A curriculum must be implemented if it is to make any desired
impact on students and to attain its goals. And unless it is implemented, it
cannot be evaluated for betterment. In spite of careful planning and design, it
is possible that a curriculum fails to meet the needs for which it is
developed. Neither at the stage of planning nor that of designing can we really
examine the efficacy, or otherwise, of the curriculum. In essence, the
curriculum has to be implemented in order that its relevance and relative
merits can be assessed. We should, therefore, categorically state here that
successful implementation of a curriculum, regardless of its design, rests upon
describing, at the outset, the developmental process and stages crucial for
implementation. Although many curricularists agree that implementation is an
essential aspect of curriculum
development, it is only in the last fifteen years that implementation has
become a major educational concern. Many assume that implementation is simply
another step in the curriculum planning process. They, therefore, expect to
proceed from the planning and design stages to the actual implementation stage
with relative ease.
term ‘implementation’ refers to the ‘actual use’ of a curriculum/syllabus, or
what it ‘consists of in practice’ (Fullan and Pomfret, 1977). It is a critical
phase in the cycle of planning and teaching a curriculum. Adoption of a curriculum
refers to somebody’s intentions to use it, be it a teacher or a head office
official, but it does not indicate whether the curriculum is implemented or
This emphasis on how to use a new effective curriculum is a major concern for teachers because as ‘craft
specialists’ they gain most of their intrinsic satisfaction from being successful in using a
particular approach and materials with their students.In these
circumstances, the dominant implementation questions for the teacher might be:
How do I do it?
Will I ever get it to work smoothly?
To whom can I turn to get assistance?
Am I doing what the practice requires?
What is the effect on the learner?
is also the matter of commitment to change (Cuban, 1992). Not all teachers will automatically accept
the notion that a newly proposed curriculum is what they should use, nor will
all want to use it with their students (Fullan and Hargreaves, 1991). The attitudes of individual teachers are extremely important in
subjects in schools are considered to be important core areas and are given detailed treatment in syllabus
documents. For these subjects, teachers may be expected to cover particular
content and to follow a certain instructional sequence. Alternatively, there may be other
subjects where teachers can exercise their creative flair and implement
very special, individual versions of a curriculum. This is then termed
‘adaptation’ or ‘process orientation’.
Fig. 1: A simplified overview of the change
process (Fullan and Stiegelbauer, 1991)
Thus, the term implementation in a broad sense conceptualizes the
process through which a proposed concept, model, topic, theory etc. is taken up
by some practice. The processes that eventually lead up to and end with the decision
to take up a specific innovation proposal have been called initiation phase (also
mobilization or adoption). In the implementation phase, participants
attempt to use the innovation proposal (or the curriculum in our case) in order
to change their practice. In the continuation
phase (also called institutionalization, incorporation, or routinization)
the innovation (or what has been made out of the innovation during
implementation) is built into the routine organization, and extra support (if
there had been any during the implementation phase) is withdrawn.
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