Role of Teachers in Curriculum Development

Paper and laptop.


With practical examples from Tanzania educational experience, discuss the role teachers in curriculum development.
The term curriculum has been defined in many ways:
Albert Oliver (1977): curriculum is “the educational program of the school” and divided into four basic elements: 1) program of studies, 2) program of experiences, 3) program of service, 4) hidden curriculum.
B. Othanel Smith (1957):  A sequence of potential experiences is set up in the school for the purpose of disciplining children and youth in group ways of thinking and acting.  This set of experiences is referred to as the curriculum.
C. Bell (1971): the offering of socially valued knowledge, skills, and attitudes made available to students through a variety of arrangements during the time they are at school, college, or university.
Smith and Orlovsky (1978): the content pupils are expected to learn.
Shaver and Berlak (1968):  situations or activities arranged and brought into play by the teacher to effect student learning.
Robert Hutchins (1936):  The curriculum should consist of permanent studies-rules of grammar, reading, rhetoric and logic, and mathematics (for the elementary and secondary school), and the greatest books of the western world (beginning at the secondary level of schooling).
In general, curriculum is defined as the complete experience of the student while under the guidance and direction of the school. It include activities which are academic, non-academic vocational, emotional and recreational.
Curriculum development is defined as planned, a purposeful, progressive, and systematic process to create positive improvements in the educational system. Every time there are changes or developments happening around the world, the school curricula are affected. There is a need to update them to address the society’s needs.

The following are the advantages of curriculum:

A  curriculum  guides the  instructional lessons  that teachers  use. A  curriculum defines what the learner will learn and can possibly guide when the learner learns the information from the lesson.
A curriculum offers teachers the ideas and strategies for assessing student progress.  A student must meet certain academic requirements in order to go to the next level.  Without the guidance  of  a  curriculum,  teachers  cannot  be certain  that  they  have  supplied the  necessary knowledge  or  the opportunity  for  student  success  at  the  next  level,  whether that  the  levels involve a high school, college or career.  
Curriculum can help students to  achieve some personal control  over  their learning, to plan  their  semester,  and  to  manage  their  time  effectively,  and  describes  Active  Learning.   Students often conceive of learning as the acquisition of correct information, but they may not know what it means to take an active role in the process, beyond rote memorization and recall,   students should be given some idea about what they should already know and what skills they should already have before taking course so they can realistically asses their readiness, sets the course in a Broader Context for Learning, describes Available Learning Resources.

The following are the challenges in curriculum development:

There are varieties of challenges facing curriculum development, but in general they are classified  into  three types,  global  challenges  (external), internal  challenges  of  the education systems, and challenges specific to Region.            With  regard  to  the  external  challenges,  curriculum  planners should  response  to  eight critical processes: the process of globalization, accelerated pace of scientific and technological progress,  radical transformation  in  the  work  field, increasing  social  inequalities,  progress  of democracy and human rights, multi-culturalism, the feeling of insecurity, and moral decline.
In  addition,  the  third  type  of  challenges  may  be  summarized  as:  universal  literacy, shortage of highly skilled human resources, reconciling traditional orientation of education with the aspiration for modernity, privatization of schools, diversification of the economy, the need to invest more in education research.

Teachers have the following role in curriculum development:

The first role of teacher in curriculum development is planning. Teacher know their students needs better than others involved in the curriculum process. While state or federal standards often dictate the skills covered by the curriculum, a teacher can provide insight into the types of materials, activities and specific skills that needed to be included. Teachers from multiple grade levels may collaborate to identify skills students need at each level and ensure that the curriculum adequately prepares students to advance to the next grade level and to meet the standards.
The second role of teacher in curriculum development is creation. Because teachers must use the curriculum, they should have input in its creation. A teacher can gauge whether an activity will fit into a specified time frame and whether it will engage students. If multiple teachers will use the curriculum, allow as many of them as possible to provide input during the creation stage. As teachers provide input, they will gain ownership in the final product and feel more confident that the curriculum was created with their concerns and the needs of their particular students in mind.
The third role of teacher in curriculum development is implementation. Teachers must implement the curriculum in their own classrooms. Sticking to plan that has taken so much time, careful planning and effort to create. When a teacher fails to properly implement a strong curriculum, she risks not covering standards or failing to implement effective practice in the classroom. That does not mean a teacher cannot make minor changes. In fact, a strong curriculum is designed to allow a teacher to be flexible and to insert a few personalized components or choose from among selection of activities.
The fourth role of teacher in curriculum development is reflection. Reflecting on curriculum allows teachers and others involved in the process to find any weakness in the curriculum and attempt to make it better.
Teachers  know  the  needs  of  all  stakeholders  of  teacher  education.    Teachers  can understand the psychology of the learner.  Teachers are aware about the teaching methods and teaching  strategies.   Teachers also  play the  role  as  evaluator for  the assessment  of  learning outcomes.    So  teachers  must  possess  some  qualities  such  as  planner,  designer,  manager, evaluator, researcher, decision maker and administrator.  Teachers play the respective role for the each step of curriculum development process. urriculum  planning involves  analysis  of philosophy,  social  forces, needs,  goals  and Objectives, treatment of knowledge, human development, learning process  & instruction, and decision. Curriculum  preparation  involves  systematic  data,  content,  selection,  collection, assessment, organization. Design  factors  includes  school  (levels,  types,  Structures),  educational  technology, systemic  vocational,  social  reconstruction,  Curriculum  design,  analysis  of  social  needs, translating  the needs  into Course/general/learning/terminal  objectives, splitting  the  objectives into specific objectives, grouping the specific objectives into subjects, deriving the subjects from the  above  classification,    specifying  enabling  objectives,  unitizing  each  subject  matter, specification of required time, and syllabus formulation. Curriculum development phases consist of Instructional development, Materials & media development, Methods of teaching & testing Implementation of the Curriculum involves Instructional scheme of each subject to be completed in the  semester, Planning  the lessons  as per  the  timetable, Using  the transactional strategies, Using the appropriate media, Providing the learning resources, Promoting classroom learning experiences, Progressive testing Curriculum  evaluation  involves,  Intra-curricular  evaluation,  Teacher  evaluation  of students,  Student  evaluation  of  teachers,  Materials  evaluation,  Verification  of  methods, Evaluation  of  tests  and  examinations,  Checking  the  learning  outcomes  while  on  the  field, Curriculum review/ improvement/ change/ modification, System revision. After  evaluating  the  prepared  curriculum  it  is  observed  that  the  curriculum  is  not satisfactory then developer turns for revising and improving phase.
Another role of teachers in the curriculum development is to help students develop an engaged relationship with the content. Active learning will increase the focus and retention of the curriculum, resulting in an exciting learning environment. Teachers build lessons that include simulations, experiments, case studies and activities to deliver curriculum. This interactive approach intertwines curriculum and practical experiences that immerse students in learning. The curriculum process provides opportunity for teachers to be creative and put their unique stamp on the classroom experience.
Also, teachers have multiculturalism role during curriculum development, teachers use a prescribed curriculum to build lessons that have global impact. For example, teachers integrate examples of diverse people who have made significant contributions in the content area. The intentionality of building inclusion helps dispel stereotypes and to encourage students to look favorably upon diverse groups. If district-issued books or materials do not highlight historically underrepresented groups, teachers can provide supplemental materials during the curriculum process. Finally, the curriculum process enables teachers to consider how they can best deliver lessons that will reach English Language Learners, or other diverse populations.
Furthermore, teachers role in curriculum development is equity minded instruction. Well-intended curriculum cannot always meet the needs of all learners in the classroom. Teachers are the experts, when it comes to understanding the individualized needs of each student. Differentiated or Adaptive instruction is critical so that it ensures that each student will maximize their potential. Teachers may group students by interest to encourage collaborative learning or to assess student progress so that the teacher can determine the pace of curriculum delivery. Teachers may also create groups with varied levels of student achievement to encourage collaborative learning and success. The curriculum process relies on teachers to modify content delivery, as needed.
Moreover, role of teachers in curriculum development is incorporating student choice. During the curriculum process, teachers consider how they can incorporate student choice into classroom learning. Teachers can help students connect content to an individualized plan that reflects a career interest. Project-based learning is a dynamic option that teachers must plan in advance, during the curriculum process. This hands-on technique immerses students in a practical project that brings alive the classroom curriculum. Providing a wide variety of learning options speaks to the needs of all students and optimizes learning potential. Teachers use the curriculum process to plan and coordinate student choice options.
Finally curriculum  development  is  intellectual  and  research  activity.  It  needs  the  skillful programmers  for  planning,  developing,  designing,  implementing,  evaluation  and  improving phase.  Teachers  know  the  needs  of  all  stakeholders  of  teacher  education.    Teachers  can understand the psychology of the learner.  Teachers are aware about the teaching methods and teaching  strategies.   Teachers also  play the  role as  evaluator  for  the  assessment of  learning outcomes.  Teacher can be worked as planner, designer, manager,  programmer, implementer, coordinator, decision maker, evaluator, researcher etc. so teachers can play important role in the process of curriculum development for teacher education. In order to improve curriculum development, the following has to be done:
Need based analysis of curriculum, what is the requirement of institutions? Which types of skills are incorporated in the student? How can be bridge the gaps between the theory and real life situation? ·
Taking feedback of stakeholders is one of curriculum development strategy, Use of technology for fulfillment of demands of stakeholders, · Revision of curriculum is done for each five years.  
The seminars, panel discussions, orientation programmes and workshops must be arranged for involvement of teacher as curriculum developer Curriculum developers  must  follow  some  of  the  principles  of  curriculum development such as conservative principle, forward looking principle, creation principle, activity principle, child centered principle, flexibility principle, leisure principle, character building principle, and dignity of labour principle.   
Also the principles  of  maturity,  preparation  for  real  life,  linking  with  life,  individual difference, loyalties, core or common subjects, all round development of body, mind and spirit, democracy, secularism, socialism.
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Posner, G (2004). Analyzing the Curriculum. New York. Mc Grow Hill Publishers.
William E. Dull Jr (1993), New York; Post Modern Perspective on Curriculum.
Njabili A.F (1999); Public Examinations; A tool for Curriculum Evaluation. Mture Educational Publishers.
Ralph W. Tyler; Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instructions.