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A Teacher's Role In The Secondary School's Curriculum Development

Updated on May 7, 2014

According to John Kerr, an education philosopher, curriculum encompasses all the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individuals, inside or outside the school (Schwartz, 2008). In order to achieve varied expectations and also to deal with the multitude of inputs precision in curricular functioning there is need to come up with a plan. This is curriculum development. Although there are different definitions of curriculum development, some define it as the process of writing books for schools while others consider it as the general improvement of the entire instructional process (McKimm, 1998). Zais (1976) defines it as the process which determines how curriculum construction will proceed (Otunga & Nyandusi, N.D). There are different proposed approaches to curriculum development. The approaches are in model form. A model is a pattern serving as guidelines to action. When put into practice, a model becomes a process. Some of the most notable models of curriculum design include Wheeler’s, Tyler’s and Kerr’s model. Wheeler’s model is comprised of five phases; aims, goals and objectives, selection of learning, selection of content, organisation and integration, and finally evaluation. Tyler’s model on the other hand has four phases which include objectives, selection of learning experiences, organisation of learning experiences and evaluation. Kerr’s model is made up of four domains as well namely objectives, knowledge, evaluation and school and learning experiences. The domains in Kerr’s model appear to be similar with those of the other models. This paper discusses the role of a teacher in secondary school curriculum development process for each of the elements as highlighted in Kerr’s Model of the curriculum. Much as it is obvious that a teacher implements the curriculum that has been developed, he has some other responsibilities.

The first element of Kerr’s Model is the objectives phase. Objectives are derived from school learning experiences and knowledge (Chikumbu & Makamure, 2000). The teacher’s role at such a level is to make sure that the learning objectives from each session should fit together coherently (Prideaux, 2007). The teacher has to drive students to a behavioural change through learning, and has to make sure that the change has happened. The changes include perception, affection and skill, which are also referred to as cognitive, affective and psychomotor respectively. The cognitive domain has six levels which are on the Bloom’s taxonomy namely knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation and the levels are in a hierarchical order (McKimm, 2007). The teacher has to ensure that learners are exposed to the first level before they can reach the second and eventually move on to the last level. Similarly, elements in the affective domain also follow the order of simplicity to complexity with receiving, response, value, organization and characterisation. Psychomotor starts with simplest level of reflex movement and then proceeds to the other elements such as fundamental movement, perceptual abilities, physical abilities and finally skilled movements, with each level become more complex than the previous one.

The other element of the model in which a secondary school teacher goes through is the knowledge phase. The meaning of knowledge is to choose and organize curriculum content so as to achieve a school’s objective (Chen, et al: N.D). The teacher’s role at this phase is the organisation, integration, sequencing as well as re-enforcement of knowledge. According to Kerr, the establishment of curriculum knowledge depends on three elements namely unity, repetition and order. In this context, unity means the teacher has to establish a connection with the field of knowledge. Under repetition, the teacher has to repeat certain curriculum elements while order entails the establishment of every continuous experience based on prior experience (Chen, et al: N.D). The combination of these three elements comes up with the leading principle for organizing an effective curriculum.

The other role of a teacher in line with Kerr’s Model is the facilitation of relationship development between the student and the teacher himself as well as between the learner and the surrounding society. This is in line with the model’s third phase, learning experience, which means the interactive effect between the learners and various environmental elements (Chen, et al: N.D). It includes social opportunities from the school’s arrangement, the influence of the school community’s characters, and of course relationships between teachers and students. The teacher also has to take note of the individual differences among the learners and their maturity (Chikumbu & Makamure, 2000). He also has to be conscience of the teaching methods which are deployed.

Finally, the teacher has to make sure that objectives which were outlined at the beginning of learning have been achieved. This is in line with the last element in Kerr’s Model of curriculum development, evaluation. According to Kerr, evaluation represents making sure to what degree objectives have been achieved (Chen, et al: N.D). The standard of evaluation contains objective feasibility, content and method’s suitability, students’ needs and achievement, as well as the efficiency of teachers’ preparation (Chen, et al: N.D). In addition to examinations and paper commentary for evaluation, the teacher has to include attitudinal scale, interview, multiple evaluations, investigated skills and group observations as ways of measuring progress (Chen, et al: N.D). Therefore, evaluation in this model is considered as a collection of information for use in making decisions about the curriculum (Chikumbu & Makamure, 2000).

In conclusion, it should be noted that a teacher has several roles in the curriculum design process. The teacher plays a critical role in the fulfillment of several of the roles that accompany the different elements of the different curriculum development models. A teacher makes sure that there is coherence in the achievement of learning objectives in different class sessions. At certain levels, the teacher’s role lies in dealing with the dissemination of knowledge, facilitation of the relationship between learners and teachers as well as the environment and making sure objectives which were outlined at the beginning are achieved.


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