Curriculum as a product

The dominant modes of describing and managing education are today couched in the productive form. Education is most often seen as a technical exercise. Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured. It is way of thinking about education that has grown in influence in the United Kingdom since the late 1970's with the rise of vocationalism and the concern with competencies.

The central theory (of curriculum) is simple. Human life, however varied, consist in the performance of specific activities. Education that prepares for life is one that prepares definitely and adequately for these specific activities. However numerous and diverse they may be for any social class they can be discovered. This requires only that one go out into the world of affairs and discover the particulars of which their affairs consist. These will show the abilities, attitudes, habits, appreciations and forms of knowledge that men need. These will be the objectives of the curriculum. They will be numerous, definite, and particularized. The curriculum will then be that series of experiences which children and youth must have by way of obtaining those objectives.

We can see how these concerns translate into a nicely-ordered procedure; one that is very similar to the technical or productive thinking set out below.

Step 1 : Diagnosis of need

Step 2 : Formulation of objectives

Step 3 : Selection of content

Step 4 : Organization of content

Step 5 : Selection of learning experiences

Step 6 : Organization of learning experiences

Step 7 : Determination of what to evaluate and of the ways and means of doing it.

The attraction of this way of approaching curriculum theory and practice is that it is systematic and has considerable organizing power. Central to approach is the formulation of bahavioural objectives - providing a clear notion of outcome so that content and method may be organized and the results evaluated.


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