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QUESTION 1

Scope refers to the boundaries or coverage of the curriculum in terms of


breadth and depth. It answers questions like: “What topics, themes, ideas, concepts,
principles, theories, and other forms of knowledge (subject matter) as well as skills,
competencies, and activities should be covered?” The basic issue in making
decisions about content is finding out which knowledge is most worthy of inclusion in
the curriculum, considering knowledge explosion. Opinions regarding this issue vary,
depending on the philosophical, sociological, psychological, and historical
orientations of the curriculum decision maker. However, with the advancement in
technology which allows for the easy storage, retrieval, and processing of
information, there is apparently less need for the teaching of facts and information
that was practiced many years ago. Emphasis should be focused on information
retrieval and processing skills, on learning how to learn, and on development
thinking and creative skills. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enhance the
learner’s self-concept and enable one to be a productive and responsible member of
the community (local, national, global) should also be part of curriculum content, An
equally important content, especially in the curriculum of religious based schools, are
spiritual, moral, and religious values and teachings.

Another problem that confronts curriculum developers with respect to content


is the choice between breadth without depth or depth without breadth. One solution
to this problem is to minimize the teaching of the knowledge domain (who, when,
what, where, how), in favor of the thinking processes (why). This will allow for both
breadth and depth in the curriculum.

Sequence refers to the vertical arrangement of the curriculum content


(including skills and processes) such that new learning is based on previous
learning. This consideration applies whether one is designing a lesson,
subject/course, discipline/field of study, or program. Proper sequencing of learning
experiences (e.g. learner’s interaction with content, or engagement in skill-building
activities) entails analysis of what contents, skills, or processes are prerequisite for
the next. A well-sequenced curriculum provides for cumulative and continuous
learning. Decisions concerning sequence in the curriculum are based on the
following considerations:
 logical structure of the course/field of study;
 chronological learning;
 psychological principles of learning;
 learner’s interests and needs; and,
 analysis of how people use knowledge in their work or social functions.

The sequence of content in mathematics, for instance, is based on the logical


structure of the discipline. Mathematics starts from the simplest concepts, principles,
and operations to the most complex. One cannot understand calculus if he has not
yet taken prerequisite courses like algebra, trigonometry, and analytic geometry.

Sequence based on chronological learning is best exemplified in courses like


history, political science, and world events which orders content “as it seems to, or
does, occur in the world”. Content, skills, and processes may also be sequenced on
the basis of the characteristics of learners at the different stages of their growth and
development to ensure that learning experiences are within their level of maturity
and capabilities. The developmental theories of Piaget, Kohlberg, and other scholars
provide useful information in this area.

Whole-to-part, concrete-to-abstract, simple-to-complex, and similar other


learning principles also guide the sequencing of the curriculum from the
psychological viewpoint. Learners’ interests and needs, another basis for sequencing
content, are actually anchored on the psychological growth stages of man. Young
children are interested in play activities, storytelling, dancing, singing; and their
needs (physiological, safety, and affiliation) are at the lowest hierarchy in Maslow’s
motivation theory. As they grow older, their needs progress to the higher levels of the
hierarchy (esteem, recognition, achievement, self-actualization). Their interests
likewise shift to those of adults (such as hobbies and recreation; love, sex, and
marriage; economic sufficiency). Information regarding these changes in the learners
as they go through the different stages of their development can serve as a basis in
making decisions concerning curriculum sequence. Lastly, sequence may be based
on an analysis of the activities an adult goes through to successfully execute a
performance or an activity (e.g., typing, dancing, accounting, playing musical
instruments). The hierarchical order at which the required knowledge and skills are
needed in the performance of such activities guides the sequencing of curriculum
content.

Decisions concerning curriculum sequence are guided by one or more of the


aforementioned bases. For example, while it is true that the content of history is
based on the chronological occurrence of events, the offering of World History is
usually preceded by Philippine History; and it is offered in high school or in college,
not in the elementary grades, in view of the needs and interests of the young
learners.

Continuity, on the other hand, refers to the repetition of related elements of


contents which do not directly follow one another (i.e., one element is temporarily
separated from the first by one or more unrelated elements), Continuity allows for the
recurrence of knowledge, skills, or processes, with increased depth, breadth, and
competence. An example of continuity in the curriculum is knowledge of concepts
and skills in manipulating numerical fractions in elementary mathematics and
algebraic fractions in high school. The two courses do not successively follow one
another, but the learning experiences in the latter are built on past experiences in the
former, although to a greater complexity and abstraction.

Integration refers to the arrangement of content based on the relatedness of


topics, themes, skills, or processes in two or more subjects/courses in the same
grade/year, semester, or trimester.

Integration is accomplished by integrating separate subjects that are related


(e.g., arithmetic, geometry, statistics, and algebra in Mathematics; and phonics,
reading, spelling writing, and literature in Communication Arts). Another approach is
the planning of a lesson or a mini course which integrates related concepts,
principles, or themes from two or more subjects. For example, Moral Education can
be a mini course that integrates lessons in science, mathematics, history and
government.
Articulation refers to the arrangement of the curriculum in such a way that
relationships among topics or courses in a given field of study across grade/year
levels are emphasized. lf articulation is present in the curriculum, unnecessary
repetition of content and gaps in knowledge can be avoided.

Articulation can be accomplished if teachers of different courses that belong


to the same field of study plan together to map out the scope and sequence of their
respective courses. For example, Level 1 English teachers can confer with English
teachers in the preparatory school and in Level 2 to find out where English I should
start and end. This activity will enable these three groups of teachers to know each
other’s expectations as to pre-entry and terminal knowledge and skills of pupils of
English on those educational levels. They will also know which content elements to
repeat, reinforce, or review. Articulation across programs (pre-elementary,
elementary, secondary, tertiary) is difficult, especially if a school offers only one of
those programs.

Balance is another important consideration in curriculum organization. It


refers to the appropriate emphasis placed on different aspects of content, learning
experiences, and intended outcomes of the curriculum. The curriculum is not
balanced if cognitive learning outcomes are given undue focus to the
impoverishment of affective and psychomotor outcomes, especially in the lower
grades. Balance is also absent if there is a lopsided emphasis on the development of
the mathematical-logical and linguistic intelligences of the learners which results in
the neglect of their other intelligences (musical, spatial, bodily- kinesthetic,
intrapersonal, and interpersonal). The curriculum may also be too knowledge-
oriented, too society-centered, or too learner-centered when in fact, it should
consider all these three bases of the curriculum. Such curriculum is lopsided and not
balanced. Balance is present if the curriculum makes provisions for the needs and
interests of the learners and their total development, and prepares them to be
responsible citizens and world managers who can envision and realize a preferred or
desired future for the present and future generations. In this light, answer should be
given to such questions as: “How much of curriculum content and learning
experiences must be devoted to social, economic, political, and other social
concerns and to the transmission of the cultural heritage of a country? How much will
be devoted to the accumulated body of knowledge in the different courses and fields
of study that comprise the curriculum? How much emphasis must be given to the
learners’ interests, needs, and demands? What should be the ratio of general
education courses to the major courses? The elective and the optional courses?
What should those courses be‘?”

Curriculum developers should make a list of all the courses that they offer per
program, together with the actual and desired time allotment (number of
units/hours/minutes) per course. The list will show the discrepancy between the
actual practice and what is desired, which can serve as a basis in designing for
balance. Decisions on the desired time allotment will reflect the emphasis placed on
the different courses. These decisions can be based on extant literature that reflects
the best thinking on the problem, the educational philosophy of the school, and the
curriculum orientation of the decision makers. It must be mentioned, however, that
balance does not mean equal emphasis, but rather, covering what is deemed
essential and important for the learners and for society. In the last analysis, balance
is relative, and it takes objectivity or freedom from biases and a broad perspective to
design a balanced curriculum.