Curriculum implementation is expected to occur between component 4 (educational plan) and component 5 (evaluation and revision) of Kellough and Kellough's curriculum development model.
Principals need to implement the curriculum with the help of teachers in an actual school setting and find out if the curriculum achieved its goal. Implementation refers to the actual use of the curriculum or syllabus or what it consists of in practice. Implementation is a critical phase in the cycles of planning and teaching a curriculum.
Implementing the curriculum does not focus on the actual use but also on the attitudes of those who implement it. These attitudinal dispositions are particularly important in educational systems where teachers and principals have the opportunity to choose among competing curriculum packages.
How should curriculum be implemented?
There are two extreme views about curriculum implementation:
a. laissez-faire approach or the "let-alone" approach. This gives teachers absolute power to determine what they see best to implement in the classroom. In effect, this allows teachers to teach lessons they believe are appropriate for their classes and in whatever way the want to teach such lessons. There is no firm of control or monitoring whatsoever.
b. authoritarian control. In this view, teachers are directed by authority figures through a memorandum, to follow a curriculum. Teachers have no control or leeway over the subjects the are teaching. The school head exercise absolute power in directing teachers to teach certain subjects in specified ways. In other words, this approach is dictatorial way of imposing curricular implementation in the classroom.
A realistic view o curriculum implementation should be between the two extremes. Teachers are expected to follow the prescribed syllabus exactly and make sure that they do not miss any topic/component. When teachers diligently follow a prescribed syllabus in teaching a lesson, then they are considered to have fidelity of use or fidelity of implementation.
To promote fidelity of use, one need to identify the topics or subjects that need more focus. These subjects are are those that are more technical or more difficult. A structured approach to implementation is then followed, one on which teachers are provided clear instructions early on.
On the other hand, some topics allow or encourage teachers to be creative ad unique in teaching these topics. Teachers implement personalized variations of the prescribed curriculum, but still be guided by it. This is referred to as adaptation to the curriculum or process orientation. process orientation came as a response to the need to acknowledge different organizational concepts and varying teachers' needs and abilities that would require on-site modification..
(Activity: If you are a teacher tasked by your school head to implement a new curriculum, what could be your questions on the new curriculum? What would be your concerns?)
Source: Module 2: Lead Curriculum Implementation and Enrichment. EXCELS Flexible Course, SEAMEO INNOTECH, c 2005.