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October 9, 2013

Essay on Philosophy of Curriculum

Philosophy of Curriculum
Philosophy plays a pivotal part in the development of curriculum. Through philosophy, the curriculum developers can introduce the most effective and preferable type of education. Philosophy helps in attaining wisdom and understanding life in its totality.  On the other hand, Tanner & Tanner (1980) pointed out that “the term philosophy is often used by teachers and administrators to convey their common-sense outlook on educational and curricular matters”.(p.56)
            First of all, curriculum makers should fully take ownership of the curriculum they produce. Keeping the curriculum in line with the philosophical ideas can nurture the passion of students to involve in the process even more curiously and rigorously. The content and organization of the curriculum should be coherent and cohesive to keep the interest of both the teachers and students alive. Philosophy is an instrumental tool in infusing awareness about the beliefs regarding the nature of knowledge and its use, society, individual and the process of learning.
Horton and Hanes (1993) accentuates the importance of philosophical views as being the most important components within the scope of curriculum saying “, these views are best expressed by taking an eclectic or integrated approach, drawing from Naturalism, Pragmatism, Existentialism and Phenomenology.”(Horton & Hanes, 1993)
Precisely put, Naturalism emphasizes individual development and does not necessarily require conformity on the part of students .it calls for close contact with nature. Moreover, from the standpoint of pragmatist school of thought, knowledge is a phenomenon that can be carved out through the construction of experiences. 
            The philosophy of Existentialism and Phenomenology is taught in such a way that it does not become contradictory with the view of Naturalism. The idea stressed here is that since the world is fast becoming an isolated reality therefore one must accept responsibility for one’s life. It then becomes essential to appreciate and deal with events in an individual’s life within the framework of historical perspective. 
The major goal of curriculum should be well-grounded in the factual reality and must ensure that the individual’s choice remains a major element in the personal development and growth of a student.   Students, only if given the freedom of choice, they can embark on the journey of lifelong learning. The curriculum makers must come up with other alternatives of learning methods and fully internalize the fact that curriculum however it may be should make the understanding of self and others possible. The more information an individual has, the possibility of having the greater knowledge becomes possible.
In my opinion, the entire process of learning depends on the student’s ability to utilize the linguistic information presented to them in whatever form. Curriculum is crucial because the learning process takes its effects on the students through text.
Undoubtedly, the significance of text-based learning is an old method used by educationalists. However, the process has seen different changes that have influenced greatly the academic development of students.
            Text has always been considered as the linear connected discourse disseminated through textbook, newspapers or magazine. It has remained central to the process of human learning being the most urgent source of in-text based learning.
Other forms of text happened to be progressively more vital mechanism in school learning. Particularly, it was also made mandatory on students to extract learning from the less linear and more ephemeral messages received daily in discussions and online. Hence, students must become acquainted with all modalities of text in order to learn more effectively in the times to come. 
   Furthermore, while taking into account student learning, one must go beyond effortless ideas about the attainment of declarative and procedural knowledge. Learning is in essence the process of prompting unfathomable and lasting changes in the outlook of students towards knowledge, beliefs, motivations, and problem-solving abilities.
The educationalists should focus on the dimensions of knowledge and their association to the process of learning from text. Quite glaringly, learning from any text is a process inescapably knotted with knowledge and beliefs. Therefore, the curriculum should introduce students to the array of knowledge and beliefs through text.     
            Needless to say, the process of learning from text hinges crucially on the genre and structure which students come across in books, discussions, and online on internet. For instance, the curriculum should allow students to deal with the narrative text, those that get across valuable information (i.e., exposition) and also those where are the blend of both in some way (i.e., mixed text).
Each genre has its bearing on the understanding of the student. It influences the mindset of students in different ways. In addition, some texts put forward just one perspective regarding the topic or issue, while others provides multiple and competing views.
Curriculum with its verified and diverse structure is always most likely to influence the knowledge and beliefs of students in an effective manner. This can make narrative or expository, one-sided or multi-faceted texts and perspectives easier for the students to assimilate the intended purpose coherently and cohesively. Any text that is inconsiderate and difficult for students to understand should not be included in the curriculum.
Research indicates that the text genre greatly influences student learning. Different narratives, such as classical myths and novels all serve to mirror factual or fictitious experiences. With their understandable story structure and appealing gist, they can be an easier form for students to understand and form their own perspective about life and different experiences. The classics and other modern narratives present even the most complex information in a very interesting way which in turn intensifies students’ efforts to learn from them.
            On the contrary, expository texts such as encyclopedias and newspapers disseminate information about the general principles and behavioral patterns. Dense with facts and concepts, they rather become dry in style. However, such information can be presented in an interesting way so that the students learn from such texts. The students should be given proper guidelines and set of instructions which would serve to eliminate all their difficulties in understanding it. At this point, diversion of expository text is required in order to achieve the desired result of the course matter.  
            The blend of narration and exposition will work best to enhance the learning capacities of the concepts. Biography can be seen as the most basic example of a mixed text as it contains both the simple and complex information in an unambiguous manner allowing students to learn from it. The curriculum should remove students’ uncertainty over what is factual and what is fiction. Diversion in the mixed text can also take place as it does in exposition.
            In my view, the quality of the text matter most. The quality contributes a lot to the learning outcomes of any course. It increases the credibility and comprehensibility of the curriculum.
            Argumentative structure of the text also plays a pivotal role in the learning of the students. Students are more likely to comprehend and respond to any argument and substantiate their viewpoint with tenable evidence if the text comes in multiple forms such as with graphs, stories and examples. It must include personally relevant scenarios and things that students can relate to with the smattering of graphical and statistical data.
            All in all, curriculum must contain genre which has a plausible structure, insightful content, and qualitative outcomes. All of the above stated factors play a pivotal role in the learning of the student and nurture their knowledge and already-held beliefs about different dimensions of life. 

Horton, R. & Hanes, H. (1993). Philosophical considerations for curriculum development in
environmental education: The environmental outlook. Columbus, Ohio: ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.
Tanner, Daniel & Tanner, Laurel (1980). Curriculum Development: Theory into practice.

Prentice Hall


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