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Approaches to Curriculum Design

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Approaches to Curriculum Design

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  • August 2009
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The common approaches to curriculum design include child or learner-centered, subject-centered and problem-centered approaches.
Child or Learner-Centered Approach

Child or Learner-centered approach places the child at the center of education. It begins with understanding the educational contexts from which a child comes. It continues with the teacher evaluating the child's progress towards learning objectives. The curriculum is constructed based on the needs, interest, purposes and abilities of the learners. Teachers attempt to maximize student productivity, knowledge acquisition, skills augmentation and development of personal and professional abilities. Teachers may use a variety of instructional tools and methods, as well as flexible arrangements of time and place. This design considers the following:

1. A new respect for the child is fundamental.
2. A new freedom of action is provided.
3. The whole activity is divided into units of work.
4. The recognition of the need for using and exploring many media for self-discovery and self-direction is embraced.

Subject-centered Approach
This approach prescribes different and separate subjects into one broad field. The characteristics of the subject-matter, and the procedures, conceptual structures or relationships which are found within or among the subject-matter, dictate the kinds of activities that will be selected. Curriculum makers who are developing a curriculum organized around a given subject-area; will look at the facts, concepts, and skills related to, or encompassed by, that subject area, and plan activities that will lead learners from their prior experiences into mastery of the elements of the subject area. This approach considers the following:

The primary focus is the subject matter.
The emphasis is on bits and pieces of information which are detached from life. The continuing pursuit of learning outside the school is not emphasized. Learning should only take place inside...

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