SECTION 1 - A FRAMEWORK FOR CURRICULUM AND MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT
The direction, the forward momentum in the curriculum, comes from the problem-posing process.
A curriculum for worker-centred union literacy must provide for the weaving together of these two essential strands. While both strands are essential, it is the problem-posing process that provides the central thread, and the literacy activities must be woven in and out. The direction, the forward momentum in the curriculum, comes from the problem-posing process.
An emergent curriculum requires a dynamic process of ongoing development. It is a generative and participatory process in which the participants and the instructor engage together. Each group process is unique, so it is necessary to document it as it goes along. Indeed, the entire curriculum for a particular group of learners cannot be known in advance. It can be known only at the end of the program - retroactively - as an account of what actually happened over time.
Although the entire curriculum cannot be prescribed at the beginning, this does not mean that an instructor cannot layout abroad overall plan of action for a course. A flexible curriculum outline would be developed on the basis of background knowledge of the context and participant needs assessments. It would include program goals, timelines, participant goals, potential problem-posing themes and issues, and key literacy tasks and skills to be developed. The outline would block out routines - daily, weekly, monthly, beginning and end of term, and beginning and end of program. These predictable routines would provide shape to the overall program. Examples of daily routines include opening check-in, journal writing, a break, news, evaluation of the session, and so on according to the needs and interests of the group. Assessing progress and goal setting are routines that might be carried out on a monthly, and term basis. The curriculum outline would also list materials and activities to be used - both prescribed and optional. A flexible curriculum outline of this sort would allow an instructor to:
Documentation is an essential element of an emergent curriculum. At regular intervals during the program, through what is called a portfolio process, participants and instructor look back and document the topics dealt with, the materials used, the activities carried out. They identify, describe and provide evidence of the specific knowledge and skills developed and demonstrated by participants - both in and out of the classroom. Evaluation comes from reflection on this documentation, and on the basis of this evaluation, new goals are generated.
Clearly, instructors need adequate and effective training for implementing this approach to worker-centred union literacy. Since it is impossible to create an "instructor-proof" manual for this approach, it is necessary to develop appropriate knowledge, skill and awareness in the instructors. At the same time, instructors cannot be expected to create everything from scratch. They require relevant and appropriate materials for use in facilitating a worker-centred program.