The Curriculum Process

The purpose of this chapter is to examine how curriculum developers can, and do, devise curricula. It will focus on an analysis of how teachers may develop curricula successfully as well as presenting a synthesis of the literature explaining how teacher currently approach curriculum developers with both a challenge and a useful guide as they tackle the process of curriculum development.

An important reason for examining both of the above tasks is that educators view the process of curriculum development in many diverse ways. Clarity of understanding, let alone consensus, about the curriculum process has been difficult to achieve. Yet a knowledge and understanding of the curriculum process is of a vital importance in the preparation of effective curricula.

To understand the context of the model of curriculum development presented at the end of this chapter, it is necessary to appreciate the range of models employed by curriculum developers. Models may be classified according to a continuum that ranges from rational through cyclical to dynamic approaches of curriculum development. Curriculum writers tend to advocate the use of cyclical or rational models when devising curricula largely because of their explicit structure. Teachers, however, appear to prefer a form of dynamic model, often adapted from a recognized model such as Skilbeck’s.  What research is available (Walker, 1972; Harrison, 1979; Brady, 1981; Cohen and Harrison, 1982) suggests that there are numerous curriculum models adopted by teachers, and that there is ample evidence of confusion about curriculum and its development in schools.

For the reason, this chapter advocates the use of a model that incorporates aspects of all three existing categories of models. The comprehensive model of curriculum development outlined at the end of this chapter is at once logical and sequential in approach, cyclical and its development of a curriculum product and yet concerned with applying the model to realistic situations. It is a model that has the flexibility to be used for developing a systemic, regional, school or subschool curriculum document as well as packages of curriculum materials and curriculum projects. The model is outlined later in this chapter and is fleshed out in subsequent chapters.
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