The Formation of the Curriculum: Before and After Thoughts

Before the Reading:

I think school curricula are developed through a series of steps that are conducted to create a curriculum that suits the needs of the school and society. I imagine a group of higher individuals in the education profession meeting in a conference room discussing what is and is not important to include in the curriculum. I also believe that the teachers have some say into what is important and not. Through teacher conferences, surveys, and meetings teachers are able to confess their concerns, wants and needs to the board that will then be taken into consideration when it comes to forming the curriculum. I think the curriculum is formed by people in the dominant group at the specific geopolitical location and that they take specific consideration towards the desirable class (for example middle-class individuals). I think the demographics of society highly impact what is being seen as important to be taught as well as what perspective the information is coming from. Another important point I believe about curriculum is that it takes in little consideration of what students want out of their learning. Overall, I believe the development of the curriculum takes in many different factors before reaching the final product, these factors may benefit one specific group and disadvantage other groups.

After the Reading:

After reading the article Curriculum Policy and The Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools, written by Ben Levin I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how the curriculum was and is truly formed. This reading looked at how politics heavily impact the creation of the curriculum and the steps that are taken to form a new curriculum. To begin, my before thought of how the curriculum was created was not too far off what the reading stated. However, there were some key points that the reading reflected upon that I did not take into consideration before.

One of the biggest issues that was brought to my attention by Levin is, out of all the people to accommodate and the different values and beliefs these individual people hold, how does the education policymakers decide which individuals voices are heard and which ones are not. In my before the reading statement, I stated that the individuals of the dominant culture are often the ones who are heard, however, is this still true? The article stated the importance of bringing society in to play a role in the formation of curriculum, however, not all societal groups wishes are heard. Levin states that the people who often are the most financed, and their wishes and beliefs are understood more deeply are often the ones who impact the curriculum. For example; larger businesses have a say in the curriculum and what classes students should learn that will benefit their company in the long run. Another issue that was brought to my attention that I did not consider beforehand was the issue between subject experts and teachers. At first, I was unsure of what this even meant, however, after continuing reading a realized how this could be very problematic in the school. This issue looks at when subject experts such as professors are constructing the curriculum, their objectives are often to complex for teachers to successfully teach and for students to successfully learn. Teachers are more concerned about having a curriculum that embraces all students diverse learning needs and give their students opportunities to learn at their fullest potentials.

Who is involved in the process?

As mentioned above, before I did the reading I did not think many people of the community were involved in the development of the curriculum. I even thought teachers had little say in the formation and it was mostly up to the people higher up in the education field to develop and decide the important information that should be taught in the classroom. However, according to Levin, “education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation.” With that, people of the society, school, and government have a say in the development of the curriculum. Groups that contributed and had little say in the curriculum development would be parents, non-educators, students, and minority groups. The individuals who were apart of the reference committee were often teachers and other individuals apart of the federation. I am not so sure that this is always how it has been, and I am interested to see if all of these individuals are truly part of the decision- making process. Levin also states that the final say in curriculum and education policies come down to both the national and subnational governments. After going through grade school following the curriculum as well as taking this class and learning about many issues that arise in the school system because of the curriculum, I was somewhat shocked at how many individuals were able to give input to the formation of the curriculum. However, I was not shocked that some businesses and beliefs had a larger impact on the formation than others. This article was released in 2007, and Levin stated it takes many years to form a new curriculum, so maybe we will begin seeing more diversity through the pages as we explore the newly made curriculums in the week’s to come!

What is the process?

The process is conducted by jurisdictions that layout important guidelines that one must follow when revising the curriculum. The individuals who often revise the curriculum are teachers and subject experts, and the revising is often lead by a certain government official. It is important to state that the traditional views of the curriculum did not have many connections towards actual teaching in the classroom, just on the content. Levin’s perspective now looks at both the content and teaching methods by bringing experts of the subject as well as teachers together to collaborate to make a curriculum that benefits all who are involved. Curriculum reviews are now seeing more parents, students, and non-educators portraying their needs and wants. A rigorous process that can take many years to form is now developed through more voices than ever before. Again, one main concern I have with this is it actually happening, are people actually being heard and are changes being made? Because from the information we have gained thus far in the class I do not see nor hear many voices being portrayed through the curriculum.

Overall, there are so many considerations that must be made when it comes to developing the curriculum. Considerations such as ideology, personal values, issues in the public domain, and interests as Levin stated throughout his article. I found this article very interesting and what I thought I knew about how the curriculum was formed may be more about how the curriculum used to be formed. I really enjoyed how this article tied in the importance of understanding all that the government and policymakers have to do. I think we sometimes forget how much they must accomplish and overall, they are trying to make decisions that will hopefully benefit many individuals in society.

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