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Shvoong Home>Social Sciences>Education>Curriculum Implementation, the Role of Teacher Summary

Curriculum Implementation, the Role of Teacher

Academic Paper Summary   by:Latief_mz    
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I. Introduction

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.

II. Discussion

The 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 not.

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?

There 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 implementation.

Some 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)

Initiation Implementation Continuation Outcome

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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Published: December 14, 2012   
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