Curriculum Theory and Practice

The four models of curriculum are the following:

  1. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted
  2. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product
  3. Curriculum as process
  4. Curriculum as praxis

Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted:
This model explains how curriculum relates with a syllabus. It includes the contents and subjects that outline upcoming events, such as assignments due and examinations, which is a helpful tool in organization. In addition, it outlines the way the topics will be studied in, allowing students to be prepared for future classes. With this method comes the importance of content, but that comes with a drawback. Smith (2000) states that “[those] who still equate curriculum with a syllabus are likely to limit their planning to a consideration of the content or the body of knowledge that they wish to transmit” (p.3). In that case, students may be limiting themselves from further understandings or considering ideas beyond what is listed in the contents of the syllabus.

Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product:
This model looks at how outcomes are set, planned, applied, and the results evaluated.  On the bottom of page four we see the productive thinking set that consist of seven steps. This model has an organizing power that provides a clear understanding of the outcomes so that it can be evaluated. It may include pre-specified goals to benefit both teachers and learners. However, there are some issues with this approach like how some will feel like “they are told what they must learn and how they will do it” (Smith, 2000, p.4). This causes problems for both the learners and the programmes. In addition, sometimes things have to be broken down into smaller components in order to evaluate. With this, the smaller parts are taken into account rather than the whole when focusing on curriculum theory and practice. It is like having a to-do list and when all items are checked off, that is when they have finished the course, which does not show their progress.

Curriculum asprocess:
This model focuses on how curriculum is the interactions of teachers, students, and knowledge. It is focused on what happens in the classroom and how people prepare and evaluate. When teachers are in school they know how to think critically on the spot, know their role and what is expected of them, and a plan. This model is an active process that includes conversations between, and with, people in the class to spark thinking and action. It is an ongoing process of evaluating and what their outcomes are.

Curriculum as praxis:
This model is an expansion of the process model and actions is not informed, but also committed. It is an ongoing evaluation and process that does not focus on an individual, but as a whole. This allows great conversations between students and teachers which keeps it engaging.

Throughout my education, I find that it focused on curriculum as a body of knowledge in my elementary years. I usually found myself answering questions on sheets where the questions were already generated by whatever source the teacher got it from. No one really questioned why or how these sheets would benefit us besides new information. It did not really give people a way to discuss with one another. The sheets would usually have a key to the answers, so most of the questions were either right or wrong. This model did not work for those students who like to question things and who had opinions on certain topics. Whatever answer was on the sheet was the only answer and there was no room for discussion. Reflecting on this now, I think students need the time and opportunity to question what is being taught and to be able to converse about subjects in school. This would benefit students who have a hard time expanding on ideas and are able to hear other opinions.

1 thought on “Curriculum Theory and Practice

  1. I think that our school experiences were quite similar. There was not typically a lot of room or space for students to engage in meaningful conversations and to explore new avenues. From reading this article and reflecting on your own schooling are there any thoughts you have that will influence how you teach going forward?


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