The word curriculum comes from a Latin word currere, which means the course of the chariot race or run. According to Smith and Lovat (2003), curriculum is a cultural reproduction that has structures involving independent thinking and social responsibility.
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McCarthy and McCarthy (2005) defines curriculum as a reconstruction of knowledge and skills that enables one exercise intelligent control over changing life conditions. In a general view, curriculum is all the courses offered in schools as well as universities. It involves lessons and teaching aimed at helping learners to learn the basics that will help them for life after school.
When a learner finishes his/her study as per the course requirements, he/she receives certification document, which helps him/her in the future for a certain kind of job. However, core curriculum is an asset of courses that undergraduate does, which is necessary yet chosen by the students.
It aimed at transforming the learner as it gives room for learners to exercise their talents and abilities. One should not confuse between a curriculum and a syllabus; the latter is narrowed on expectations within a school system. On the other hand, a curriculum is a broad expectation from a societal perspective.
Curriculum development is exceptionally vital in achieving the education goals. It contains a systematic approach that respects the needs of the students in line with their different fields. Curriculum development starts from definition to its final goals on education. Curriculum developers should do this by selecting tools and integrating various values that they find in a particular curriculum.
In developing a curriculum, the administrators include courses that students should learn and the strategies that implementers must follow during the learning process. The first process of curriculum development involves key subjects, which involves creating a mission statement for the entire process (Skinner, 2010).
Markedly, curriculum shaping uses a student-centred approach; this approach encourages learners’ involvement in the learning process. In curriculum development, organizations that represent students are always included in this process; they bring in the interests of the students on board. These student representatives outline what they expect the curriculum to have in the end.
This approach of including the students’ representatives raises the quality of the education process since learners will easily adopt a curriculum that considers their interests. For instance, in a medical institution, the curriculum merges both the educational theory and methodology thereby making the evaluation processes an inclusive and efficient course.
A systematic approach of curriculum design provides high-quality evidence on both the short and long-term effects that the curriculum will have on the learners. This approach improves the education process an institution. Curriculum development ensures continuous education as it solves students’ problems including education costs which is an essential activity.
Curriculum designing process evaluates teachings, select learning, and evaluation methods. Moreover, it designs a learning process and assesses the needs of learners in an education system of a country. In addition, it develops rationale as well as revises designed goals in the learning sector and chooses instructions on various learning methods to students in order to aid in curriculum development.
In developing a curriculum, the developers should design, implement, and evaluate it in a systematic way (Brady & Kennedy, 2010). In the planning process, a curriculum development committee is convened. Then the committee identifies key issues and the trends in a detailed area of content.
Notably, this step focuses on the initiation curriculum development. The committee does this by defining deficits, skills, or attitude existing in the current curriculum.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority (ACARA) have been at the central point in developing a curriculum that caters for Kindergarten to Year 12 in Australia. ACARA uses a four-point process in developing the curriculum.
The process includes outlining the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders that take part in the entire process, elaborating on the key features of the four phases of curriculum development process, the crucial conditions to curriculum development and timelines for each activity in the curriculum.
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Notably, the curriculum developer abides by the requirements of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians; the Declaration stresses on the significance of knowledge, skills, and learning on a broad category in order to inculcate all necessities in the 21st century (MCEETYA, 2008).
The Australian Curriculum has been designed to ensure that all learners actively take part in community development. In addition, it is a curriculum, which meets all the needs of learners and enhances growth of students by describing all their entitlement during schooling.
Moreover, ACARA consults states and territories in designing and developing the Australian Curriculum. In specific, this body involves Education Authorities from all states in the development process of the curriculum. The Melbourne Declaration stipulated the need for equity and excellence among all the schools in Australia (ACARA, 2012).
It goes further to outline the need for the curriculum to transform students to creative, confident, independent, and innovative individuals. Markedly, the Declaration has altered the Australian Curriculum to a world-class standard that is essential in the current technological world of the twenty-first century.
ACARA on its part has committed to producing a curriculum that is inclusive since it is designed after a wide consultation. It also commits to developing a curriculum that has time bound and achievable activities.
In the implementation process, teachers play a key role in ensuring that the goals and objectives of the curriculum are achieved. During the testing stage, the teachers are also the primary stakeholders in this process. This is due to their direct contact with the learners who are the beneficiary of the designed curriculum.
Therefore, curriculum administrators should include the teachers in all stages of curriculum development process. Using Australia as an example, the teachers are the ones who understand the entry behaviours of the students better than other stakeholders do. This direct interaction with learners makes it possible for teachers to provide the necessary skills that ought to be included in the curriculum.
Since ACARA designs a curriculum that inculcate all the needs of all the learners at all levels, teachers are well placed to assist in this as they are from multiple grade levels. From this point, teachers are planners in developing an inclusive and efficient curriculum.
Teachers also help in curriculum creation by gauging whether an activity will be achievable within a specified period. Properly designed curriculums always have time limits in which all activities have to follow. Inclusion of teachers in curriculum creation enhances their confidence when presenting it to the final users, the students.
Inclusion of the teachers’ concerns will make them own the entire curriculum thereby ensuring proper implementation (Darling-Hammond et al., 2008). Curriculum leaders should actively involve these classroom and school controllers in curricular decision-making since they have a direct link with the final users of the curriculum. Further, this group of stakeholders implements the curriculum in any state or territory.
The Australian Curriculum is flexible to enable teachers choose from a variety of options or design their personal components into the curriculum during actual implementation. Teachers go to the classrooms with plans on how to handle different topics within a given time. In this connection, teachers extract a syllabus from the curriculum and design their own schemes of work and lesson plans to use in classrooms.
In addition, teachers assist in reflecting on the curriculum in order to identify any weakness that needs to be corrected. They can do this through surveys from students, keeping educational journals and magazines, and conducting a review on students’ performance. This method is helpful in creating a new curriculum that includes the interests of all stakeholders.
Clearly, the teachers’ roles in curriculum design and development process are extremely significant; therefore, senior administrators at the curriculum development centres, ACARA for instance, should never ignore the teachers’ roles, responsibilities, and contributions in the entire process.
Other stakeholders in curriculum development process include the Ministry of Education, Parents, Inspectors, Principals, and the community religious affiliation. The Ministry of Education plays essential roles in developing the Australian Curriculum; for instance, ACARA is a body under this ministry. As a result, the ministry supervises all the activities that ACARA carries out.
The Permanent Secretary in this ministry ensures that funds are availed to aid the entire curriculum development process. In meeting this objective, the ministry carries out an annual national budget on the educational requirements in all the states and territories in Australia.
In Australia, efforts by the ministry have enabled them to avail the curriculum in an online environment hence making it accessible to all stakeholders for implementation. ACARA must also consult the community in which the curriculum is to be implemented in to ensure that the provisions in the curriculum support the beliefs and economic practices in the region.
For instance, the curriculum must consider the religious affiliation of a community in designing the curriculum. If this does not occur, the community may be rebellious thereby resulting to failure in curriculum implementation (Darling-Hammond et al., 2008).
Additionally, local communities know what they expect to occur in their villages based on their economic activity; therefore, they can assist in designing a curriculum that encompasses all their needs.
ACARA divided the curriculum development into three phases in which English, Mathematics, and Science fall under the first phase. The curriculum developer believes that English helps in creating confident communicators and imaginative thinkers (Glasson, 2009). It has divided English into writing, speaking, and literacy.
During curriculum design and development, ACARA inculcates activities in the English syllabus that will mould learners to be ethical, skilful, knowledgeable, and active members of the society. In addition, it assists learners to develop interest in inquiring the aesthetic component of English and appreciate the literature.
The Australian Curriculum appreciates the need for effective communication among its citizens in order to remain competitive in the international market. Clearly, this curriculum promotes both national and international unity.
The social set-up in a community can affect the design of a curriculum. For instance, a pastoral community will find it useful to have a curriculum that promotes their way of life. Notably, a curriculum that promotes an act like gay marriage in a society that believes in Christian values will not succeed in implementation.
In addition, the political system of a country affects the outline of a curriculum (McCarthy & McCarthy, 2005). Politicians also can add their views on what they expect in the curriculum.
The first step of curriculum development is the needs assessment stage; it involves identifying the sources of funds, dissemination processes, and the methodologies that are suitable in the evaluation process. Curriculum developers conduct substantial researches to analyse the work of educators and practitioners in implementing the curriculum; the research can extend towards public health, epidemiology and resource utilization.
Therefore, needs assessment decides on the requirements of the education research question. In the second process, there is the overall assessment of the general needs of the prospective learners. The curriculum development team comes out with the needs after investigating the errors in the practice. They can carry this investigation in a medical or any educational institute.
For example, the curriculum development committee expects a graduate student to be able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in making clear judgements, and communicating fluently. If the graduates fail on these expectations, the development committee assesses the errors that the student displays.
In the medicine sector, for instance, the curriculum development committee does not only ask the graduate students on their expectations but also ask the communities on their expectations. In this stage, every institution prepares the mission statements, which contain reasons for their existence (Smith & Lovat, 2003). Remarkably, the mission statement can include aspects of students’ skills and performance.
Further, the statement draws the curriculum expectations from the graduate students and the stakeholders any educational institution. In the field of medicine, ministries representative of health, healthcare and education are included in the mission statement.
The mission statement in a medical institute will cover health care role and medical services in the society. Besides, it includes training and research activities that the learners wii undertake within the institute.
The third process involves identification and description of goals and objectives of the curriculum review process. The courses and subjects ought to inculcate goals that are similar to the mission and vision of learning institutions within the country. To ensure curriculum implementation is successful, education philosophy of an institution must be included hence reaching the mission of the institution.
Learning entails what a graduate student will display at the end of schooling; therefore, meeting this objective requires a commitment towards realization of the goals of the entire curriculum. The outcomes of the learning process can either be coherent with the objectives of education or not (Darling-Hammond et al., 2008).
Moreover, institutions have to encompass their culture in the curriculum to enable graduate students get a clear picture of what the course expects of them. Markedly, curriculum presentation determines the directions which learning processes take.
The fourth process involves the strategies of education; they include the type of educational environment and elements that the curriculum should communicate. It also involves content organization within the curriculum and finally in the syllabus, which are prepared in advance. The content includes different approaches of teaching various subjects, for example, the heuristic approach of teaching.
The educational strategies include student centred methods where the curriculum proposes for active participation of students in the learning process. In this strategy, a student has to decide the learning methodology, the content and scope of their study (Drake, 2007).
The second strategy involves problem solving where a learner goes through a clinical problem solving process; the student gathers and present information in this strategy.
The fifth step is the implementation stage. First, the management carries out a trial on implementing the curriculum where the roles and responsibilities of students are defined. It is vital to have a friendly atmosphere in the institute where the implementation process is taking place.
In this stage, the curriculum implementers continue identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum in order to make necessary changes that will advance and enrich educational institutions. Besides, it enhances the teaching skills through seminars and workshops.
In the implementation department, healthy relationships should be encouraged; this improves cooperation among the implementers in delivering on the curriculum expectations (McCarthy & McCarthy, 2005). For a successful curriculum reform, departments have to work together since there will be sharing of new and different ideas between them.
Additionally, the departments should exercise both horizontal and vertical communication system. Courses in educational institutions should be well organised according to the needs of the learners. It involves lesson timetable, teaching and learning methods, teaching requirements and criteria of assessment.
Teaching methods for different courses should be selected; the selection methodology bases its assumptions on the learners’ abilities, as it is a learning process, which fully involves the learners. Moreover, development of human recourse is included in this curriculum developing process (Fogarty, 1997). Qualification in a certain field is a vital requirement in the implementation of curriculum.
The sixth process of curriculum development is evaluation. It presents the final stage that provides evidence if the institute is operating as required. This final stage evaluates rates of students pass, interpersonal and psychological ability, as well as professional satisfaction.
In addition, it evaluates issues of curriculum compliance of goals and objectives with the intended functions to identify weaknesses that require amendment. At this stage, continuous feedback is necessary to enable modifications and alterations in the curriculum; it aids in creating an inclusive curriculum for all learners in a county.
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