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A curriculum conception or theory is defined as a certain approach that is used in the development and also enactment of a curriculum. The curriculum can also be seen and understood in terms of different conceptions and they include; the academic rationalist conception, the humanistic conception, the cognitive perception and the social re-constructionist conception. Curriculum conceptions ? The academic rationalist conception. The academic rationalism conceptualizes curriculum as distinct disciplines or subjects.
The conception puts more emphasis on the responsibilities of the schools in enabling the young people share their intellectual gains.
The academic rationalists further believe that the curriculum should develop the mind of the learners with knowledge that can be objective and which can also be tested through empirical reasoning and evidence. From a rational perspective the development of the mind is achieved through the mastering of the fundamental knowledge structure, relations that are logical, meaning, criteria for assessment and the evaluation of the truth.
The academic rationalists however do not limit their conception only to the transmission of the knowledge that is in existence to the future generations.
This conception on the other hand indicates that knowledge can be also be created and the ? The cognitive processes conceptions In the cognitive conception the content is criticized by others as being excessive and it also puts no emphasis on the learning process. The sole purpose of this conception is the provision of necessary skills and processes to the learners so that they can then be able to learn how to learn well.
On the other hand the conception is aimed at providing the learners with the opportunities that would further help them in enhancing their intellectual faculties. (Riding, Phil, Howell, Sue and Levy, Phil 1995) The conception is also based on the argument that the mind has various cognitive faculties which should and also can be enhanced deliberately and they faculties further need a deliberate attention if they are to assist the learners and also help them in their growth.
This conception advocates for developing a curriculum that encourages the teachers to use several combinations of their teaching strategies and once the students are competent with their skills then they are encouraged to solve various problems. The conception also emphasizes on evaluation that is based on the application of the concept and acquisition which maybe further achieved through the use of problem solving situations and also by testing. The conception however values the learning and also the rigor particularly if they are applied in different specific contexts.
? The humanistic conception The humanistic conception is also called the personal relevance conception and it further supports the view that the curriculum which is used in the schools should provide the learners with intrinsic rewarding experiences so as to enhance their personal development. The humanistic perspective however relies on the work of the humanistic and experimental psychologists who argue that the curriculum should enhance personal growth.
They also claim that the curriculum should give more opportunities to the learners so that they can enhance their individual self concept in order to achieve their self actualization. The most ideal issue in the humanistic approach is self actualization of an individual. The humanistic educators on the other hand effect an integration of the affective, psychomotor and the cognitive domains. In the humanist conception the curriculum content mainly consists of the situations that are valuing, experiences that are self examining, and social emphasis so as to produce the learning experiences that are vital and very enriching.
In this conception the content is however perceived as a liberating force in enhancing the learner’s growth towards their self actualization. In the humanistic perspective the most essential feature in the curriculum is that the teacher should provide a very supportive environment so as to enhance self learning in the learners. The concept also emphasizes on the holistic and integrated approach where the teacher is the facilitator, supporter as well as the resource person. In the humanistic conception there is an opposition to evaluating the performance of the students.
The educators in this conception emphasize on the learners personal growth other than the precise measures on the students performance that is based on some defined criteria. The techniques that are employed include interviews, observation, personal diaries, reflection an also participation. In general the assessment of the learners however takes very low profile as the learners experience their learning which is far more important than the learners attaining high marks. ? The social reconstructionists conception
This conception supports the status quo and the theorist’s further claim that the curriculum in the schools should affect the social reforms so that the society can be improved and made better for every one. On the other hand in this perspective the betterment and the societal needs are positioned above the needs of the individual. The conception has three perspectives which seek to foster critical discontent within learners in the schools and they are inclusive of; the futurist perspective, the social Reconstructionism and the social adaptation.
(University of Phoenix 2002) The three highly favour the learners by making them more critically aware of their environment so that they can be able to facilitate the reforms in the society. First and foremost the social adaptation is a conservative case for the school curriculum adaptation to be able to meet the needs of the society. The social Reconstructionism is a critical and also radical perspective which demands that a rapid change in the curriculum would be able to meet the immediate and the urgent needs of the society.
The futurist perspective on the other hand gives a speculative view of what the curriculum might look like so that it can meet the needs of the society that are perceived. The content in this perspective is drawn from an examination of the needs of the society, future aspirations, current ideals and also the social issues. The role of the curriculum conceptions in shaping education The curriculum conceptions play a very significant and also a major role in the shaping of the curriculum.
First and foremost they assist the curriculum developers construct a curriculum that is well organized in relation to the curriculum’s concepts which have been in existence. On the other hand the curriculum conceptions assist the curriculum developers further develop a curriculum that encompasses all the members of the of the society in their own diversity. The curriculum conceptions further helps the curriculum developers in their decision making tasks of curriculum development and thus they play an important role in the determination of the final nature of a curriculum.
A personal conception Personally I would develop a curriculum that that is more readily understood by the curriculum developers as well as the learners themselves. I would choose a curriculum that would be easily adapted and also comprehended satisfactorily. I would consider applying a feature of the humanistic perspective which opts for the learner cantered design as well as provide the learners with intrinsically rewarding experiences that enhance on their personal growth. (Savage and Sherry 1991)
I would also incorporate an aspect of the academic rationalists who enhance the intellectual abilities of an individual by the study of worthwhile subjects. Also I would not leave the aspect of the cognitive conception as this will further enable the students to develop their cognitive skills that will then enable them in resolving their personal needs and also problems. In my conception I would also incorporate some aspects of the social re-constructionists so that the learners will be able to reform and further help in producing a better society for all the people.
A good example of my conception in the military field is whereby the army of the United States of America has a training curriculum whose content includes encompasses all the four major curriculum conceptions aspects. For instance in the cognitive conception the military training curriculum content provides the military trainees with the necessary skills such as the defence skills so that they can be able to enhance their intellectual faculties.
Similarly the content in the curriculum of the American military according to the concepts of the academic rationalists help the military trainees to develop a learning mind with an objective of gaining skills and knowledge that can be tested by evidence. For instance the content that is learned by military trainees will have the skills and knowledge tested by practice that could be going for a war for the defence of the country. Global and local issues affecting curriculum development In curriculum development there are local and global issues that affect the curriculum.
In the curriculum development the global dimensions incorporates the key concepts of conflict resolution, human rights, diversity, global citizenship, values and perceptions, social justice and also interdependence. • Diversity. In diversity the curriculum should help the students understand and also respect their differences in relation to the common humanity. The curriculum should help the learners appreciate their differences and also similarities globally and in their context of the human rights.
The curriculum should also help the learner’s value bio-diversity as well as develop a sense of awe at the variety of 0ther people’s environments around the world. • Global citizenship. In the issue of global citizenship the curriculum should enable the learners to gain skills, knowledge and also the understanding of the institutions and concepts which help them to become, active, responsible and also informed citizens. In this issue also the curriculum should help the learners further appreciate the global context of the national and global issues and also the decisions which are made at the societal and personal level.
For instance, in the science curriculum the content should promote discussions on the science based issues which may affect the lives of the learners, the society’s direction as well as the world’s future. • Conflict resolution. In the issue of conflict resolution the curriculum should help the learners understand the need of maintaining and also improving the existing quality of life without further damaging the planet earth for the generations to come.
For instance in the geography and science curriculum the content should contain the principles of sustainable development as it further explains the positive and the negative effects of the technological advancements on the people and the environment at large. The content should also highlight the need of choosing various materials, making various processes and also using the available resources sensitively. • Human rights. In the issue of the human rights the curriculum should help the learners know as well as understand about the human rights as they value the common humanity.
They should also be able to understand the framework of the human rights as an instrument for challenging the prejudices and inequalities that may in existence such as racism. For instance, in the history curriculum the content should be able to teach the learners on the lives of the people who have fought for the rights of the human beings globally. • Interdependence. In this issue the curriculum should help the learners understand how different people, economies, places and also environments are all interrelated and also that various choices and events have different repercussions globally.
Furthermore the curriculum should enable the learners to comprehend how the world is a global community and also the meaning of being a citizen. For instance, in the history curriculum the content should show the learners how historical events around the world are interrelated and in geography the content should help the students understand why places and people are interdependent. (Print 1993) • Sustainable development.
In the issue of sustainable development the curriculum should have a content that allows the learners to understand the need of maintaining and improving the quality of life presently without destroying the earth’s environment for the generations to come. The learners should be able to understand and appreciate that the economic development is the only aspect of the quality of life. For instance, the history curriculum should have content that shows how the actions in the past and the choices also in the past have affected the environment as well as the lives of the people.
•Values and perceptions. In the issue of values and perceptions the curriculum should enable the learners to develop critical evaluation of the representations in the global issues and also an appreciation of the effects that values and perceptions have on people’s values and attitudes. In science for example the curriculum content should be able to indicate how the different cultures are perceived and the extent to which the scientific idea’s are used, valued as well as accepted. • Social justice.
In the issue of social justice the learners should be able to understand the importance of social justice as an element in both improved welfare of the people and also sustainable development. For instance the geography curriculum should however have a content that shows how the level of development in the various parts of the world is related top individuals quality of life. (Cole & Suggett, 1994) Strategic and operational issues affecting curriculum development There are also various strategic and operational issues that affect the development of a curriculum.
These include the adaptation to the new curriculum, financial planning issues, and the workforce that is involved in the development of the curriculum, the curriculum implementation planning, assessment as well as the alignment process. Conclusion In conclusion the curriculum plays a very significant role in modelling the various approaches which will be used to impart the learners with beneficial knowledge and skills. Reference: Cole, P. & Suggett, D (1994): Understanding Teaching, Curriculum and the social context of schooling. New York: Macmillan, Print, M.
(1993): Curriculum development and design. St Leonard’s, Australia. Unwin & Allen publishers. Savage, E. and Sherry, L. (1991): A conceptual framework for technology education. International Technology Education Association; Reston, VA University of Phoenix (2002): Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing. Riding, Phil, Howell, Sue and Levy, Phil (1995): An action research approach to curriculum development Information Research, retrieved from; http://InformationR. net/ir/1-1/paper2. html accessed on 5th November 2007.
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