Curriculum refers to a program or a plan for the experiences gathered by a learner within the confines of a school. Exemplars of curriculum theory refer to a group of broad educational ideas like essentialism, progressivism, and perennials, among others. These ideas tie with the various curriculum models such as learner-centered, society-centered, and knowledge-centered. This paper aims to identify the rational thoughts based on these centers. These centers are discussed below.
The learner-centered curriculum encompasses parameters like student engagement, active learning and other learning strategies that involve students. To bring out the difference between learner-centered curriculum and engaging students, I propose some characteristics that make teaching learner-centered. Firstly, learner-centered curriculum engages students in the difficult, demanding work of learning. Also, this center encourages students to contemplate on what they are learning and the mode in which they are learning it. Lastly, learner-centered type of curriculum inspires students by giving them some sense of control over learning processes.
This model of teaching approach focuses on making the society better by teaching students, and this is done through experimental group works. This model operates on the belief that learning cannot occur in isolation; therefore it emphasizes on working in groups rather than individually. The primary idea of this curriculum is to impart citizenship and civic action within students. The content given to the students is useful in solving real-world issues such as politics, religion, disasters, among others. In supporting this, Ellis (76) asserts that knowledge functions in a similar way as a tool chest, that is, used when needed.
This model of curriculum development focuses on teaching the students essential knowledge by emphasizing on intellectual growth and subject matter. Ellis (105) explains that a good knowledge-centered curriculum should focus on intellectual growth and development by challenging the student to search insight in history, mathematics, literature, arts, and other subjects. It is more teacher and academically oriented compared to society-centered model as the teacher is responsible for designing the course of the curriculum. The teachers are bestowed with the task of identifying what they want their students to do and developing various objectives that allow students to acquire the necessary knowledge to achieve those goals. Lastly, knowledge-centered curriculum aims to produce scholars with a broad scope of knowledge from as many subjects as possible so that they can adapt to any situation they may encounter in life.
In a nutshell, curriculum theory is not a generalization that predicts or explains different phenomena of learning but rather an exploration of the relationship between concepts such as society, schools, children, knowledge, among others. The various models of curriculum development posts critical questions to the stakeholders involved in designing curriculum. Such questions include examples like, why should this be taught and not that? What rules should govern the selected content to be delivered? Therefore, the stakeholders should be in a position to answer such questions before designing a teaching curriculum. Therefore, the contents and models of the curriculum should be analyzed before subjecting to students.
Ellis, A. K. (2014). Exemplars of curriculum theory. Routledge.
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