Curriculum is always my favourite words. The word, curriculum by itself sounds so familiar and easy, and yet, if you get a closer look, it is actually as complicated as operating a machine.
Here, I am interested in Blachford’s (1986) categories of curriculum orientations, they are:
1. Curriculum as technology
Curriculum is defined as, often consisted of clear and definite procedural steps. The context is evaluated as ‘objective’, and needs assessment and job analysis, subjects are exposed to powerful external interests. There is a good example such as teaching how to operate a machine. The instructor needs to be in control, teaching small steps at a time and need to give the students immediate feedback. As according to Blachford, this sort of curriculum is the focus on objectives of others, and goals is defined as behavioural objectives.
Curriculum can apply to any course that you want to teach. This also includes teaching a child how to write during his or her early age. Taking the steps:
*Recognition of the numbers and alphabets
*Writing numbers and alphabets independently
2. Curriculum as the cognitive process
It applies to the nature of current knowledge. Blachford defined the curriculum as a focus on developing students’ cognitive skills, the ability to learn, problem-solve and transfer knowledge. The ability to solve problems, applies to external needs and interests and may develop into further cognitive skills, concepts and principles. Instructor may give advice of problem-centred variety of information; modes of presenting the information, the rest of the skills are led to the students, which they may develop into their own ability and ways of problem-solving. In the case of early childhood education, the teacher may suggest the children to share the toys, and giving them the concept of sharing. The rest of the sharing skill is leaving to the children, how they interpret the word ‘share’ during their interaction with each other.
3. Curriculum as humanism
The curriculum is the focus on human interaction. To develop into the whole person, we need interaction with other human beings; learning from each other, explore our own personal needs and the needs of the other person or the needs of the whole group or community. Blachford suggested, it is a good opportunity to adopt the joint teacher student participation, negotiation, and responsible to each other’s needs, these are the pedagogic concerns. “Non- authoritarian stances are to be adopted. Integration thinking feeling and action encouraged. Personal liberation is the goal.” Blachford (1986). During instruction, children learn and making questions, teacher’s reassurance; are all part of the interaction. In the process of interaction, needs are concerned, and students go through self-actualisation and goals are achieved. What are the goals? They are personal growth, cognitive and self-actualisation goals. The teaching methods are using interactive groups and individual reflection. Assessments are using personal meaning of studies for students and extended profiles (Blachford, 1986).
4. Curriculum as social-relevance or reconstruction
This is concerned about student-community interactions. The elements include social analysis, justice and equity. The curriculum focuses on minorities, disadvantaged, powerless and nature of participatory democracy. These are the elements that remind me of the early childhood education, where boys and girls are the concerned in the setting. How are boys and girls viewed in the social setting?
Using co-operative group work as teaching methods towards the goals of the curriculum that focus on the social processes especially social participation; value pluralism and rational debate. Making used of the variety of ‘real’ materials, direct involvement with the outside world situations. Using group-teaching, negotiation, teaching equity between boys and girls and social issues. Assessments using competence test; ‘who is the best in writing the alphabets?’
For this curriculum, Blachford (1986) suggested using civic competence, competence in various real situations especially political as assessment.
This is just part of the definitions on the word ‘curriculum’. You may develop or interpret in your own way within the scope of curriculum, you would be surprised by the huge dimension it covers.