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How Is School Curriculum Established?

How is the school curriculum established, and what are the steps involved?

No matter what level of education you provide, as an educator, you will certainly be aware that school curriculum preparation is at the core of effective teaching. A well-designed curriculum can help you and your students achieve learning outcomes and academic objectives. You may be further cognizant of the fact that curriculum-making philosophy has rapidly evolved in the past few years.

The curriculum now refers to the whole teaching plan concerning the course under consideration. Hence, it encompasses assessments, materials, teaching strategy, and learning objectives, among other key facets. In general, curriculum development refers to the methodology through which institutes and instructors create the teaching plan for any given course.

Since this is a topic of wide scope, it is hard to discuss all the nuances of curriculum development in a few words. Curriculum development best practices are paramount for purveying the best possible learning experience and outcomes for your students.

Curriculum Development Processes and Models

There are two rudimentary models vis-a-vis curriculum development: the process and product models. These are two time-tested models about which plenty of literature exists, including entire volumes. Here is a brief elucidation to give you a basic idea of what these two models are about.

Product Model

This model also goes by the name of the objectives model. The product model accentuates results, outcomes, and evaluations. It primarily focuses on the learning outcome - that is, what has been learned. If standardized test scores are a priority in your curriculum development, then it would be better to follow this model.

The general perception is that the product model is more rigid and thus harder to align with the unique needs of your students. However, it does have the prime advantage of providing the ability to use standardized scores to assess learning results.

Process Model

The process model emphasizes the learning that occurs over time. The focus is on the student learning process, how they are learning, and their experience during the learning time frame. As a result, this method is inherently more open-ended and flexible. Hence, it can be more easily adapted to the unique learning requirements of your students.

The process model entails scrutinizing student development and academic growth instead of focusing singularly on exam performance. Now that you have understood the basics of curriculum development, here are the best practices that you can adopt.

Collate Learning Material

Organization is imperative for any project to succeed. Due diligence in this regard is thus vital. Simply collect and organize all of your teaching material and learning resources. This could be the notes from what you have taught or the research you or your colleagues have conducted.

So you should arrange and integrate online resources, journal articles, projects, exams, quizzes, assignments, lectures, notes, hand-outs, textbooks and any other useful course information that you have garnered while teaching. You can also ask your colleagues for assistance.

All of this material should go into one computer folder. The upshot of organization is that you will have all necessary material in one place where it is easily accessible.

Work Out Objectives and their Time Frames

Curriculum development is a painstaking and arduous process. So you should develop a time frame within which key milestones of this project are to be attained. This will empower you to fulfill your objectives on time.

Work out the competencies that the course and its constituent chapters are meant to develop. You should design lectures, reviews, assessments, assignments, and classroom activities for all of these chapters.

This will help to bolster students' understanding of the course and allow you to evaluate their competencies accurately. Assignments and classroom activities are instrumental in developing their core abilities and competencies.

Map Out the Course

break up the course into its constituent units and describe how each one of these helps develop the competencies that you outlined in the previous step.

Make sure that the order of these units is logical so that students will be able to assimilate learning material with ease and acquire requisite knowledge before they move on to more challenging and advanced concepts.

Hence, you should break down the course into units and sub-units. For each, you should answer the following key questions.

- What key concepts does it cover?

- What are the learning outcomes?

- What reviews, classroom activities and assignments are necessary to develop an understanding of the unit?

Assessment Exercises

Assessments encompass a coherent series of tests, quizzes and exams to evaluate student understanding of the course.

Design all assessments so that gaps in student knowledge are easily identified. Before moving on to the next topic or unit, you should ensure that all knowledge gaps and misunderstandings are remediated.

Go Online

Making the course available online is by itself a major project. Although it entails plenty of hard work, the results can be extremely worthwhile.

Students who miss out due to absences will not be left behind. And those who want to review the class lecture will be free to do so as many times as they like. This can be a powerful way to reinforce and bolster learning. Students can watch and rewatch lectures and class discussions to consolidate their learning and embedding concepts into their long-term memory.

Design the online course so that it is smartphone-friendly. Why not leverage students’ obsession with their electronic devices to promote learning? In view of its excellent benefits, a high-tech approach to learning is no longer an option.

Bottom Line

School curriculum development epitomizes the arduous labor and meticulous care that educators must take for their pupils' academic advancement and empowerment. It is undoubtedly a challenging endeavor that merits plenty of time, effort, and focus. However, the results can be rewarding since educators can be proud of their students' subsequent academic excellence and progress. Teaching the course can be much smoother if due diligence is exercised with respect to school curriculum development.