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Curriculum Development

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International University of the Caribbean

College for Leadership and Theological Development

Individual Assignment

Presented in partial fulfillment of the course

 Curriculum Development

Define Curriculum

Curriculum means the sum total of all the experiences that a pupil undergoes within the guidance of the school. On the other hand, curriculum decision-making process is the process regarding the determination of the educational objectives, learning experiences and methods of evaluation in the curriculum building endeavor. Definition of curriculum provided by (Wiles, 2005:7) that “Curriculum is a set of values that is activated through a development process and culminates in classroom experiences for students”

Curriculum development has a broad scope because it is not only about the school, the learners and the teachers. It is also about the development of a society in general. In today’s knowledge economy, curriculum development plays a vital role in improving the economy of a country. It also provides answers or solutions to the world’s pressing conditions and problems, such as environment, politics, socio-economics, and other issues on poverty, climate change and sustainable development. (Mkandawire, 2008)

Curriculum may actually be defined in two ways: prescriptive and descriptive. Prescriptive definitions- provides with what “ought” to happen, and are more often than not take the form of a plan, an intended program, or some kind of expert opinion about what needs to take place in the course of study”.  Descriptive definition- they force thought about curriculum, “not merely in terms of how things ought to be…but how things are in real classrooms”. (Mkandawire, 2008) another term that could be used to define the descriptive curriculum is an experience. The experienced curriculum provides “glimpses” of the curriculum in action.

Psychology Foundation in Curriculum

Curriculum foundation refers to basic forces that influence and shapes the minds of curriculum developers to decide what to include in the curriculum and how to structure it. There are certain forces that provide a background of information upon which are the curriculum developers depend to make future decisions. (Ornstein and Hunkins, 1998)

        Curriculum is influenced by psychology. Psychology provides information about the teaching and learning process. (Ornstein and Hunkins, 1998) It also seeks answers as to how a curriculum be organized in order to achieve students’ learning at the optimum level, and as to what amount of information they can absorb in learning the various contents of the curriculum.

According to (Ornstein and Hunkins, 1998) psychology serves as the impetus for many curriculum decisions. Psychological influences of the curriculum can best be understood through theories of learning. These theories of learning are classified into three broad categories such as behavioral learning, cognitive, developmental learning and humanistic learning theories.

Behavioral learning theories

The proponents of Behavioral learning theories include Thorndike, Skinner and Pavlov. Behaviorism is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do like acting, thinking and feeling can and should be regarded as behaviors (Ornstein & Hunkins, 1998; Parkay & Hass, 2000). According to the behavioral theory, learning involves alterations or modifications in behavior. Behaviorists emphasize the learner's active engagement and reinforcements and rewards that encourage continuing effort over time (Ornstein, Behar-Horenstein, & Pajak, 2003). Behaviorists believe that what one learns is influenced by the environment.

Cognitive theories of learning

Cognitive theories of learning deal with questions relating to cognition, or knowing. They focus their attention on how individuals process information and how they monitor and manage thinking. For the cognitive theorists, learning constitutes a logical method for organizing and interpreting learning. Learning is exemplified by practices like reflective thinking, creative thinking, intuitive thinking, (Ornstein, Behar-Horenstein, & Pajak, 2003) discovery learning, etc. Some proponents of cognitive learning theories include Jean Piaget, John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky.

Developmental theories

Developmental theories of learning have to do with the additional learning tasks individuals can accomplish as they mature mentally, emotionally, and physically. This maturation actually progresses slowly and proceeds in stages. Proponents of developmental theories include Levinson and Erickson. Curriculum planners and teachers can borrow from developmental theories in curriculum decision making. (Hewitt, 2006)

Humanistic learning theories

This is the learning theory of self-actualization advocates (Hewitt, 2006). The main proponents of humanistic learning theories are Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Abraham Maslow has been considered the father of humanistic psychology. He is famous for proposing that human motivation is based on a hierarchy of needs. Abraham Maslow set forth a classical theory of human needs. A more advanced, more comprehensive curriculum that promotes human potential must be crafted along this line. Teachers don’t only educate the minds, but the hearts as well.

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