Keywords: role of stakeholders in curriculum development, stake holder involvement in curriculum
Curriculum development requires the input of different stakeholders such as teachers, school heads, parents, community members, students, district administrators and school boards. The role of the teachers involves defining different course components that are believed relevant, based on the latest technological development in the training sector. In addition to developing the curriculum, teachers help in executing the curriculum development findings. Teachers continuously contribute to the introduction of school curriculums by developing periodic course teaching plans and giving consideration to the special needs of the students (Dillon, 2009). Therefore, possessing a good curriculum without the input of teachers cannot help in achieving the learning objectives and goals. Although modern technology is quickly finding its root into the education system, teachers still remain at the guts of the student's learning progress. Quite simply technology must be built-into the curriculum but it cannot provide a perfect substitute for the roles played by teachers in curriculum development and the overall learning process.
The other important band of stakeholders is the institution administrators. Their role in curriculum implementation can't be underestimated since they are the people that monitor the implementation of the curriculum. In addition, they employ teachers (in the case of private schools). Furthermore, they are really accountable for purchasing learning materials which is an essential requirement in curriculum implementation. In other words, school administrators may influence the extent to which the school curriculum is implemented by regulating the discharge of the required learning resources. The school administrators gets information from teachers, students and even the city regarding the success of the curriculum implementation process. In addition, they can also employ the services of professional to judge the performance of the curriculum.
The parents on the other hand support and influence the implementation of the curriculum through money, that is, payment of school fees. In addition, the parents can help in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the curriculum by keeping a detailed check at the lessons learnt in school and monitoring the child's home assignments (homework). Moreover, the parent may stand in the gap between your child and school administration by giving the student with resources that may be required in the curriculum but are not available in school. Furthermore, the parents can help teachers to monitor the behavior and social development of the kid, especially for children with special education needs. The parents can get reliable information on curriculum development by enquiring off their children or by enquiring from the teachers or school administrators.
In addition, professionals such as psychologists and social employees may offer contribution on the various means of dealing with students with special needs. For example, professional counselors may provide various useful options of dealing with student of foreign origin or people that have disabilities. Community members can help the school administration in the implementation of the curriculum by co-operating and providing the required resources that may not be accessible in the school setting but are found within the community setting. In addition, the community members can also volunteer and act as school board members. Other stake holders in the curriculum development are the government and the professional regulation commission that provides license to graduates of different universites and colleges. Professionals and community members can source home elevators curriculum development and progress from government reports on the performance of schools or by enquiring from teachers, students and school administrators.
The parents are usually organized into parent association. All parents must register with the relevant parents' association where they are required to democratically elect their leaders. The parents, through this association, give their views regarding the curriculum development to the district curriculum development team. The relevant professional body including the district association of professional counselors and psychologists, through their advisory boards, also provides their advice and suggestions in the curriculum development process.
On the other hand, teachers have organized themselves into curriculum drafting and analysis teams. Such teams are usually charged with the responsibility of drafting, evaluating and amending the curriculum in line with the latest technological development in the training sector. In addition, the teachers' curriculum teams are also involved in the evaluation of the output of the curriculum.
The various groups work well because there is a systematic way of engaging every stake holder in the curriculum development process. First and fore most, the teachers and the curriculum development leaders provide guidance and opinions regarding what should form this content of the curriculum. Because students spend almost all of their learning hours with the teachers, the assumption is that teachers understand the unique academic and social needs of the students better. The teachers start by analyzing the current curriculum, that is, the strengths and weaknesses and possible areas that needs to be amended. Thereafter, opinions from the parents, community leaders and other stake holders are believed before a final draft of the curriculum is compiled.
The parents' curriculum development team involves all the members of the parents' association teams. However, such parents must register with the district curriculum development committee before their views could be looked at as valid. The members of the parents' team receive the mandate to choose their leadership. With the parents' leadership team, their opinions are sought and taken into account by the district curriculum development team.
Similarly, the professional counselors association is given the mandate to elect their leaders. However, the leadership of the professional bodies supporting the curriculum development process must be approved by the district curriculum development committee. It is because professional bodies' acts as advisory agents on major policy issues related to curriculum development in schools. Therefore, the district curriculum development team must be sure that such professional bodies are led by way of a credible team. In addition, such professional bodies work closely with the teachers and curriculum development leaders through the evaluation of the curriculum and academic performance. Other community members such as community administrators and religious leaders are also answerable to the district curriculum development team. Such community leaders must however be registered for their concerns to be given attention by the curriculum development team. Also, they are necessary to elect their leaders by which their contributions are channeled to the district curriculum development team.
In addition to the reports obtained from the various groups of stakeholders in the curriculum development process, the district curriculum development team organizes a curriculum development forum each year where all members of the general public are welcome to participate. Such a forum is targeted at collecting information and concerns that may well not have been handled by the prevailing and participating curriculum development stakeholders. In addition, the district curriculum development team has set up structures that ensure that information flows from the various stake holders to the district curriculum team in an orderly manner. Even though the development of the curriculum is the responsibility of all stake holder (the parents, teachers, community members, members of professional bodies and the school administration), the execution or implementation of the curriculum is often left to the district curriculum development team, headed by the district director of curriculum, in collaboration with teachers and school administration.
The designing of a thorough structure for stakeholder involvement in curriculum work entails a consideration of various factors that plays a part in effective learning process both inside and outside the classrooms. As the size of my district is considerably large with a student population of 13, 000, the curriculum development team must considerably be large in order to effectively represent the best student population. The leader of the district curriculum development team could be the district curriculum director who'll be charged with the responsibility of chairing all the curriculum development committees as well as providing general direction and leadership in the curriculum development process in the district.
In addition, there will be a curriculum director who shall deputize the district curriculum director and would help him/her in discharging his/her duties. The district curriculum development team would also comprise other curriculum development specialists in every subject area such as mathematics and science. Such curriculum specialists would help the district curriculum director to make important decisions through the curriculum development process. The district curriculum development team would seek information and fully engage professionals, parents, the city and other relevant stakeholders when designing the institution curriculum. The district curriculum development team would organize for a curriculum development research week every year when a continuous data collection and analysis of curriculum in schools would be evaluated.
The planned interview with the district curriculum director made your day unique. The interview, as scheduled, commenced at noon and took around three hours, ending at around three o'clock in the afternoon. The material day for the interview was 2nd January, 2013. As the principle academic researcher in the district, accountable for careers and student development in high schools, the info from the interviewee, the district curriculum director and the findings of the interview would be very important in helping me to understand the role of different stakeholders in the curriculum development process.
The first question of the interview was about the defining components of a good curriculum. I came across that putting concentrate on the academic development of the student was an integral element in developing an efficient student centered curriculum. The district curriculum director explained that all the stake holders including teachers, school heads and other professionals in the curriculum development process must position the student at the center of every step in curriculum development. Furthermore the curriculum director explained the importance of having set up a comprehensive curriculum leadership for an effective execution and implementation of the curriculum objectives. The director mentioned two main types of curriculum leadership, that is, static or managerial curriculum leadership and a dynamic kind of curriculum leadership. He went further to describe that static curriculum leaders make an effort to create a certain level of predictability and routine in the day to day procedures of the institution.
On the other hand, a dynamic kind of curriculum leadership entails a continuous procedure for integrating critical thinking and modern tools in the introduction of a visionary and goal oriented curriculum. However, the director was quick to emphasize on the necessity to continuously give attention to aligning the curriculum to suit the present day technologically advanced world, that is, employing the dynamic kind of curriculum leadership for the realization of the learner centered and progress oriented curriculum. He explained that although teachers and school heads enjoy independence in disseminating knowledge, they need to remain conscious to the dynamic work place environments and information communication technology so the learners may be effectively packaged to adapt to the technological dynamics of today's world.
The second question of the interview session was about which groups of men and women or stakeholders should be involved in the curriculum development process. The director mentioned a good school curriculum should cover all aspects of learning, including academic, social and physical aspects. Therefore, all relevant sets of professionals and stakeholders should be engaged in the development of a curriculum that meets the expectation of both students and the community.
He added that parents, teachers, school heads, social workers, psychologists and the city should all be involved in the curriculum development process. Furthermore, he pointed out the need to address the interest of students with special needs when developing the curriculum. For example, students of foreign origin or people that have disability must be accorded special consideration and care in their learning endeavor. However, the director noted that the curriculum development leader must be competent when coordinating and organizing various ideas into a thorough curriculum development policy statement.
The other question of the interview was about how exactly to measure the effectiveness of a good school curriculum, that is, how to evaluate whether the curriculum is devoted to the needs of the learner. Achieving a fruitful learning experience, he posed, should be the main objective of any curriculum developer or curriculum leader. In other words, the strength of a good curriculum development does not lie in the amount of policy statements it includes but it can lie in the best classroom experience gained by the learner. In response to the question that was seeking a clarification on the most practical method to activate the input of most teachers in the curriculum development process, the district curriculum director explained a new method of training some teachers to be curriculum development leaders is quickly gaining acceptance. Such an approach ensures that those teachers who've undergone such training shares the abilities using their colleagues hence effectively disseminating curriculum development skills to all teachers.
The findings of the interview were found to be in line with the class readings. For example, Wiles (2008), explains the value of curriculum development leadership in the introduction of a good curriculum. He further pointed out that static curriculum leadership entails the maintenance of all the programs that are already in place. In addition, he emphasized that curriculum leadership should target the impartation of specific, knowledge, attitude and behaviors for students and at the same time assist in engineering the institution programs to accomplish all important areas of the learning process. Wiles added that curriculum developers should embrace change as an essential variable in the curriculum development process. In other words, curriculum development should be the principle guide to all or any other activities completed in the school program.
As pointed out in the interview, a more advanced approach to curriculum development where some teachers pursue special training in curriculum development and thereafter work closely with colleagues is gaining momentum. This approach is more effective since the curriculum leader's work both as teachers and curriculum developers (Wiles, 2008). Furthermore, a good curriculum development team must include teachers, community leaders and parents as analyzed through the interview. Furthermore, for the curriculum to be managed effectively there must be an in depth plan showing the time periods within which various curriculum targets should be achieved and the roles of each participant in the curriculum development and management process. Tallerico (2012) emphasizes on the need of curriculum development leaders to provide direction. Furthermore, the curriculum leader must constantly monitor and review the outcome of the curriculum management and where possible draw up a control program.
In general, the interview findings informed me on the value of a highly effective curriculum in the execution of learning objectives. In addition, a dynamic approach to curriculum development is more well suited for a learner centered curriculum development because such an approach considers the modern technological advancement when developing the curriculum (Dillon, 2009). Furthermore, the interview informed me of the need to involve parents, teachers, school heads, the city and all the stakeholders in the curriculum development process. Furthermore, the interview findings further stressed on the need to have a continuing analysis framework that helps in analyzing the success of the developed school curriculum in satisfying the learners' needs.