PRINCIPLES OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION: MODULE 4: Factors Influencing Curriculum Development and Evaluation


Curriculum foundations
These are considerations of education programmers’ and policies in light of an interdisciplinary attempt involving philosophical, psychological, sociological and historical understandings.

Philosophical foundations
These are elements of philosophy which have bearing on choices made in regard to the purposes and content to the schools.
Philosophy is the starting point in any curriculum decision making and is the basis for all subsequent decision regarding curriculum.

Four (4) Philosophical perspectives:
        i.            Perenialisms
      ii.            Essentialisms
    iii.            Progressivism
    iv.            Reconstractionism

This is rooted in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.
The main proponents are:
        i.            Robert Hutchins
      ii.            Mortimer Adler
Perenialists believe that, human beings are rational and the end of education is to improve man as man.
Perenialists advocate the permanency of knowledge that have stood the taste of time and values that have moral and spiritual basis.
The underline idea is that education is constant, absolute and universal
Teacher is viewed as an authoritative in his/her particular discipline and teaching is held as an art of imparting information/ knowledge and stimulating discussion.
On this perspective, students are considered as immature as they lack judgment required on what should be studied.
They believe that there is only one common curriculum for all students with a little room for elective subjects. Their emphasis is on tasting students, enforcing tough academic standards identifying and encouraging talented students.

Based on philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
The main proponents are:
        i.            William Bagley
      ii.            Arthur Bestor
    iii.            Admiral Recover
In essentialisms, learning should consist of the mastering the subject matter that reflect the currently available knowledge in various disciplines.
Essentialisms is grounded in conservatives’ philosophy that argues schools should not try to radically reshape society rather they should transmit traditional moral values and intellectual knowledge that students need to become modern citizens.
They believe that, teachers should impart the traditional values such as respect, fidelity to duty, consideration for others and practicality. They insist that teachers should transmit knowledge related t issues in the society.
They focus more in content in academic issues, academic legacy for both slow and fast learners.
Teaching is teacher centered and teachers decide what is most important for students to learn with little emphasis on students’ interests.
Not emphasize on the interests of students because:
        i.            Wastage of time
      ii.            Disturb attention of students to learn

Philosophical basis is pragmatisms
It is a philosophical belief that argues that education must be based on the facts that humans are by nature social and learn based in real life activities with other people.
Philosophy based from John Dewey
Also believe reality is constantly changed and that we learn based through applying our experiences and thoughts to problems as they arise.
Progressivists emphasize on the study of natural and social sciences. They also advocate that, teachers should plan lessons that arouse curiosity and push students towards high order thinking and knowledge constructions.
For example, rather than students reading books only they must go further learning by doing. Eg. Field trip.
Students are encouraged to interact with one another, need learners to form discussions.
Students should share knowledge between one another.
Methods of teaching
        i.            Should focus on problem solving
      ii.            Experimenting
    iii.            projects

Philosophical basis is pragmatisms
Proponents are:
        i.            Theodore Pramets
      ii.            George Counts
Reconstractionalists favor reform and argue that students must be taught how to bring about change rather than teaching students to respect authority.
Reconstractionism is a philosophy that believes in the rebuilding in social and cultural infrastructures.
Students are to study social problems and to think on ways to improve on society and they believe that students cannot afford to be neutral but must take position.
The curriculum is also based on social and economic issues as well as social services.
The curriculum should be constantly changing to meet the changes in the society. Teachers are considered the prime agents for social change, cultural renew and internationalisms.
They encourage challenging the outdated structures and entrusted with the task bringing about a new social order.
Curriculum emphasize social sciences such as history, political sciences, economics, sociology, religion, ethics, etc

Psychological foundations for curriculum development
These are considerations of psychological issues in teaching and learning process.
Curriculum developers need to know how humans learn so that they can incorporate psychological principles when they design, develop and implement curriculum

Four (4) psychological perspectives:
        i.            Behaviourism perspectives.
      ii.            Cognitivism perspectives
    iii.            Constructivism perspectives
    iv.            Humanism perspectives
Behaviourism perspectives
Proponents are Pavlov, Skinner
These argue that behaviour can be conditioned by altering the environment. In other words, by manipulating and giving a certain stimulus for certain response to be produced.
They also believe that, motivation to learn assumed to be driven by drives such as hunger, reward and punishment.
        i.            They believe to use a system of reward to encourage the students to learn
      ii.            When learning actual material provide immediate and frequency feedback
    iii.            When teaching, a teacher must break down complex materials to simple ones.
    iv.            Teachers have to put sequencing materials to encourage learning
      v.            Reinforce a student when demonstrate a desirable behavior
    vi.            State the learning outcomes and objectives when planning a lesson.
  vii.            Believe on the environment as the key learning factor

Cognitivism perspectives ( J. Piaget, J Brunner, Vygosky)
They believe that, it is necessary to investigate how learners make sense for what they learn.
Although some event are difficult to measure and not seen
Different principles under this perspective:
        i.            When teaching, a teacher should first gain attention of students at starting point by use of cues and signals and change tones during teaching
      ii.            When teaching, bring a learner to the relevant prior knowledge/ learning.
    iii.            Point out important information when you teach. For example, after teaching, you can provide a handout
    iv.            Present information in an organised manner. i.e from simple to complex.
      v.            Provide opportunities of students to contribute or elaborate for new information.

Constructivism perspectives (Jean Piaget)
Believes that is active construction of knowledge and social activity
Learners are not passive recipients of information but are active agents engaging in constructing their own knowledge.
Construction of knowledge is done through 3 mechanisms:
        i.            Assimilation
      ii.            Accommodation
    iii.            Equilibrium

Assimilation-fitting a new experience into the existing mental structure
Accommodation- revising an existing schema because of the new experience
Equilibrium- seeking cognitive stability through assimilation and accommodation

Learning is a social activity. They believe that community is the basic source of students’ learning in compassing the values, believes, norms, habits and behaviours of the cultures.
Learning is enhanced when students learn how to learn together, engage in serious discussions, examine important topics and have shared responsibilities for applying what they know in new information.
In this perspective, there are 2 issues:
        i.            Individual
      ii.            Society learning
In this perspective, there is encouragement of autonomy and initiatives to students.
As teachers have to respect student ideas and encourage learning independently. Also higher order thinking is encouraged.
 A teacher should challenge students to make connections, analyze, predict, justify and make sure that students can defend what they are speaking.
Encourage a dialogue between a teacher and student.
Curriculum emphasizes big concepts, begging from the whole and expanding the parts. In curriculum, knowledge is seen as a dynamic and ever-changing with experiences

Humanism perspectives
Proponents are such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Arthur Combs
Humanistic approach to learning refers to a wide variety of ideas and techniques. They believe that the learning is a person who has a feeling, attitudes and emotional change.
Emotional such as self efficacy, self assurance, intrinsic and extrinsic emotion determine how the students approach learning

Arthur Combs
Believes that, how person perceives himself/herself is most important and that the basic purpose of teaching is to help students to develop a positive concept
Role of a teacher is to facilitate, encourage, help, collide and friend of his/her students.

Arthur Combs listed six characteristics of a good teacher:
        i.            They are well informed about their subjects
      ii.            They are sensitive to the feeling of the students and colleagues
    iii.            They believe that students can learn
    iv.            Have a positive self concept
      v.            They believe in helping enhancing all students do their bests
    vi.            They use many different methods of instruction

Humanism in classroom situation or curriculum
·         They are needed to establish a worth, democratic, positive and non threatening environment which learners’ self concept, self esteem are considered essential factors in learning.
·         Teachers have to facilitate learning
·         Also a teacher should be role model and set good examples
·         They believe that students and teachers plan together the experience and activities to curriculum
·         They argue that learning is based on life experiences, discovery, exploring and experimenting

There are various factors that can influence the development of curriculum such as:-
        i.            Societal factors
      ii.            Political factors
    iii.            Economic Factors
    iv.            Technological Factors
      v.            Environmental Factors
    vi.            Teacher, learner, parent, inspectors

A curriculum that is designed or developed for use in an education system is usually a product of various forces that emanate from the society. Society has its own expectations about the aims and objectives that should be considered when designing the curriculum. It also has a perception of what the product of the school system should look like. It is therefore necessary for curriculum designers to take into account these societal considerations. If this does not happen, the curriculum becomes irrelevant. The knowledge, skills, values and attitudes imparted to learners are expected to prepare them to fit in the society. For example; emphasis may be placed on moral and social aspects with a view to conserving socialization. Therefore, design of curricular materials and their presentation should accommodate the culture of the society that the curriculum is seeking to serve. You should, however, be sensitive to the fact that the curriculum can be used to perpetuate inequalities. You may have a curriculum that is gender biased against female children because it includes instructional materials that portray negative attitudes towards women and girls. It is therefore possible for culture to have both positive and negative influences on the curriculum.
        i.            Pressure Groups (Special Interest Groups)
The curriculum developers are subject to pressures from special interest groups from the community and from further afield, especially over controversial issues that arise. Consider the number of groupings in the society in which you live. These can be professional associations, cultural groups, donor countries, employers, non-governmental organizations and religious organizations. Organizations such as religious bodies, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), employers, professional organizations and trade unions have an interest in education. They pursue policies with the aim of improving quality of curriculum content and implementation based on their ideologies. These groups can bring their views to bear on curriculum design. Special interest groups have their own agenda that they may wish to see followed in schools. Such groups may attempt to impose their own curriculum in schools. This is so because any curriculum of value must result from the broad consultation of a wide range of stakeholders.
Such issues concern:-
      The inclusion of a particular book in a course or on school library.
      The adoption of a new teaching method.
      The introduction of curricular units dealing with sexuality, race, politics, religion, gender equality, environmental issues, ICT etc.
      In extreme cases curricula already being taught can be vetoed by powerful groups.

      ii.            Professional Associations
Professional organizations bring together members of their profession and play a significant role in the development, implementation and maintenance of the curriculum.
The professional associations are such as:-
      Teachers Union e.g. Chama cha Kitaalamu cha Walimu Tanzania (CHAKIWATA)
      Mathematical Association e.g. Mathematical Associations of Tanzania (MAT).
      Science Association
      Historical Association of Tanzania (HAT),
      Baraza la Kiswahili Tanzania
     Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) etc.
These associations publish journals and informative circulars in their various professions to update members on professional issues.
Hold annual conferences or workshops and convene their own commissions to study problems and to make recommendations.
      They influence curriculum design by laying emphasis on specific areas of curriculum context.
       All these activities influence teachers’ administrations, and teacher educator curricular decision makers.

    iii.            Non-Governmental Organizations and United Nations agencies
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as HAKIELIMU; donor agencies such as UNICEF and UNESCO, and World Bank; and community based organizations have been instrumental in the development and provision of education through:-
       providing T/L facilities.
      Contributing ideas towards policy formulation such as those on children and gender issues.
      Facilitating staff and student exchange programmes.
      Offering scholarships.
      Funding of some education projects.

    iv.            Publishing Companies
      Publishers publish, print and distribute educational books and materials in line with demands of the syllabi for the different levels of learning.
      Although publishers may portray their only interest as creating the finest textbooks available for use within the curriculum chosen by school / institution / nation, their interests obviously extend to capturing the largest possible market.
      Publishers are constantly concerned that specific topics included in their texts match the topics that decision makers include in school curricular.
      Sometimes they attempt to influence educators’ selection of textbooks by involving promotions such as providing free sample of copies of texts to teachers, by including supplementary materials (such as teachers’ guide, audiotapes, or/and videotapes.

Textbooks still dominate majority of classrooms. Textbook content has great impact on student learning. Textbooks may contain:
      unfamiliar examples
      Unelaborated vocabulary
      Too many facts and insufficient big ideas
      Choppy writing styles
      Gender stereotyping

      v.            News Media
      On the surface the principal function of the news media appears to be reporting notable events to the public. However, news media indirectly exert influence on curriculum decision makers because of what they have chosen to report about education and how they have chosen to report it.
      The news media are not above suspicion about their own motives in curriculum issues.
      The news media rarely deal with complex issues involved in education, yet the complexity is precisely what curriculum decision makers must deal with if their decisions are to be soundly based.
      News media create unrealistic expectations in the public about education, while in other times picking up and heightening unrealistic expectations in the public about education.

    vi.            Individuals may influence the curriculum in various ways such as:
      Establishing privately owned schools;
      Participating in curriculum implementation as resource persons; and
      Contributing funds for educational issues.

How Political Factors Influence Curriculum Design
Education is regarded as a political activity.
Educational policies are subject to influence from politicians and political groups. This is because education can be used to further political ideologies. This, in turn, influences power structures in the society. Any changes in policies or political ideologies influence the education system.
National ideology and philosophy have a tremendous influence on the education system because:
·         Politics determines and defines the goals, content, learning experiences and evaluation strategies in education.
·         Curricular materials and their interpretation are usually heavily influenced by political considerations.
·         Political considerations may play a part in the hiring of personnel.
·         Funding of education is greatly influenced by politics.
·         Entry into educational institutions and the examination systems are heavily influenced by politics.
The list above is not exhaustive, but it helps you to appreciate how politics influence curriculum design.

How Economic Factors Influence Curriculum Design
One of the reasons why education is financed by governments is to improve the country’s economy. Therefore, the national curriculum should concern itself with the requirements of the economy.
The economy of the country affects the curriculum in the following ways:-
      The children you teach will need to be employed.
       The skills needed by industry should be translated into the content and learning experiences of these children.
       The skills, knowledge base and attitudes required by industry should be developed in the classroom.
       Employers have basic requirements.
      Educational institutions find themselves working to meet these basic requirements academically and professionally.
      The market forces dictate what should be included in the national curriculum. It also subtly determines the quantity of learners at different levels.
       As a teacher, you require classroom supplies such as: textbooks, charts, equipment, and chemicals for science experiments. These materials are products of industry. Without these materials, learning is compromised. It is therefore crucial that serious consideration.
      Also, the state of the economy determines the shape and direction of the curriculum.
      In a country with scarce resources and multiplicity of demands, for example, curriculum development activities are restricted.
      Curriculum planners should ensure resources are available and affordable when they recommend resource materials for various instructional programmes.

How Technological Factors Influence Curriculum Design
      Curriculum development should accommodate technological advancements.
      These may relate to pedagogy or unrelated to pedagogy but which influence knowledge.
      An example of this is the use of computers in schools.
      The computer is the latest technological innovation that will have a significant impact on education and society.
       If you are not computer literate, you may feel that you are not up-to-date
        A number of schools have introduced computing as one of the subjects.

How Technological Factors Influence Curriculum Design
      The intention is to equip the learners with the requisite computer skills and knowledge.
       In addition to computers, other forms of electronic media are being used in teaching. These have provided a variety of learning experiences and have facilitated individualized learning.
       Curriculum designers cannot afford to ignore technology and its influence on the curriculum.

How Environmental Factors Influence Curriculum Design
      Over time, people have become insensitive to their surroundings and natural resources.
       This has affected the sky, the land and the sea.
       The end result is that humanity is being adversely affected by these in-considerations.
       Industrial wastes have polluted the world. For example, the ozone-layer in the atmosphere, which protects us from harmful radiation from the sun, is being depleted.
       People want this redressed. It is through education that remediation can be effected.
       Consideration for the environment must of necessity influence curriculum design to ensure the survival of future generations.

      Advocates of professional control argue that teachers are in the best position to understand local needs, and that they will be more committed and motivated when they are given autonomy in the discharge of their professional undertakings.
      The most important element in the education process is the people charged with the task of affecting desirable changes in children and youth at classroom level, namely, the teachers.
      It is the teacher’s knowledge, insight and skills which determines to large extent what learning actually takes place in a given teaching situation.
      Indeed, it is now widely acknowledged in educational circles that teachers largely determine the curriculum.
The role of the teacher in the general development and implementation of the curriculum may be viewed from two main perspectives:

  1. School –based curriculum
  2. Central-based curriculum

School-Based Curriculum
      In school-based model of curriculum development teachers are involved at all stages, the degree of involvement being lowest in the first stage and highest at the classroom level (the implementation stage).
      Teachers are responsible for all curriculum activities from planning to evaluation.
      Teachers translate the broad national goals of education into specific objectives and content for consumption by learners.

Central-based Curriculum
In this perspective the teacher’s role is dominant mainly at the implementation stage. Teachers carry out the following activities:-
At Planning Level:
      Being members of curriculum project teams and curriculum development panels.
      Participating in conferences, seminars, syllabus and material development workshops.
      Producing materials such as teachers’ guides or manuals.
      Piloting: Some teachers may be involved in piloting exercise.
      The Role of the Teacher at School/Classroom Level

The degree of teacher's involvement is highest at the school or classroom level:
      Teachers prepare schemes of work and lesson plans.
     They specify objectives for each unit or topic in the scheme and for each lesson;
     They indicate the content to be covered and the order this is to be tackled or presented;
      They employ teaching-learning strategies to be used, and the teaching learning materials required.
      They then implement the scheme or plans in class.
      Adapting the curriculum to the school situation by enriching it using local examples, applying it to the local situation and using local materials.
      Creating, selecting and modifying instructional strategies for use in class in line with abilities of the learners.
      Improvising resources and providing alternative resources for use in the learning situation.
      Guiding and counselling learners.
      Being good role models.

Assessment and Evaluation
      Through the use of accepted procedures, such as tests, examinations and observations teachers are able to establish problems inherent in the curriculum.
      Teachers also participate in the process of setting moderating, administering and marking external examinations which are set centrally.
      The teacher evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the materials, the teaching learning approach adopted, student achievement, etc.
      He / She is involved in the quality control stage through interaction with school inspectors. By providing feedback to inspectors regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum programme they are implementing; hence providing the basis for revision of the curriculum.

Teachers and the Curriculum in Tanzania
      In a centralized system of education of a developing country such as Tanzania curricula are usually centrally developed and prescribed to schools.
      This kind of practice is, to a large extent, responsible for the common impression that teachers are only marginally involved and, apparently, are of marginal importance in curriculum development.
      The practice and consequently, the impression based on it, are the roots of the popular misconception that curriculum development ends with issuing of syllabuses to schools.
       At the policy level; as in the stage of determination of aims in the systematic model, there is hardly any teacher involvement.
      The national policies and decisions, including the policy and decisions on aims of education, are issued by the ruling party which is the final authority in national policy matters.
      At the TIE level there is considerable teacher participation in curriculum development both directly and indirectly through participation in ad hoc committees formed by the ministry itself for syllabus development and revision, for textbook and other materials written, and for syllabus and materials evaluation.
      Teachers are also involved in curriculum development at the TIE level through participation in panel and other activities of the TIE - conferences, seminars, syllabus and material development workshops.
      Curriculum development at the TIE is undertaken through the use of subject panels. These panels consist of curriculum developers, and practicing teachers. University staff and ministry personnel also provide essential information and data needed by the TIE. Faculties of Education and other bodies and individuals doing studies on school curricula and related areas also provide input.

At School/Classroom Level
      The Role is the same as generally stated in previous sections.
      Teacher involvement in curriculum development at the school or classroom level is also promoted through membership of  professional associations, such as the Historical Association of Tanzania (HAT), Mathematical Associations of Tanzania (MAT), Chama cha Kitaalamu cha Walimu Tanzania (CHAKIWATA) and so on.
      Through the use of accepted procedures, such as tests, examinations and observations teachers are able to establish problems inherent in the curriculum.
      Teachers also participate in the process of setting moderating, administering and marking external examinations which are coordinated by NECTA
      The teacher evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the materials, the teaching learning approach adopted, student achievement, etc.
      He is involved in the quality control stage through interaction with school inspectors. By providing feedback to inspectors regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum programme they are implementing; hence providing the basis for revision of the curriculum.

The Role of School Inspectors in Curriculum Development and Evaluation
      School inspection is a vital means for monitoring the delivery of education according to stipulated curriculum and set standards.
      It also ensures efficiency and quality delivery in education.
The general function of school inspectors is to ensure adherence to set policy, laws, regulations and standards of education in the school system of a given country.
To achieve this, school inspectors are required to carry out the following specific functions:
      To inspect all schools and write reports with a purpose of advising on matters which require decision making for improvement.
      To inspect, educate and advise owners, managers, school boards/committees and teachers on good implementation of schools development plans.
      To initiate and conduct educational research and disseminate the information for the purpose of improving teaching standards in schools.
      To act a link between the school, other institutions and the Ministry.
      To take part in book writing, book review and production of handouts and articles for various academic subjects.
      To pursue personal professional and academic development.
      To conduct in-service training for teachers.
      Carry out supervisory visits to improve the quality of teaching in schools.

The Role of the Learner in curriculum Development and Evaluation
      The student is the central figure in the process of education and modern education institutions use “student cantered approach” as their main philosophy in process of curriculum shaping.
      The learner is the target of the curriculum.
      The learner participates in the learning activities that are deemed to lead to the acquisition of the intended objectives.
      Students may be involved in some way in curriculum planning.
      Representatives of students and their organizations may be involved in work of comities and bodies in charge for curriculum design. This fact that students are involved in shaping of their learning gives special quality to education process.
      A good teacher will allow a certain amount of feedback from the students during the planning and implementation of the curriculum.
      The curriculum should reflect specific capabilities and characteristics of the students for who it is planned and implemented.
      In non-academic activities which are also part of the school curriculum, students can be much more involved in decision making, within the limits of the national and school authorities. E.g. participating in student government, sports, etc.
      Without cooperation of the students the curriculum aims and objectives can never be achieved.

The Role of Parents in Curriculum Development and evaluation
Parents may support education by:
      Counseling and guiding the learners.
      Providing financial and material support.
      Disciplining the learners.
      Availing their children for learning opportunities.

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