Category Archives: Curriculum and Instruction

MA in Curriculum and Instruction: Why is it so important?

Are you wondering what to take up for an MA course? If you are a teacher, I strongly suggest that you take up an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. Please read the article below to find out why you should do so.

With the 21st Century Education in mind, it is deemed important to take a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. This is because of the existence of e-learning and globalized education that has prompted many researchers and educators to re-engineer the educational system. This educational milieu has brought many changes and challenges to teachers. They need to have an in-depth background in curriculum and instruction in order to ensure the alignment between the learning objectives and the learning outcomes. Another reason for taking up this course is to be equipped with skills on how the outcome-based education or OBE must be implemented, and how the needs of the students for the 21st century can be addressed.

Let’s take a look at the table below to see the differences between the 20th century and the 21st century classroom:

20th Century Classroom21st Century Classroom
 Time-based Outcome-based
Focus: memorization of discrete factsFocus: what students Know, Can Do, and Like after all the details are forgotten
Lessons focus on the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension, and applicationLearning is designed on upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – synthesis, analysis, and evaluation
Textbook-drivenResearch-driven
Passive learningActive learning
Learners work in isolation, classroom within four wallsLearners work collaboratively with classmates and others around the world – the Global classroom
Teacher-centered: teacher is center of attention and provider of informationStudent-centered: teacher is facilitator/coach
Little to no student freedomA great deal of student freedom
“Discipline problems”educators do not trust students and vice-versa. No student motivation.No “discipline problems”- students and teachers have mutually respectful relationship as co-learners; students are highly motivated.
Fragmented curriculumIntegrated and interdisciplinary curriculum
Grades averagedGrades based on what was learned
Low expectationsHigh expectations – “If it isn’t good it isn’t done.”  We expect, and ensure, that all students succeed in learning at high levels.  Some may go higher – we get out of their way to let them do that.
Teacher is judge. No one else sees student work.Self, peer, and other assessments. Public audience, authentic assessments.
Curriculum/School is irrelevant and meaningless to the studentsCurriculum is connected to students’ interests, experiences, talents and the real world.
Print is the primary vehicle of learning and assessment.Performances, projects, and multiple forms of media are used for learning and assessment.
Diversity in students is ignored.Curriculum and instruction address student diversity.
Literacy is the 3 R’s: reading, writing and mathMultiple literacies of the 21st century – aligned to living and working in a globalized new millenium
Factory model, based upon the needs of employers for the Industrial Age of the 19th century; scientific managementGlobal model, based upon the needs of a globalized, high-tech society.
Driven by the NCLB and standardized testing mania.Standardized testing has its place. Education is not driven by the NCLB and standardized testing mania.

Nowadays, with the paradigm shift taking place in favor of the 21st century education, it is therefore important that schools and universities hire teachers with MA in Curriculum and Instruction to implement a totally different type of curriculum. Demand for teachers with knowledge and expertise along this area will increase.

So, what are you waiting for? Enroll now and be one of the new breed of curricularists!

Reference

21st Century Schools (2008). What is 21st Century Education? Retrieved on December 5, 2014 from http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/What_is_21st_Century_Education.htm

© 2014 December 10 M. G. Alvior

Six Famous Curriculum Theorists and their Contributions to Education

This article deals with influential people in the educational system particularly in shaping the curriculum as we know today. It also talks about their specific contributions that can still be observed by the present generation of learners.

Let’s enumerate and discuss the curriculum theorists and their contributions by chronological order.

The Six Famous Curriculum Theorists

1. Franklin Bobbit (1876-1956)

Bobbit believes that the learning objectives, together with the activities, should be grouped and sequenced after clarifying the instructional activities and tasks. He also views curriculum as a science that emphasizes the needs of the students. This viewpoint explains why lessons are planned and organized depending on the needs of the students and these needs must be addressed by the teachers to prepare them for adult life.

2. Werret Charters (1875-1952)

Aside from emphasizing the students’ needs, he believes that the objectives, along with the corresponding activities, should be aligned with the subject matter or content. For that reason, department chairpersons or course coordinators scrutinize the alignment or matching of objectives and subject matter prepared by the faculty members.

3. William Kilpatrick (1871-1965)

For him, the purpose of curriculum is child development, growth, and social relationship. He also introduced the use of small group interaction, and the project method in which the teacher and students plan together. Thus, it is called as the child-centered curriculum.

4. Harold Rugg (1886-1960)

He introduced the concept of the development of the whole child, the inclusion of social studies, and the importance of curriculum planning in advance.

5. Hollis Caswell (1901-1989)

He believes that subject matter is developed around the interest of the learners and their social functions. So, the curriculum is a set of experiences. Learners must experience what they learn.

6. Ralph Tyler (1902-1994)

And as to the hallmark of curriculum development as a science, Ralph Tyler believes that curriculum should revolve around the students’ needs and interests. The purpose of curriculum is to educate the generalists and not the specialists, and the process must involve problem solving. Likewise, subject matter is planned in terms of imparting knowledge, skills and values among students.

To sum it up, the famous curriculum theorists have almost similar views. All of them believe that the curriculum should be learner-centered – addressing the needs and interests of the students. All of them have salient contributions to the educational system of the world today.

If you are an observant student, you might ask the following questions about your teachers:

  • Why is it that we are required to do projects, solve problems, and work in groups?
  • Why is it that our teachers are being observed in class, and their lesson plans or syllabi are checked?
  • Why is it that all of us should take social studies, and not only the 3Rs?
  • Why are the lessons being prepared in advance?
  • Why should we experience what we have learned?
  • Why do our teachers integrate values in our lessons?
  • And why is it that the school is after our development as whole individuals (to become generalists) and be ready to face life’s challenges?

The answers to your questions are the people behind our educational system. They are the curriculum theorists.

Now, would you like to become one someday?

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and Javier, R. B. (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 3 M. G. Alvior

A Definition of Curriculum from a Traditional Viewpoint

How is curriculum defined from a traditional perspective? Who were the advocates? And how can a school system work with this point of view?

This article provides answers to these questions by expounding on the curriculum concept. Read on to familiarize yourself with this popular, very basic and critical aspect of the educational system.

Traditional Definition of Curriculum

If the word curriculum is defined as a written document or a plan of action to accomplish goals; a body of subjects or a subject matter prepared by teachers in order for the students to learn; a course of study; syllabus, lesson plan, or a field of study – then these definitions come from the traditional point of view (Bilbao et al., 2008).

The Advocates of Curriculum

The following theorists are the advocates of the curriculum concept. Their perspectives helped shape current understanding of how curriculum is used in meeting educational goals.

Robert M. Hutchins

Hutchins believes that college education must be grounded on liberal education while basic education should emphasize the rules of grammar, reading, rhetoric, logic and mathematics. For him, curriculum is viewed as permanent studies which explain why some subjects are repeated from elementary to college, such as grammar, reading, and mathematics.

Arthur Bestor

Bestor is an essentialist who believes that the mission of the school is to train the intellectual capacity of learners. Hence, subjects to be offered are grammar, literature, writing, mathematics, science, history and foreign language.

Joseph Schwab

Schwab views that discipline is the sole source of curriculum, and so, the curriculum is divided into chunks of knowledge which are called subject areas like English, mathematics, social studies, science, humanities, languages, and others. As a leading curriculum theorist, Schwab used the term discipline as the ruling doctrine for curriculum development. Therefore, curriculum is viewed as a field of study and it should only consist of knowledge that comes from the disciplines; for example, linguistics, economics, chemistry, among others.

How the School System Works Using Curriculum as a Basis

In a traditional point of view, teachers are required to write lesson plans and syllabi. The subjects offered in basic education are grammar, literature, writing, mathematics, science, history and foreign language which help develop the intellectual capacities of learners. However, curriculum is viewed as a field of study in higher education. So, curriculum refers to the degree programs such as Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in English, BS in Accountancy, BS in Civil Engineering, MA in Environmental Science, Ph.D. in Education, major in Curriculum Development, and others.

As a field of study, curriculum consists of domains of knowledge as well as their research theories and principles, and the foundations (philosophical, historical, psychological, and social) which are broad in nature. Thus, curriculum is taken as scholarly and theoretical.

Would you dare take a Ph.D. in Education, major in Curriculum Development? What I have discussed is only one of the many aspects of the curriculum. I will be writing more about this subject. So, stay tuned for more.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 2 M. G. Alvior

Hidden Curriculum: Its Definition

Is there really a hidden curriculum? Why is it called hidden? What are some of its examples? And what classroom implications can be drawn from it?

This article defines hidden curriculum, provides some examples and discusses its implications. 

 

Definition of Hidden Curriculum

According to the book, “Curriculum Development” (Bilbao et al., 2008), hidden curriculum refers to the physical condition of the classroom or the school environment, the mood of the teachers or the students, the teacher-learner interaction, the peer influence, and other factors that may affect the delivery of the lesson.

Another term for hidden curriculum is the unintended curriculum which is not actually planned but may change the behavior or affect the learning outcomes of students. So, what does it mean? More often than not, when teachers plan for a lesson (by writing lesson plans or syllabi), there are some parts that are not fully implemented due to the presence of the “hidden curriculum”.

Actually, hidden curriculum is one of the types of curriculum operating in schools according to Allan Grathon (2000) as cited by Bilbao et al., (2008). The curriculum exists but maybe, not everybody is aware of this.  So, in simple words, it is hidden because it is not planned or just simply ignored when planning for a lesson. However, it might suddenly come out depending on the factors mentioned above.

How Hidden Curriculum Can Affect Learning: Some Examples

  1. Physical Conditions of the Classroom or School Environment

Is the classroom conducive to learning? Is it well-lighted and well-ventilated? Are there enough chairs and tables for students? Is there enough space for students to do group activities or online activities? Is there always electricity in the place or is brown-out or power outage frequent?

If the answer to these questions is no, then learning among students will be more difficult. An uncomfortable classroom will make students uneasy thus affect their academic performance. The physical environment is not conducive to learning.

  1. The Mood of the Teachers or Students

Are the teachers always on the mood to deliver the lesson? Are they given teaching loads and schedules that are fair?

As human beings, no matter how teachers hide their emotions or feelings from the students, they are affected by the strains and stresses that may come along. However, many will argue that teachers must leave their problems at home and pretend like actors and actresses in the classroom.

Students may also be in a bad mood. They may be hungry, or emotionally affected due to their parents’ lack of time or financial support, or they have misunderstandings with their friends, or loved ones.

While ideally the mood of teachers and students should be right for effective interaction, this is not always the case. Bad moods will hinder learning to take place.

  1. The Teacher-Learner Interaction

Having a limited background on the needs of the students, their interests and learning styles, the teachers may find it hard to interact well with the students. They should have a good repertoire of strategies or activities in order to implement the instructional objectives and reach the learning outcomes. More often than not, the mood of the students and teachers may also affect their interaction.

  1. Peer Influence

Students learn more with their friends. For example, Liza is interested in studying or learning during that day; but if many of her friends are noisy due to stress, she will be affected and influenced to be noisy too. So, the success of the lesson can be determined when the learning outcomes have been achieved by the students.

Classroom Implications

Knowing some of the examples of hidden curriculum will help the department chairpersons, course directors and course coordinators to be more humane in giving loads, and in rating the performance of their teachers through classroom observations. They should also consider the hidden factors that may affect the learning outcomes. But of course, recognition of the hidden curriculum should not be used as an excuse to cover up the teachers’ inefficiency in class. Instead, teachers should be creative, flexible and positive in teaching the students in spite of their personal problems and anxieties in life.

To the administrators, they should ensure that the school environment and learning resources are conducive for teaching and learning. They should figure out ways to combat the hidden curriculum.

In conclusion, the lessons may not be implemented as planned. Many teachers may write excellent lesson plans or syllabi but when they are already in class, they would realize that there are aspects in the lesson plans that cannot be implemented due to hidden curriculum.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., Javier, R. B., (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 1 M. G. Alvior