Reconceptualizing the Curriculum Development Process Through In-Service Education
AbstractRecent studies published by the National Science Foundation and the Rand Corporation have indicated the immense difficulties that confront anyone seeking to bring about change in education (Helgeson, Blosser and Howe, 1977; Suydam and Osborne, 1977; Wiley, 1977; Berman and McLaughlin, 1978). In particular, these studies indicate the special problems posed by attempts to implement curriculum change. On the one hand, there has been strong teacher resistance to externally designed products. Perhaps the most startling result of the NSF studies was the reported lack of use of the major curriculum projects of the 1960s and 1970s. On the other hand, curriculum designers seem to have placed too much emphasis on ensuring a quality product (often using high levels of technology). They have often failed to consider the problems that may arise when the product is in the hands of an untrained user who does not share the designer's commitment and who has not been involved in the product's design. Even when they have, as in the case of Man: A Course of Study, social and political constraints militated against the innovation's use. Assisting teachers to overcome problems related to new curricula is therefore an important task in both the pre-service and in-service education of teachers. The purpose of this paper is to describe one strategy that has been used to try and overcome the problems that have been associated with attempts to change the curriculum. That strategy involved the use of in-service education courses for teachers as curriculum development workshops. The workshops were supported by a number of school-based activities so that both design and implementation could be highlighted as important aspects of the curriculum development process.