• Notes on curriculum



    Part 3
    THAT the term curriculum has various definitions was one feature of curriculum we shared earlier with readers. A common reference of these definitions on curriculum is its being a listing of subjects/courses to be taken up within a given period of study, whether this be a one-, two-, or x-years to qualify for a diploma or a certificate. How or to which curriculum is referred to, whether to an aggregate of courses/subjects or to a syllabus of a single course/subject in an academic program, the philosophy of education which curriculum decision-makers espouse along with a country’s past and culture will surely influence their selection of content, educational aims, goals or objectives and learning experiences. <https://hibahnaaz.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/definitions-of-curriculums>.
    Composition of a curriculum. A curriculum for an academic degree consists of several groups of courses/subjects. These are 1) foundational approaches, 2) major field, and 3)electives. Courses/subjects on foundational approaches are characterized as “key intellectual capabilities demanded in a variety of disciplines.”

    Curricula for degrees have foundation courses/subjects which are “integral to one another.” “An approach is learned by practice in relation to a field of knowledge.” To illustrate, a degree with a major in a foreign language has foundational courses/subjects in the “culture in which the language is rooted;” a major in art has foundational courses/subjects on “understanding a work of art” through “learning how to write about it—that is, by learning how to use words to describe, compare, question and argue about works of art and the contexts in which they were created and are appreciated.” The second group – subjects/courses in the major field focus on the major area which is a specific discipline or field of knowledge. An example is a bachelor of science, major in biology. The major subjects/courses are meant to provide students “an opportunity to know a segment of human knowledge deeply, with a sufficient grasp of its modes of thinking and analysis to make one’s own contribution.” In a descriptive curriculum, courses/subjects in the major consist of required and those from which students can choose from, more known as electives, usually cognates (electives that broaden perspectives of a major) and in some cases, one or two three-credit units of free elective courses/subjects.

    A country’s past and culture influence a curriculum. “Whatever definition is considered by curriculum decision-makers, the philosophy of education which they espouse (along with a country’s history and culture) will surely influence their selection of curriculum content, educational aims, goals, objectives and learning experiences” provided to students.” A dozen books could be written to describe the forces and determinants of a curriculum.

    Our readers may have noticed that Philippine history textbooks seem to dwell more on negative perspectives, highlighting incessant domination—during the three centuries under Spain, the less than half a century under the United States, the several years of Japanese occupation and to this date, the subservience to oligarchs, etc. In recent times, many quarters believe there is not enough taught about the nearly two decades of Martial Law of the 1970s and 1980s. And, too, Filipino ingenuity and its achievements, unfortunately, are seldom dwelt upon in history or in any other subject. Culture-wise, private and sectarian schools anchor their choice of content on the religion-related philosophy, mission, vision and core values of the school. They prescribe “the important subjects to be taught, the kind of learning students must have and how they can acquire them, the instructional materials, methods and strategies to be used, and how students will be evaluated,”<simplyeducate.me/…/09/4-major-foundations-of-curriculum-and-their…>. Their academic freedom depends on the degree of autonomy these HEIs have from the CHED. Culture also carries with it a philosophy in dealing with the natural, social, political and economic environment. Thus, with climate change, present-day curricula bear environmental-related subjects based on the philosophy of “man as the caretaker and consumer of nature.” Emphasis on resources conservation “through gardening and/or tree planting, waste materials recycling, water sanitation, etc.” that could help prevent various natural disasters such as fire, floods, landslides, etc. to inculcate in students “the idea that what we give to our environment will also be given unto us depending on the degree of our usage.”<https://alfredominozajr.wordnpress.com/>. On the socio-political and economic angle, a vigorous advocacy for STEM in the K-12is pursued such as through scholarships. Encouraging our young to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is believed to be our passport to a life that secures families from want and our nation, to raise its international prestige. Obviously, “there is a mutual and encompassing relationship of a country’s past and culture and curriculum.”

    Time does not stand still. Changes are here and there, not only in our midst, but across continents as well. These global movements bring about changes in many areas of life. Through the curriculum, we shape the minds of our students for them to meet squarely the future. We can foster “active communication: active listening, active dialogue—generating ideas and making collaborative decisions; provide collaborative inquiry experiences for students”—experiences which help “develop the collaboration skills and real-world habits of mind which our students need to live, learn, and work in a global community.”<https://plsclasses.com/wp-content/up loads/2013/01 /CIS_Syl_ April_131.pdf> All these considered, “…while schools are made to address and understand the changes in the world as well,” “it is also imperative that a country maintains a curriculum that reflects and preserves its culture and aspirations for national identity.”https://www.scribd.com/document/269107468/history-of-curriculum

    Email: ttumapon@liceo.edu.ph


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