CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT – A progressive and visionary approach

The Context

The term ‘Curriculum’ seems to convey many things to many people. It must be recognized that Curriculum is a key element in the educational process; its scope is extremely broad, and it touches virtually all stakeholders, involved with teaching and learning and development activities.

The Approach

Traditionally, curricula have been developed in a somewhat haphazard manner with little consideration given to the impact of the development process.  A curriculum soon becomes outdated if steps are not taken to keep it dynamic and evolving with time so as to ensure relevance. The extent to which it assists students to enter and succeed in the industry can measure the success of curriculum development.

As a curriculum is being developed, the career and technical educator is obligated to deal with these concerns in such a way that quality is built into the ‘finished product’ or graduate.  Any curriculum that is not developed systematically, or that becomes static or irrelevant, will soon have an adverse effect on all who come in contact with it. Therefore, curriculum developers must give consideration to the basic character of the curriculum and build in those factors that contribute to its quality. As the development process goes on, outcomes of this process must be made clear and measurable with time. 

There are some critical success factors for a dynamic and relevant curriculum.  Each of these factors is important to the success of the contemporary curriculum, each is congruent with the character of career development of the graduate. These critical to success factors are explained below.

Data-Based

The contemporary curriculum cannot function properly unless it is data-based.  Decisions about whether or not to offer a curriculum need to be founded upon appropriate career and community related data.

Dynamic

A static curriculum is a dying curriculum.  Just as career is in a dynamic state, its curricula must, likewise, be dynamic.  Administrators, curriculum developers, and instructors must constantly examine the curriculum in terms of what it is doing and how well it meets student’s career needs.

Explicit Outcomes

The contemporary curriculum must be responsive to the world of work; it must also be able to communicate this responsiveness to administrators, teachers, students, parents, and employers. 

Realistic

If students are to be prepared properly for employment, the curricular focus must be relevant.  The curriculum content is typically based upon the relevant tasks, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values serving as a foundation for what is to be taught.  Great emphasis must be placed upon its practicality.

Student-Oriented

Currently there is a great deal of concern about how a curriculum can best meet students’ needs.  Various approaches such as team teaching and individualized instruction are being used to help meet these needs. The curriculum must meet group needs as well as individual student’s needs.

Evaluation-Conscious

Curriculum evaluation has to be an on ongoing activity. As a curriculum is being designed, plans must be made to systematically assess its effects on students in terms of practicality in their career development.

Future-Oriented

Educators and curriculum designers should be very much concerned about the future. Persons responsible for the contemporary curriculum need to ensure that ongoing curricula are considered in relation to what will or may occur in the future. 

World Class-Focused

In recent years, much discussion has centered on the world-class workplace. Benchmarking against world-class standards, focusing on total quality, and empowering self-directed work teams are some ways that businesses and industries adopt to become world class. Likewise, curricula that prepare students to work in these businesses and industries must be developed to provide world class-focused learning experiences.  Before graduating, each student should know what makes the difference between world class and less than world class performance and be prepared to perform at a world-class level. 

IF WE PREPARE AND PREVENT THEN WE DO NOT HAVE TO REPAIR AND REPENT.

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