At the end of the program, how many students become the fruit you (institutionally) had hoped for?  Furthermore, how do you describe what that outcome looks like and the process that the student undergoes to become that person.  The process broadly may be seen as the curriculum.  Of course, curricula are complex and there are many factors such as resources, sequencing, coursework, content, pedagogy, faculty, etc that go into developing and implementing a curriculum. The end goal/product should be considered in developing and improving curricula.  In reading Curriculum: from theory to practice by Wesley Null, I came across some interesting ways to describe curricular philosophies.  These concepts may serve as important steps in engaging curricular discussions.  Which best describes your curriculum?

Five Types of Curriculum:

1) Systematic

* education is a business approach

* high value on “objectivity”

* focus on instructional methods/techniques

* values assessment, accountability, efficiency

* standards based “what should students know and be able to do”

* science content valued more highly than humanities

* planning, highly structured

2) Existentialist

* the personal journey

* goal focus on uniqueness of a learner and the process of personal meaning making

* individual above community learning

* individuality and personal freedom above institutional responsibility

* more about surrounding learners with interesting possibilities than predetermining what the learner should be and learn.

3) Radical

* political perspective

* bias is embraced rather than navigated around

* knowledge that is aligned with political agenda is taught

* believes that curricular materials have inherent biases that should be countered, eg. suppression of content on ethnic disparities.

4) Pragmatic

* problem solving immediate social needs

5) Deliberative

* choice

* hearing multiple perspectives, choosing the best response, and acting on that response

* avoid extremes

Other key ideas:
goal of liberal arts: “transforms the inner constitution of a person’s character so that he or she can lead a life of reason, reflection, and deliberation.”

Key ideas:

* bridge tradition and foundation knowledge while preparing for a life of decisions that further these traditions.

* Breaking patterns of traditional thinking – “liberating”

* developed personal, defensible, perspectives

* curriculum making involves answering questions of practice, purpose, and integration


Null W. Curriculum: From theory to practice. (C) 2011. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.


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