SECTION 1 - A FRAMEWORK FOR CURRICULUM AND MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT
An emergent curriculum is well suited to a problem-posing approach. As we have seen, at the heart of this process is the action and reflection cycle. This provides a process framework within which participants can engage in recurring kinds of activities.
In real life, any given curriculum is likely to fall somewhere along a continuum between prescribed and emergent:
Curriculum "A" is more tightly controlled and prescribed in advance. There is little flexibility to follow up on new directions and goals that emerge in the group and there is more pressure to "cover"the specified curriculum.
Curriculum "B"is mid-way between prescribed and emergent. While some materials and activities are specified in advance, there is also flexibility to build on the unplanned interests and goals that arise as participants engage with the program.
Curriculum "C" is much more loosely controlled. While there is some specification in advance, there is significantly more opportunity to build learning activities around what emerges from the group as the program unfolds. Since priority is given to what emerges, this is clearly an emergent curriculum.
Many trade union courses have curriculum manuals that are quite tightly controlled, yet problem-posing processes are built into the materials and activities provided. However, if the timeframe or course schedule is tight, then there is a limit on where the problem-posing process can lead.
Literacy development is most effective when there is a very close link between the development of knowledge, skills and critical awareness and their application beyond the classroom.
To maximize learning in a worker-centred union literacy program, curriculum must be sufficiently open and flexible so that the participant interests and goals that come to the fore in the process of problem posing can be integrated into the emerging curriculum. Literacy development is most effective when there is a very close link between the development of knowledge, skills and critical awareness and their application beyond the classroom.
It is important to note that for this kind of literacy program to be effective, a lot depends on the instructor. The instructor must know how to facilitate a complex process that weaves together two strands:
Each strand of this dual process typically involves recurring types of activities. On the one hand, problem posing and the action and reflection cycle involve the activities of describing, analyzing, strategizing and taking action. On the other hand, the instructional techniques for developing literacy skills involve activities that focus on various aspects of reading, writing, oral communication, and math. As well, to effectively implement these techniques, the instructor must be able to assess participants' literacy skills and provide activities at appropriate levels of challenge.