PRINCIPLES OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION: MODULE 2: Interpreting the curriculum: Aims, goals and objectives

Interpreting the curriculum: Aims, goals and objectives

Many scholars advocated for the hierarchy of these terms to be:

Aims                  Goals                Objectives

A useful way to think about education aims is to consider them as “statements of societal expectations and desires”. More particularly, aims are broadly phrased statements of educational intent. Aims state what is to be hopefully achieved by the curriculum.
Aims are purposely stated generally because they are developed for a general level of education and by the society. Aims are long time in nature and may cover a time span of many years even the entire school life of a child.
Eg, Aims of Education in Tanzania are general and common throughout TZ
Aims are therefore broader than goals and objectives

Are more specific, precisely worded statements of curriculum intent and are derived from aim. They are directed towards student achievements by emphasizing content and skills.
Another way of conceptualizing goals is to consider them as the ways institutions and
Eg. If an aim of an education system is to make students literate and numerate, then goals are ways by which educational institutions generally address those aims.
Goals are medium to long term depending upon how they have been translated from aims.
Goals are therefore narrower than aims but broader than objectives

These are specific statements of curriculum intent. That is what students should learn through interaction with this curriculum. They are expressed in terms of changed learner behavior.
They are derived from aims and goals. Objectives are phrased precisely using technical language and frequently in behavioral terms.
Objectives may also be seen as the working statements whereby educational institutions translate goals into specific statements of education intent
Objectives are invariably devised by teachers or group of teachers for use within the school or groups of educators within an institution
They are short term in nature and as such, may cover a lesson, a day, a week

A temporal hierarchical relationship exists between aims, goals and objectives where the first two are regarded as abstract, vaguely worded statements of program intent while objectives are specific teacher-prepared statements of what learners will experience.

The aim of any curriculum may be translated into many goals and each goal in turn may be translated into numerous unit objectives

Sources of aims, goals and objectives of curriculum
a)      Empirical sources: empirical data may be collected from the studies on both the learners and society. Through studying the learners and the society, one can be able to tell how he/she wants the learners and society to acquire intent.
b)      Philosophical sources:  these provide suggestions as to what ought to happen to children and adolescents in our schools. Philosophical questions such as what is a good life, value, true, real are so essential when considering curriculum intent. The philosophical belief will be derived from the philosophy
c)      Subject matter sources: the most common source of aims is probably the subject matter. That is, the established body of knowledge from which school subjects are derived. The aims of education are  general but when applied at the level of goals, they are translated through the medium of subject matter
d)     Curriculum concepts: the way one conceptualizes curriculum is an influential factor in determining how we perceive appropriate curriculum intent. These conceptions provide a source of and influence over the selection of aims, goals and objectives.
e)      Situational analysis: an obvious source of curriculum may be found in deliberations undertaken in situational analysis where the data will reflect students’ interests and abilities as well as teacher strengths, parental wishes, school resources and so forth
f)       Educational forces: the increased politicization of education in general and curriculum specifically has led to the creation of numerous curriculum policy document which have impacted upon curriculum development through formulation of aims, goals and objectives of educational system

Hierarchy of educational goals
The hierarchy of educational goals identifies three levels/domains through which goals can be hierarchically placed. These include proximal, mediate and ultimate goals:
a)      Proximal goals: are formulated at the regional level as one of the stages which implement the educational aims. Proximal goals are direct from aims. Practitioners include the DEOs and other officers at the regional level
b)      Mediate goals: this act as bridge between the proximal and ultimate goal’s implementers. They are useful for they help formulation of ultimate goals. Formulated at institution level.
c)      Ultimate goals: are formulated at class level. They are wider and broader than objective. i.e objectives are being formulated from ultimate goals that indicate what should students achieve as the end product and outcome

Illustration of the hierarchy of the educational goals

Proximal goals - mediate goals - ultimate goals
Taxonomy of educational objectives refers to a more sophisticated and complex classification of objectives into three domains of learning which are cognitive, affective and psychomotor.  Bloom classified learning objectives into three (3) categories or domains namely; cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains.
A.    Cognitive domain
This domain includes those objectives which involve intellectual tasks such as naming, solving problems in algebra, etc. people simply call it a head
It has been further categorized into six levels in order of increasing complexity as follows:-
a)      Knowledge-ability of the learner to recall or remember issues such as specifics, methods, structures, etc. eg. arrange, list, name, define. By the end of the period of 40’, each form IA student should be able to define the concept of curriculum correctly without referring to their textbooks.
b)      Comprehension-ability of the learners to understand and grasp meaning from the learned materials. Eg. Classify, explain, describe.
c)      Application- ability to use learned materials, rules and generalizations in new situations. Eg apply, rewrite, demonstrate, restructure, etc
d)      Analysis- ability to break down the whole learned material into pieces that relate in cause and effect. Eg. analyze, determine, compare, criticize, etc.
e)      Synthesis- ability to put or combine together the broken learned materials into the whole entity, eg contrast, formulate, modify,
f)       Evaluation-ability to make value judgments on the learned materials by identifying the wealth and worse of the materials. Eg. Argue, assess, validate,

Affective domain
This domain includes those objectives which deal with the feeling, attitude or value dimension, i.e. heart
The domain has five levels arranged in sequential order from internalization of feelings on a continuum from simple awareness to a condition in which the feelings significantly operate to control behavior
i.            Receiving: sensitivity to the existence of certain phenomena or just being aware of certain phenomenon and being willing to relate them. Eg. to differentiate, accept, listen for, respond to, etc
ii.            Responding: committed in some small measure of the ideas, materials or phenomena involved by actively responding to them. Eg. Comply with, comment, volunteer, claim, etc
iii.            Valuing: perception of worth or value in phenomenon or willing to be perceived by others as valuing certain phenomena, idea. Eg. To support, debate
iv.            Organization: to relate the value to those already held and bring it into a harmonious and internally consistent philosophy. E.g. to discuss, theorize, formulate, balance, examine, etc
v.            Characterization: to act consistently in accordance with the values he/she has internalized or accepting, internalizing phenomena and making it a way of your life. E.g to revise, require, resist, avoid, manage, resolve

Psychomotor domain
 It concerns with skills. i.e muscular learning and motor skills. It involves complex skills, sensory perception, responding to stimuli picked up by the senses and the development complex skills in manual, written and verbal forms. Focus on making learners exhibit the ability to perform something accurately. This is the development of skills. Therefore levels of psychomotor domain include the following.
i.            Observing: active mental attending of physical event or attending to the performance of a more experienced person.
ii.            Imitating: attempted copying of a physical behavior or basic rudiments (roots/origin) of the skills acquired. The movement involved here is not automatic or smooth.
iii.            Practicing: trying a specific physical activity over and over
iv.            Adapting: perfection of the skill, although further improvement is possible. i.e. fine tuning

Conceptualizing instructional objectives and effective teaching
Educational objectives can be classified into two major groups:
        i.            General objectives
      ii.            Specific (instructional) objectives

General objectives
These are written as a guide to prepare a unit or section of a curriculum covering a term, semester or a year. They present a translation of goals into more specific directions for action, although they are expressed more generally than the specific/ instructional objectives
General objectives are neither observable nor measurable because they use amorphous term that cannot be seen or measured. Such terms include, to know, to understand, to be aware, etc

Eg. By the end of the lesson, students of form IA should be able to understand the concept of curriculum.

Specific (instructional) objectives
These are precise statements of educational intent and relate to a small amount of manageable time like 40 minutes or 80 minutes period/lesson. They are used to inform students and others what the student is to achieve.
They are observable and measurable because they use performance verbs that can be observed and measured. Eg. Define, list, calculate, assess

Another way of expressing specific curriculum intent is to use behavioral objectives which are specific statements of intended learner outcome describing the change in instruction. Therefore, behavioral objectives can be equated with specific/instructional objectives and these terms can be used interchangeably/synonymously

In writing instructional objectives, one should make sure that the objectives address four elements or components: Audience (A), Behavior (B), Condition (C), Degree of change/performance (D). Say ABCD
Eg. By the end of the period of 40 minutes, each form IA student should be able to define the concept of curriculum correctly without referring to their text books

Instructional objectives have the characteristics of being SMART
a)      Systematic: presented in sequential order, from simple to complex task
b)      Measurable: they use performance verbs that can be observed and measured
c)      Attainable: they lead into acquisition of new behaviour to the audience
d)     Time: There should be specific time that will guide acquisition of new behaviour

Teaching documents (syllabus, scheme of work, lesson plan and lesson notes)

Syllabus is an outline of course of study which shows a list of topics to be covered in a certain subject. or syllabus is an official document which give guideline on content, skills and attitudes to be taught in a given class of learners. The principle purpose of a syllabus is to inform students in a formal and timely way of the nature and content of the course and procedures that will apply. In addition, it is a promise of yours that is both explicit in what it states will be part of the course and implicit in what it infers will not be the part of the course.

Format of the syllabus
It consists of two main sections:
1.      Preliminary pages section: they include copyright page, table of contents, introduction of the competences of the subject, general objectives of teaching the subject and structure or organization of the syllabus
2.      Subject content and pedagogy section: this part consists of class level competences, class level objectives, columns which contain columns of topics, subtopics, specific objectives, teaching/learning strategies, teaching/ learning materials, assessment and estimated number of periods for each subtopic.

The syllabus analysis involves the following:
·         Identification of the purpose, including the rationale/basis for why students should learn the course/subject
·         Identification of the teaching and learning goal or objectives
·         Identification of topics and their subtopics
·         Identification of the content to be covered under each topic/subtopic
·         Determination of the number of periods to cover the topic or subtopic
·         Determination of teaching sequence for each topic/subtopic
·         Setting of time duration and time frame for different topics/subtopics

Qualities of a good syllabus
     Its objectives must be achievable
     Must be relevant to the class/subject in question
     Must be appropriate to the learners’ age and ability
     It must have a logical sequence of content
     It must meet the needs of education policy as set by the country government

Scheme of work
This is the amount of coverage a teacher plans to teach in one term/one year of the subject based on the syllabus. Or it is a series of topics picked from the syllabuses and arranged logically to suit the teaching strategy of a certain teacher.

Importance of scheme of work
     To remind the teacher the amount of teaching load and materials ahead
     To present materials in logical, presentable sequence
     To suggest proper timing for teaching particular topic
     To suggest proper methods of assessment for specific topic
     To plan teaching for  a month, term or year
     To sequence the teaching areas according to the syllabus and learners’ needs.
     To inform administrator or another teacher on teaching plan

Format of the reviewed scheme of work
a)      Introductory part (these are written on top of the scheme of work)
     Name of school
     Name of the teacher who planned and who is going to use the scheme of work
     Subject which the scheme is planned for
     Class which the scheme is planned for
     Term in which the scheme is going to be implemented
     Year in which the scheme is going to be implemented

b)   Main parts: this has components as shown below
Competences + objectives + month + week + Main topic + Sub topic + Number of periods + Teaching activities + Learning activities+ teaching materials + references + project + assessment + remarks



TEACHER’S NAME: Kakuru Choma, SUBJECT: Biology, CLASS: Form I, TERM: First, YEAR: 2012



Main topic

Sub topic
of periods

Teaching activities

Learning activities

Teaching/learning aids





Competence: this is the statement which specifies the skill/ability that is expected to be attained/ exhibited by the students after studying some topics or a program.
Eg. By the end of this topic, pupils should have developed ability to group organisms according to their similarities and differences
Objectives: these are statements which specify the behaviour to be exhibited by students after the topic
e.g by the end of the topic, students should be able classify organisms in their respective kingdoms and phyla/divisions

Teaching activities: a list of operational/working activities which will be carried out by the teacher in the process of teaching a particular topic/subtopic. A teacher should guide, lead or facilitate.
Learning activities: a list of operational/working activities which will be carried out by the students in the process of learning a particular content area or developing a certain competence

                                            Lesson plan:
 This is an instructional action plan which prepared by reflecting the scheme of work. Or it is a short-term action plan intended to be used in teaching one or two lesson periods.

Importance of lesson plan:
     To remind a teacher which class and at what time he/she is supposed to teach a particular lesson
     To make a teacher have confidence because they have a sensible framework, well organized /logical and relevant teaching and learning materials
     Future reference to reinforce the strength and improve in the previous plan
     To check whether the objectives have been achieved or not
     To use a very good basis for evaluation because one can know what is taught, to what extent, questions to ask and type of reflection to make
     To remind the teacher on the type of activities he/she together with learners should engage in
     To ensure learning occurs in well organized content and activities so that learners will benefit
     To keep teachers on the right track for effective teaching
     To keep data about number of learners who attended the lesson

Format of a lesson plan
a)      Introductory part (name of school, teacher, subject)
b)      Class details (date, class, periods, time, number of students)
c)      subject details (competence, G.O, M.T, S.T, S.O, T/L materials, references)
d)     Lesson development (stages-time-teaching activities, learning activities-assessment/introduction-new knowledge-reinforcement-reflection-consolidation). Pupil’s evaluation, teacher’s evaluation, remarks

Lesson notes is the summary of the subject matter that has been planned to be covered in the lesson

Significance of the lesson notes: helps to summarize the subject content for future use + reminds the teacher on the subject content and builds confidence in the class + helps the learners for further discussion with other learners

Components of good lesson notes: introduction + Main body +summary + Reference

Characteristics of good lesson notes: should have introduction, main body, summary and references) + should be short and clear to the point + should be arranged in a way that makes findings each step easy + should indicate the content of the lesson + should be legible and have reasonable spacing + should be well written and arranged in such a way that point can be read at a quick glance

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