Curriculum Purpose and Content: Basic Concepts
In this chapter, four, Posner discuses the basic issues surrounding the understanding of purpose and contents of a particular curriculum. Posner approaches this through the dimension of reliability and relevancy of a curriculum. However, Posner laments that the consideration of reliability and relevancy of curriculum must be in line with accommodation of contemporary ideas and approaches to suit the factor of an up to date curriculum. From earlier works Posner quotes that the content of curriculum must be subjected to, “fact, concept, procedure, and principle” while the purpose is subjected to, “remember, use, and find”. The development of curriculum responsibility to pass knowledge and create reliable and knowledgeable persons is in line with the universal purpose of education. Education is meant to empower people. Therefore, a curriculum as suggested by Posner must relay the four concepts of content in order to be useful. For example, Posner ponders on the validity and usefulness of curriculum if it does not cater for the needs of a particular environment. This raises the question of whether people should be dictated the curriculum to use or whether they should decide a curriculum based on their own environment.
On the issue of content and purpose, Posner discuses that the main concepts must be approached through Scope and sequence, syllabus, content outline, textbook, course of study and planned experience. With those in mind, student’s needs are considered as well as the experience required to foster the student’s needs. The first step as Posner suggests is creating a list of intended learning result, with the responsibility of guiding both the instructional and assessment decisions. This is because that step recognizes the student’s needs and their prior knowledge based on the environment they are reared in. as the process of laying the syllabus goes on purpose of education must be defined and the expected outcomes through a proper guide from experienced tutors.
Curriculum Purpose and Content: Conflicting Perspectives
In this chapter, five, Posner identifies the probable issues that would hinder definition and purpose of a curriculum. The hindrances are based on the seven factors known as “Frame Factors”. The frame factors include concepts related to temporal, physical, political-legal, organizational, personal, economic and cultural. These are also the main suspects that would be present in hindering something that can differ from one community to another. For example, there is a community that wakes early to tend to the farm and cows before going to school, while another one is indoors always. The two different communities cannot use similar curriculum on the basis of economic and cultural differences, not to mention temporal.
Above many other things, Posner illustrates politics as the main hindrance or cause of different perspectives in regard to view and approach of a curriculum. This is politics perspectives on a curriculum are in regard to economic, political and physical considerations. In some the political voice dictates the different environment and resources available to accommodate or relay a curriculum. Cultural backdrop is also another major contributor of different perspective of curriculum role and expectations. Cultural perspective is based on different values and beliefs within a country, school or community. Different cultural practices can create a barrier in relation to adjusting to contemporary curriculum specification in order to help the consumers of a curriculum. Administrative factors, personal abilities, interests of each and every student, staff and parents opinions, federal mandates, time and scheduling for consuming curriculum can bring about all the different perspectives.
Curriculum Organization: Basic Concepts
Chapter 6 is discussed from the point view of curriculum organization in regard to various level of curriculum as suggested by Posner. These levels include, official, operational, hidden, null and extra curriculum. Each of these levels contributes largely in the organization of curriculum. This is because relevant and reliable curriculum must fit in the shoes of a well selected incorporation of current social life environment, students' experience, and available resources for learning and students needs. After such selection then a curriculum structure and type can be utilized.
The organization of curriculum is done in various steps and approaches aimed at defining and distinguishing various curriculums. For example, the official curriculum as portrayed by Posner provides a platform for accountability. On the other hand, the null curriculum consists of what is not taught, and therefore, does not offer accountability. Such issues arising from organization of curriculum must be, defined before settling on a particular curriculum. That is, one must consider the aims and outcomes of learning needs in order to choose which curriculum is organized in relation to those demands.
Posner suggest that the particular demands are made with or for the consideration of, first, educational aims to be achieved. Second, it is the formulation of the suggested educational goals and strategies. Third, it is the organization of the curriculum content, and strategizing on how to apply the contents.
The above considerations aids in the proper organization of curriculum in terms of utilizing content in the curriculum versus the available resources to broadcast and consume the curriculum. For example, the curriculum organization must be based on the issue of learner’s needs, major functions of community life, abilities, interests and normal activities of learners. This is because a curriculum cannot be organized for a certain community or learner needs and be expected to meet another community/environment or a different learner needs objectives. Therefore, curriculum organization as Posner suggests must be based on learner needs in accordance to the environment and resources available for learning.
Posner, G. J. (2003). Analyzing the curriculum. New York: McGraw-Hill.