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Curriculum development has been looked at in two ways. These are basically
‘process’ and ‘product’. As the terms imply ‘process’ is concerned with the methods
and means ‘how’ whereas the ‘product’ looks at the outcomes, the end product
‘what’. There are two approaches that have been developed: normative and

The first approaches are called normative – Objectives (Tyler 1949) and the rational
(Taba 1962 and Wheeler 1967) because they provide a sequence of steps. These
have technical interests of control. The procedural approach (Stenhouse 1975,
Walker 1972, Skilbeck 1976, Olivia 1976) which is discussed later in the lecture falls
into the second category of descriptive approaches because it an interactive model.

Differentiation between Process and Model:

Some synonyms include. Procedure, development, method, progression, practice,
course of action. A process is very simply the steps from the beginning of something
to its end. We have said that Curriculum Development is a process because it has a
beginning and it is continuously changing or being developed.

Some synonyms: representation or reproduction.
In education when we talk about models we are talking about a diagrammatic
representation of something. (See Figure 5.2 A simple Model of Curriculum
Development – course book).

In the curriculum development process, the term model is used to represent

• the different elements or stages and
• how they relate to one another.
Models are usually abstract pr conceptual. This means that they exist in people’s
minds. They are very useful in the task of theory building. (Sharma: 2003: 5.6)

A continuum of Curriculum Development Models:

Objectives/ Rational Models Cyclical/ Rational Models Dynamic/

Interaction Models

Tyler Wheeler Walker

Taba Nicholls Skilbeck
(Print: 1993, In Sharma: 2003: 5.8)

Can you distinguish between aims, goals and objectives? (Refer to pages 5.8 – 5.11
of course book)
TABLE 1 MODELS of Curriculum Development:
Go through READING 13, 14 & 15 to help you complete the table!

FEATURES Objectives/ Cyclical/ Rational Dynamic/

Rational Model Models Interaction
Theorists Tyler Wheeler Walker
associated with Taba Nicholls Skilbeck

Models of C. Dev
(Sketch models here
– from reading)

Strengths of
Weaknesses of

Stages in

Technical Approaches:

1) The Objectives Model approach.

The ‘Objectives approach’ is so named because the very first step in this approach is
the defining of objectives of the course/program/lesson. (Tyler 1949) In this approach
the school is viewed as a ‘factory’. Tyler states three important sources that must be
looked at in order to contextualise and make curriculum development more relevant.
These are:
1) The learners and their backgrounds
2) Present and future society, and
3) Knowledge of the major disciplines, especially Philosophy, Psychology and

He said that if these were considered that good citizens could be determined. The
more specific the specification of objectives, the easier it would be to determine the
sorts of activities that students could be engaged in. Tyler’s approach is seen as the
linear model as well as the ‘ends-means’ model.


Philosophy, Aims, Goals and Objectives Curriculum Content and


The Objectives Model:

Stating objectives

Selecting learning experiences

Organizing learning experiences


2) The Rational Model Approach

A second approach that is categorized as technical is the Rational Model. The two
theorists that we will discuss are Taba (1962) and Wheeler (1967). In this approach,
the process begins with the specification of objectives but a school is not seen as a
factory. Curriculum Development is instead seen as a rational and orderly process.
Here the learning experiences are separated from the content and evaluation.
Wheeler’s model, which is cyclic, does not transform it from being linear and
unidirectional. In this approach we are specifying aims and objectives, selecting
learning experiences, selecting content, organizing learning experiences and
evaluating leaning outcomes. (Wheeler 1967)

Taba’s Inverted Model – 8 steps:

1. Diagnosing needs
2. Formulating specific objectives: Concepts to be learnt
Attitudes to be learnt
Ways of thinking to be reinforced
Habits and skills to be mastered
3. Select content
What level can students of this age master?
What topics do they find stimulating?
What topics will contribute to the achievement of
the specific objectives selected?
4. Organizing content
5. & 6 Selecting and Organizing content
7. Evaluating
8. Checking for balance and sequence
The Rational Approach after Taba 1962 -
1. diagnosing leaner needs
2. Specifying objectives
3. Selecting content
4. Organizing content
5. Selecting learning experiences
6. Organizing experiences
7. Evaluating

Table 2 - Strengths and Weaknesses of the Objectives Model:

1 provides an easy to follow step- 1 sees curriculum development as a
by-step guide to curriculum fixed, linear process
planning and development 2 does specify where the objectives come
3 division of labor at the various
points/steps are fixed so curriculum
‘actors’ are unaware of what others do
4 cannot account for the many/complex
outcomes of learning
5 limits what students can learn
2 begins with a set of clear 6 treats ends and means separately
objectives that teachers must plan 7 doesn’t indicate who decides what is
tasks and work towards achieving ‘worthwhile’ learning
the specified outcomes 8 doesn’t consider that not all learning
outcomes can be measured
9 fails to consider the changing
10 fails to recognize that the future
cannot be predicted accurately with
(note: use this table as a guide to fill in the details in Table 1)

The Procedural Approach:

Interaction / Dynamic Models take into consideration the background and

experience of students & teachers. The curriculum elements are seen as flexible,
interactive and modifiable (In Sharma 2003:5.18). Advocated by Walker (1972),
Skilbeck 1976, Stenhouse 1975), it sees the process of curriculum development as
dynamic in nature. Changes can be initiated from any point in the process unlike the
objectives model where the beginning is always the setting of objectives.

Walker (1972) felt that the objectives or rational models were unsuccessful and devised a model,
which has three phases. These phases are
1. Platform – includes “…ideas, preferences, points of view, beliefs and values about the
curriculum” (Print: 1993:113).
2. Deliberations – here interaction between stakeholders begin and clarification of views
and ides in order to reach a consensus of a shared vision.
3. Design – here, curriculum developers actually make decisions, which are based on
deliberations (above). These decisions affect curriculum documents and materials

Skilbeck (1976) stated that:

A situational analysis of needs is vital for effective curriculum change.
He also said:
• Education should be a meaningful learning experience
• Teachers are very important
• Curriculum change can occur at any point in the process & can proceed in any direction
• The source of objectives should be clear to teachers and curriculum developers
(See Reading 13 for more details)

Stenhouse (1975) developed his model as a direct reaction to the limitations of the objectives
model. He focuses on teaching and learning & developing curriculum through practice rather
than policy change. This is also known as Action Research Approach.

This process model identifies the teacher as the person most qualified to make the change. It is
based on two core features – teacher research (also known as action research) and reflective
practice (the teacher reflects on his/ her practice and makes improvisations along the way).
(Reading 16 provides more details on this).

There is a general consensus that no one-curriculum development model is better than another
rather one model may better suit a specific situation. Vudiniabola (1999) indicates that it seems
that PIC’s are taking a flexible approach to curriculum development rather than sticking to one
curriculum development model only. This approach, it has been argued is a better suited to the PI

The flexible model simply refers to another approach that is derived from other curriculum
models. For example, teachers can modify the specified curriculum elements all the time as the
objectives are taken as a guideline. The same can be said for many texts such as Target or Link
(Language texts) which teachers select activities from rather than getting students to do all
exercises from the 1st to the last page. It is seen as a resource book instead with the teacher having
the discretion of how much or how little to use depending on the caliber of the class in question.

NOTE: you are expected to read through the unit thoroughly and complete the prescribed
readings. Understanding this unit is vital in understanding curriculum development.