Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed?
I think that curriculum is developed according to what children should learn, like fundamental things in terms of both academic and non-academic. Now, who gets to decide what is important and fundamental to learn? Several different viewpoints can be included here, but the majors would be higher government officials, such as the ministry of education, teachers who have in-depth experience in teaching, students and parents.
After doing the reading, reflect upon:
How are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?
As Levin (2007) explains, the process of curriculum development involves with a group of experts, including government officials, teachers, principals, senior administrators and elected local authorities. The group is organized by the ministry of education. The current curriculum is reviewed and suggestions are made and agreed upon in regards to what could be changed for the new curriculum. Then, a draft might be made first, and a final version of the curriculum is created by adapting few more suggestions and making changes. As this process is complexed and crucial to next generation and the society as a whole, it could take even several years to finalize.
I did not realize that post-secondary staff would have impact on the process of formalizing curriculum. I learned that as the University decides what the requirements are for the admission, high school gets influenced accordingly as they would have to assist the students to meet those requirements, hence the University can exercise influence on the curriculum. Also, in Korea, we have certain high schools that offer different courses to take as majored areas, based on the school’s values and etc. – for example, my city had certain schools specialized in fine arts, tourism, business, and so on – but I did not think about this as the school contributing to the curriculum. But now that I understand the relationships between the universities, high schools, and curriculum, it makes sense because not every university has same requirement, therefore not every school should offer the exact same courses. If it was, I think, it would have hindered the growth of students’ possibilities and limited them to certain career paths for their future and individual interests.
What surprised, concerned and frustrated me was how the student’s viewpoint is taken in a trivial part (or is there even a spot for student’s perspective in curriculum?) and deemed unimportantly, although they are the ones who get the hugest impact and have to deal with it anyway. At the same time, it was also disappointing to learn how much politics is involved in the curriculum. Levin (2008) argues that “elected government are subject to pressures and constraints based on voter preferences, election timing, and the view of key interest groups” (p. 9). The pressure of the public on government officials who make decisions on education policies could influence the curriculum in positive or negative ways. As such, after all, the government would do what makes them more popular and give them more power, because “for politicians, what people believe to be true is much more important than what may actually be true” (Levin, 2008, p. 13).
Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.