Curriculum as process

We have seen that the curriculum as product model is heavily dependent on the setting of behavioural objectives. The curriculum, essentially, is a set of documents for implementation. Another way of looking at curriculum theory and practice is via process. In this sense curriculum is not a physical thing, but rather the interaction of teachers, students and knowledge. In other words, curriculum is what actually happens in the classroom and what people do to prepare and evaluate. What we have in this model is a number of elements in constant interaction. It is an active process and links with the practical form of reasoning set out by Aristotle.

Teachers enter particular schooling and situations with an ability to think critically, -in- action an understanding of their role and expectations others have them, and a proposal for action which sets out essential principles and features of the educational encounter. Guided by these, they encourage conversations between, and with, people in the situation out of which may come thinking and action. They continually evaluate the process and what they can see of outcomes.

It was essentially as a way of helping them to think about their work before, during and after interventions; as a means of enabling educators to make judgements about the direction their work was taking. This is what Stenhouse was picking up on.

Stenhouse on curriculum
As a minimum, a curriculum should provide a basis for planning a course, studying it empirically and considering the grounds of its justification. It should offer:

A. In planning

1. Principle for the selection of content - what is to be learned and taught.

2. Principles for development of a teaching startegy - how it is to be learned and taught.

3. Principles for the making of decisions about sequence.

4. Principles on which to diagnose the strengths and weeknesses of individual students and differentiate the general principles 1, 2 and 3 above, to meet individual cases.

B. In empirical study

1. Principles on which to study and the evaluate the progress of students.

2. Principles on which to study and evaluate the progress of teachers.

3. Guidance as to the feasibility of implementing the curriculum in varying school context, pupil context, environments and peer-group situations.

4. Information about the variability of effects in differing contexts and on different pupils and an understanding of causes of the variation.

C. In relation to justification

A formulation of the intention or aim of the curriculum which is a accessible to critical scrutiny.

Stenhouse 1975:5


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