Challenge questions on reinventing Quality in Curriculum Development
Reducing the homework overload was a nationwide issue last week, announced by the Ministry of Education. Yet, none mentioned about the alignment between learning inside and outside school.What are the factors and objectives of doing homework? Actually, the schools, teachers and pupils need to rearrange and balance their courses and plans for learning in order to achieve the context of education.
Indeed, it is curricular concern!
The basic concepts in curriculum development should be defined and framed clearly before we announced such change to public. Hence, the government policy should specify a strategic plan of curriculum improvement in order to ensure the quality of curricular products.
Despite the fact that the ministry of education has planed to improve a current curriculum, I have not seen any linkage between policy and evidence-based research that will form a national policy and classroom practices.
Generally, the curriculum means a course for learning or a plan for learning. What kind of knowledge should be integrated at the core of national curriculum?
The question 'What are we going to learn?' is a core question in curriculum development, but not limit to the following questions: who defines the content of the curriculum and what are desirable aims and
content to equip pupils for their role in tomorrow's society?
Also, the products of curriculum may classify in various segments, for example, common framework of curriculum, examination program, school program, educational program, teaching plan, instructional materials, module, course, textbooks, personal plan for learning and individual course of learning, according to van den Akker in Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development Report.
To answer above questions, van den Akker suggested questioning the aspect of learning and the curriculum components as follows:
- Rationale - Why are they learning?
- Aims and objectives - Towards which goals are they learning?
- Content - What are they learning?
- Learning activities - How are they learning?
- Teacher role - How is the teacher facilitating their learning?
- Materials and resources - With what are they learning?
- Grouping - With whom are they learning?
- Location - Where are they learning?
- Time - When are they learning?
- Assessment - How is their learning assessed?
In Thailand, who are the knowledge experts who can answer above questions?
Needless to say about the evaluation of old curriculum, have we ever validated and researched the lesson learned from any relevant curriculum frameworks worldwide?
Do we have a report about the evolution of Thai curriculum?
Before we plan to improve the curriculum, apart from teachers and parents, have we ever analyzed that contexts and contents that students need to learn?
What is the validation of national curriculum improvement? What are the core objectives and specifications of curriculum at school and classroom level?
Who should answer above questions? Who is the professional expertise in the field curriculum development in Thailand?
Practically, the national curriculum should enable schools to meet the diversity in pupil population within the common curricular frames.
As the government is responsible for the quality of education, a major challenge is to deal with the different expectations stakeholders such as parents, pupils, teachers, industry, politicians to elaborate these in well-balanced curricular frameworks and to monitor and stimulate the quality of educational output based on these frameworks.
At national level, it is a must to define the strengthening and spectrum of educational content for all school types and subject domains. Also, the curriculum designer must clearly see the elements, coherence, and diversity across the nationwide curriculum as well as all the educational materials.
In order to frame a new curriculum design process, the Ministry of Education must identify empirical evidence that results from previous evaluation studies.
So, first and foremost, the evidence-based approach to educational development is needed to gather and prove that a curricular improvement is effective and essential.