Examination of relevant syllabi and curriculum guides
Examination of Relevant Syllabi and Curriculum GuidesSource: Marsh, C. (2004). Key Concepts forUnderstanding Curriculum, 3rd Ed. RoutledgeFalmer.LondonPrepared by: Leesha Roberts, Instructor II, UTT ,Valsayn Campus
What is Curriculum?(There are many definitions for Curriculum): Curriculum is those subjects that are most useful for living in contemporary society. The subjects that make up this curriculum are usually chosen in terms of major present-day issues and problems within society, but the definition itself does not preclude individual students from making their own choices about which subjects are most useful. (Marsh, 2004; p.5) Curriculum is all planned learnings for which the school is responsible. ‘Planned learnings’ can be long written documents specifying content, shorter lists of intended learning outcomes, or simply the general ideas of teachers about what students should know. Exponents of curriculum as a plan include Saylor, Alexander, and Lewis (1981), Beauchamp (1981), and Posner (1998).
Characteristics of Curriculum Walker (1990) argues that the fundamental concepts of curriculum include: content: which may be depicted in terms of concept maps, topics, and themes, all of which are abstractions which people have invested and named; purpose: usually categorized as intellectual, social and personal; often divided into superordinate purposes; stated purposes are not always reliable indicators of actions; organization: planning is based upon scope and sequence (order of presence over time); can be tightly organized or relatively open- ended.
Who Is Involved inCurriculum? Curriculum workers are many and include school-based personnel such as: teachers, principals, and parents university-based specialists, and community groups, Industry government agencies and politicians.
What is a Curriculum Framework A ‘curriculum framework’ can be defined as a group of related subjects or themes, which fit together according to a predetermined set of criteria to appropriately cover an area of study. Each curriculum framework has the potential to provide a structure for designing subjects and a rationale and policy context for subsequent curriculum development of these subjects. Examples of school-oriented curriculum frameworks include: ‘science’ (including, for example, biology, chemistry, physics, geology) and ‘commerce’ (including, for example, accounting, office studies, economics, computing).
Curriculum Framework (cont’d) A curriculum framework document usually includes: a rationale or platform; scope and parameters of the curriculum area; broad goals and purposes of subjects within the curriculum area; guidelines for course design; content; teaching and learning principles; guidelines for evaluation of subjects; criteria for accreditation and certification of subjects; future developments for the area.
The advantages of using curriculum frameworks are: students have access to a broader education by being able to select from a number of curriculum frameworks rather than a narrow range of traditional subjects; the curriculum will be more coherent and orderly because the framework for each curriculum area is arranged, usually from kindergarten to secondary levels, and priorities are established for each level; high-quality curriculum development is likely to occur because planning criteria and standards apply consistently across all curriculum frameworks;
there are opportunities for curriculum frameworks to include subjects which are highly prescriptive and those that allow considerable flexibility and variation at the school level; new content areas and skills can be easily accommodated in curriculum frameworks including various multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary variations; curriculum frameworks developed at a state or regional level have the potential to become accepted as national frameworks; there are opportunities to incorporate desirable skills into each framework such as communication and language skills, numeracy skills, problem-solving skills.
The advantages of using curriculum frameworks are: there are opportunities for curriculum frameworks to include subjects which are highly prescriptive and those that allow considerable flexibility and variation at the school level; new content areas and skills can be easily accommodated in curriculum frameworks including various multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary variations; curriculum frameworks developed at a state or regional level have the potential to become accepted as national frameworks; there are opportunities to incorporate desirable skills into each framework such as communication and language skills, numeracy
The Disadvantages of using Curriculum Frameworks are: If frameworks become too detailed they can become very directive for teachers; They can become an instrument of compliance and used as a means of control by central education authorities.
What is a Syllabus A syllabus is a written contract between teachers and learners that establishes competencies, class expectations, evaluation process, grading plan, required text(s) and supplies and other general class information.
Purpose of the Syllabus The syllabus serves the learners in several ways: It serves as a compass, directing you and the learners as you travel from the beginning to the end of the course. It informs the learners of the final goal
Purpose of the Syllabus It tells learners the path to take to meet the goal, the obstacles to overcome, and the requirements to reach the goal It tells the learner what kind of evidence will document that they reached the goal. It binds the learners who wish to succeed in a learning experience, to a path to follow. It binds the teacher to the same path. If instructors wish to change the path, this is their prerogative, but the change becomes part of a revised syllabus and must be communicated to the learner, preferably in writing.
Components of the Syllabus A syllabus should contain more than an outline of course topics, a calendar of dates or a lists of readings. An effective, well developed syllabus has seven components. They are: Instructor information Course information Performance expectations Time line Grading plan Course expectations General information
Trinidad and Tobago’s Scenario The Curriculum Development is charged with the responsibility to operationalise the Curriculum Development Process. Accordingly, the work of the division may be more adequately described as designing, developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing curricula that are appropriate and relevant to the needs and interests of a developing nation, such as ours.Source: www.moe.gov.tt accessed: 21/09/2010
Trinidad and Tobago’s CurriculumDevelopment Process
Design: This involves all the preliminary work that is carried out to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, appropriate and workable. At this stage, the curriculum is conceptualized and attention is paid to arrangement of the varied components. Considerations include the focus on the philosophical underpinnings, goals, objectives, subject matter, learning experiences and evaluation ; all established in consultation with stakeholders. At present, emphasis is being placed on the learner in curriculum development activities.
Develop: In this stage, curriculum development involves planning, construction and the logical step-by- step procedures used to produce written documents, as well as print and non-print resource materials. These documents may include vision statements, goals, standards, performance benchmarks, learning activities and instructional strategies, interdisciplinary connections, and other integration activities that guide curriculum implementation.
Implement: This is the stage in which all stakeholders become part of the process by making their contribution to operationalise the curriculum as designed and developed. The process is managed by the officers of the Curriculum Development Division. It requires interaction between officers of the division, principals, teachers, parents, students and the general public, all key in the education of the child. Since implementation is a change activity, the Curriculum Development Division also engages in in-service teacher education through seminars and workshops to facilitate the required alteration of individuals knowledge, skills and attitude.
Monitor: This can be seen as part of the implementation process. It is at this stage that officers visit schools to verify that classroom practice is consistent with the established goals and objectives of the national curriculum. Data is gathered to inform policy and decision making relative to the curriculum. The monitoring activities also capture best practices for generalization and develop the working relationship between officers of the Curriculum Division and school personnel, allowing for technical support at the school level to be provided where needed.
Evaluate: At this stage, officers engage in analyzing data collected on the field to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum design and its implementation as they relate to the child. The process entails comprehensive study of the data with the view of identifying possible deficiencies and root causes that can lead to corrective action. It is the findings from this exercise that directly influence the final stage of review.
Review: The information gained from data analysis is used to guide appropriate adjustments to the curriculum documents. Such adjustments incorporate the strengths and address any apparent weakness of the implemented curriculum. Because of technological developments and the resulting ease with which new information can be shared, continuously evolving curriculum is now possible. Updates, links to resource material and successful teaching and learning experiences can be easily incorporated in curricula. These considerations are all geared towards curriculum improvement and improved student performance in meeting national, developmental and educational goals.
Discussion of the Various Syllabi Technical Vocational Areas: