence, disciplines define learners. There is limited change in the curriculum based on social, political, or physical occurrences. Unfortunately, the curriculum concentrates so much on the discipline and strict lesson plans and ignores rather useful bits of information that would integrate the learning process into everyday activities, increasing its immediate relevance to life. The ideology prioritizes preservation of the academic discipline above its relevance to the apparent future (Fallace & Fantozzi, 2013). The application of this ideology will be limited to the democratic considerations that allow any learner to have access to any academic discipline of their choice, the inculcating nature of a thinking learner instilled by an expert teacher, and the preservation of certain segments of existing curricula to give a common basis of learning even in the future (Pace & Hemmings, 2007).
A learner centered curriculum is highly evolving as it typically depends on the learner’s self-expressed and apparent needs (Pinar, 2004). The teacher in this case guides the learner through the learning process, altering the teaching subjects, mechanisms, and goals to suit the learner’s needs. Notably, this nature demands change in certain or all parts of the curriculum with every new set of learners. This therefore transforms schools into curricula design institutions which embrace a highly volatile educational process and concentrate on meeting learners’ needs above any other objective. Due to its volatile nature, this ideology only applies in the creation of my new philosophy as an exception, with strict limitations, and in conjunction with social reconstruction and scholar academic ideologies as described in the sections below.
My personal philosophy of curriculum is the ‘Social and Learner Efficacy’ philosophy. It is inclusive and dynamic in nature, proposing that the definition and hence design of curricula depends on societal and learner needs. These two do not always coincide, although there is always a relationship brought about by the natural coexistence of the learner and the society that exists before the learner engages in classroom learning. Therefore, this philosophy builds on the assumption that society shapes a learner’s needs, and the curriculum solves these needs through impartation of knowledge to benefit society and instigate a unique patriotic tendency in the learner. It seeks to incorporate all elements of the ideologies discussed above, addressing the weaknesses of learner-centered and social efficiency ideologies.
Regarding content, I wish to incorporate real-life situations, topics, and examples in all lesson plans. The plans will also allow for self-selected topics within a wide range and include extra-curricular topics to break classroom monotony. According to the ‘Social and Learner Efficacy’ philosophy, the range of topics will include current and apparent future societal needs as well as student needs. Secondly, I wish to include complex thinking tasks and open-ended experiences in the lesson plans that will stimulate creativity in the learners.
Complex thinking aims at developing personalized problem-solving techniques boosted by the unique abilities presented in each learner. This improves individual learner abilities while solving issues in the society simultaneously.
Fallace, T., & Fantozzi, V. (2013). Was there really a social efficiency doctrine? The uses and abuses of an idea in educational history. Educational Researcher, 42(3), 142-150.
Fundi, S. (2013, October 16). Social Reconstruction Ideology of Education. Retrieved from Kibogoji Experiential Learning Inc: https://kibogoji.com/2013/10/16/dar-es-salaam-tanzania-atlanta-education-ideologies-kibogoji/
Gay, G. (2013). Teaching to and through cultural diversity. Curriculum Inquiry, 43(1), 48-70.
Marulcu, I., & Akbiyik, C. (2014). Curriculum Ideologies: Reexploring Prospective Teachers’ Perspectives. International Journal of Huanities and Social Science, Vol 4 No. 5 (1).
Pace, J. L., & Hemmings, A. (2007). Understanding authority in classrooms: A review of theory, ideology, and research. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 4-27.
Pinar, W. F. (2004). What is Curriculum Theory? New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Smith, M. M. (2017, June 7). Curriculum Theory and Practice. Retrieved from Curriculum Theory and Practice: http://infed.org/mobi/curriculum-theory-and-practice/
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