SECTION 1 - A FRAMEWORK FOR CURRICULUM AND MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT
Now we turn to the question of how to develop curriculum based on a problem-posing approach. To answer this question, we first need to distinguish between two different types of curriculum development- prescribed and emergent.
This type of curriculum is tightly controlled - almost everything is prescribed beforehand and there are very few choices left to the instructor and participants. The development of a prescribed curriculum may be based on findings from initial needs assessments - whether of the whole organization or of individual participants. But these assessments are carried out prior to curriculum development and the resulting curriculum is a prescription that is based on an initial diagnosis of need in a manner reminiscent of the medical model of health care.
In developing a prescribed curriculum, all major decisions are made up front - goals are defined, content and skills are selected, learning objectives or outcomes are articulated, materials and learning activities are created, evaluation procedures are specified. The instructor is provided with directions for guiding the learners through the prescribed content and activities. At the end, learning is evaluated to see to what extent learners acquired the prescribed objectives in terms of knowledge and skills.
...an emergent curriculum does not mean an absence of structure. Rather, it means that structure is achieved through predictable processes rather than predetermined content.
At the other end of the spectrum is an emergent curriculum. It is much more flexibly defined and less is prescribed beforehand. What is specified in advance is the who, when, and where of the learning program. The what, or content, is allowed to emerge from the participants as they engage in the program and for that reason this is called an emergent curriculum. Yetan emergent curriculum does not mean an absence of structure. Rather, it means that structure is achieved through predictable processes rather than predetermined content. Indeed, an emphasis on process is at the core of the emergent curriculum. The how of learning is specified through process guidelines that lead to recurring types of activities and it is these that provide a sense of order in a relatively open-ended learning program.