Week 5: Curriculum Policy
Before reading: how do you think school curriculum is developed?
After reading: how are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum?
I think that curriculum is developed by societal values and what might work toward student learning. I think that school administration, not so much teachers but possibly principles and those on the school board get together and discuss what it is that works and does not work. I imagine during this process, they would agree on things that should be taught and maybe even rate those things of the most important to the least important. I would like to think that teachers do have some input, maybe they’re given a sheet at the end of every year to fill out that rates the curriculum content, what they think worked for them and their students and what did not.
As a student, I didn’t think about how curriculum is developed and what measures were taken to decide those things. So now that I’m faced with this question I’m having a hard time trying to come up with ideas of what the processes are in developing curriculum. I question now whether the participants had tried to research and understand what they thought had worked and what did not or if the fact that it didn’t work was taken into consideration. I wonder if it consists of just modifying the old curriculum to align with the new technology or to add the historical events that have taken place since after the first curriculum was made. I remember in high school we would come back from the summer break and find out “Oh, we don’t teach that anymore. Students no longer need to know that or students no longer need to do it that way.” So I thought as a student “right on!” instead of “okay, but why?” It makes me question why this content was taken out. What is it that determines curriculum? How is it developed?
After having read the assigned reading I learned that my understanding of how curriculum was developed is much more complex. I learned that curriculum is developed with regard to subject and content. The debate on what subject gets more attention and what content is included in that subject is discussed by participants at different levels of education governance, dependant on different parts of the country. In most cases the final decision “rests with national or subnational governments” (Levin 2008). It is also subject to political influences, individual influences, but individuals at the frontline of education – teachers, principals, and administrators are almost always involved in the curriculum process. The final decisions in subject and content in shaping curriculum is then mainly influenced by “ideology, personal values, issues in the public domain, and interests” (Levin pp. 24). The circumstances surrounding curriculum development didn’t initially surprise me, some of these processes seem logical but it doesn’t take into consideration other perspectives. What concerns me is the political and individual influences in developing curriculum because the decisions that are made by individual values and ideologies are not always what is best for children, in some cases these individual decisions could be detrimental to the learning experiences of children.