Philosophical Foundations of Curriculum:
Philosophy provides educators, teachers and curriculum makers with framework for planning, implementing and evaluating curriculum in school.I helps in answering what schools are for, what subjects are important, how students should learn and what materials and methods should be used. In decision-making, philosophy provides the starting point and will be used for the succeeding decision-making.
The following four educational philosophies relate to curriculum:
1. Perennialism. The focus in the curriculum is classical subjects, literary analysis and considers curriculum as constant.
2. Essentialism. The essential skills of the 3 R's and essential subjects of English, Science, History, Math and Foreign Language is the focus of the curriculum.
3. Progressivism. The curriculum is focused on students' interest, human problems and affairs. The subjects are interdisciplinary, integrative and interactive.
4. Reconstructionism. The focus of the curriculum is on present and future trends and issues of national and international interests.
Educational philosophy lays the strong foundation of any curriculum. A curriculum planner or specialist, implementer or the teacher, school heads, evaluator anchors his/her decision making process on a sound philosophy.
(Activity: Compare the four Philosophies of Education based on the aim of education, role of education and curriculum trends. How does a strong belief or philosophy influence curriculum?
Historical Foundations of Curriculum.
Curriculum is not an old field. Majority of scholars would place its beginning in 1918 with the publication of Franklin Bobbit's book."The Curriculum"
Philippine education came about from various foreign influences. This can be traced back to the glorious history. Of all foreign educational systems, the American educational system has the greatest influence on our educational system.
The following six curriculum theorists contributed their views on curriculum:
1. Franklin Bobbit (1876-1956)- presented curriculum as a science that emphasizes on students' need.
2. Werret Charters (1875-1952) - considered curriculum also as a science which is based on students' need, and the teachers plan the activities.
3. William Kilpatrick (1871-1965) - viewed curriculum as purposeful activities which are child-centered.
4. Harold Rugg (1886-1960) - emphasized social studies in the curriculum and the teacher plans the lesson in advance.
5. Hollis Caswell (1901-1989) - sees curriculum as organized around social functions of themes, organized knowledge and earner's interests.
6. Ralph Tyler (1902-1994) - believes that curriculum is a science and an extension of school's philosophy. based on students' need and interests.
The historical development shows the different changes in the purposes, principles and content of the curriculum.
(Question: What are the implications of ever-changing curriculum top teachers?)
Psychology provides basis for the teaching and learning process. It unifies elements of the learning process and some of the some of questions which can be addressed by psychological foundations.
The following are the three major groups f learning theories:
1. Behaviorists Psychology - consider that learning should be organized in order that students can experience success in the process of mastering the subject matter, and thus, method of teaching should be introduced in a step by step manner with proper sequencing of task.
(Activity: Discuss the contributions of Edward L. Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov and Robert Gagne to the present views on curriculum)
2. Cognitive Psychology - focus their attention on how individuals process information and how the monitor and manage thinking. For the cognitive theorists, learning constitutes a logical method for organizing and interpreting learning. Learning is rooted in the tradition of subject matter where teachers use a lot of problem and thinking skills in teaching learning. These are exemplified by practices like reflective thinking, creative thinking, intuitive thinking, discovery learning, etc.
(Activity: Discuss the contributions of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, Felder and Silverman and Daniel Goleman to curriculum development.
3. Humanistic Psychology - concerned with how learners can develop their human potential. Based on Gestalt psychology where learning can be explained in terms of the wholeness of the problem and where the environment is changing and the learner is continuously reorganizing his/her perceptions. Curriculum is concerned with the process not the products, personal needs not subject matter; psychological meaning and environmental situations.
(Activity: Give the contributions of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers to the present field of curriculum development.
4. Social Foundations of Education.
Schools exists within the social context.Societal culture affects and shapes schools and their curricula.
The relationship of curriculum and society is mutual and encompassing. Hence, to be relevant, the curricula should reflect and preserve the culture of society and its aspirations. At the same time, society should also imbibe the changes brought about by the formal institutions called schools.
(Question: A school has been using the same old curriculum it has had for the past ten years. Do you think this is a good practice? Why? Why not?)
Source: Curriculum Development by Purita Bilbao, et. al, Loremar Pub., 2008)