Curriculum Theory and Practice- Reading Response (September 16, 2019)

What are the four models of curriculum described in the article, and what are the main benefits and/or drawbacks of each? What model(s) of curriculum were prominent in your own schooling experience? What did these models make possible/impossible in the classroom? 

This article by Smith clearly states four models of curriculum: curriculum as transmitted, process, product and praxis. Beginning with transmission, Smith connects this model of curriculum to syllabus which lays out information to be studied. While I see this model having many drawbacks, such as giving little instruction on how the material should be approached, Smith cites that this model beneficial in it’s aim to deliver information as efficiently as possible. Next the author speaks on curriculum as product, which involves plan, application and measured outcomes. Most importantly this model relies heavily on organization and has clear measures of “success” however, the product based model gives little license to learners, often results in trivial tasks and does not take into account the learning of informal education or the practices of classroom teachers. Curriculum as process depends on the “interaction of teachers, students and knowledge” according to Smith and focuses on learning rather than teaching with students as active participants. This model is easily criticized by public perception as it is difficult to see process when learning is not based on outcomes. Lastly Smith discusses curriculum as praxis which intertwines “planning, acting and reflecting,” with drawbacks of this model including little attention paid to the context of learning.

Within my own schooling experience the product model was most heavily emphasized, especially as I climbed through schooling into the high school level. I remember quite clearly the introduction of the “Math Makes Sense” system during my Grade 3 year, which reflecting on it now was a process emphasized model for learning. This experience is significant to me as the shift from product to process enraged many students and parents who saw little value in understanding the workings of mathematics, as long as the outcome of the “right answer” was met. In high school a product model of education, specifically in my distance education courses, made deeper learning and exploring of topics that peaked my interest impossible as deadlines and outcomes had to be met in a timely manner. Despite this, the product model allowed for the outcomes of my learning to be measured and evaluated in order to be “on track” with my same age peers once I entered into university.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent article, I agree with your points on the product model especially. I fear that some education classes seem to forget the importance of this model, and place too much emphasis on the praxis model, which ultimately leads to us being taught less concrete content.

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