Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed? This is an entry point to this topic and whatever you write will be fine.
After doing the reading, please write your blog entry. Reflect upon:
How are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?
I think that government officials and a few teachers create the formal curriculum. I assume that people who have good experience in education participate. I think that this process involves a lot of meetings and discussions, which may result in a long process, maybe even taking a couple years. I know that students are very very rarely involved in the process. If major changes are made to the curriculum, parents, teachers, and school board staff can vote on the changes, I think. In addition, I do not think the personalities of the people who participate in creating the formal curriculum need to be good. I think that just someone to do the job is desired.
According to Levin (2007), the process of formal curriculum involves a group of experts, including government officials, teachers, principals, senior administrators and elected local authorities. The group is organized/directed by the ministries of Education. The current curriculum is reviewed and suggestions are made and agreed upon in regards to what could be changed for the new curriculum. Then, a draft may be released and a final version of the curriculum is created. The process could take several years, like I expected. The implementation of the curriculum does not seem to be enforced very strictly. I think accurate research behind the new curriculum, and a very big push to implement it, would be beneficial, or if teachers were properly educated on the new aspects of the curriculum.
I did not know that post-secondary staff decided, in correlation with high schools, the entrance requirements and, therefore, influences the formal curriculum. This makes sense; post-secondary staff must take into considerations what courses are available in the area for students to be eligible to enter a certain program. It never crossed my mind! In addition, I have known since high school that certain high schools offer different courses to take as electives, based on the school’s values, etc., but I did not think about this as the school contributing to the curriculum, this is surprising to view in that way. It makes senses because not every school should offer the exact same courses, I think, because this limits students to certain career paths for their future and limits individual interests.
It surprises me that experts on a certain subject are involved less in the formal curriculum process than I thought. Levin (2008) argues that experts do not consider/are not familiar with the actual teaching of the subject and lower expertise of learners than what they may be used to. I think teachers could learn from someone in an area of expertise and benefit students that are affected by the formal curriculum, including effective implementation. Levin (2008) states, “There is a large gap between producing a curriculum and the experience of students in the classroom. … Classroom practice can be [far] from [the] new curricula and … a change in curricula can have [little impact] on teaching practice.” (p. 20). This illustrates the reality of what happens after the curriculum has been changed, which is concerning to me. I would assume that when teachers are told that they need to change what or how they’re teaching that they do so immediately. However, I can understand that it can be difficult to change something that some teachers may have been doing their entire career or disagree with.
I am surprised and concerned at how much politics is involved in the creation of the formal curriculum. Levin (2008) writes, "elected government are subject to pressures and constraints based on voter preferences, election timing, and the views of key interest groups" (p. 9). The pressure of the public on government officials who make/change education policies could influence the formal curriculum in good or bad ways, after all, "[government tries] to do what votes want" (Levin, 2008, p. 9)
Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7–24). Retrieved from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.