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Curriculum designs can be grouped into the
following 3 basic designs :
• subject-centred designs
– academic subject designs
– discipline designs
– broad field designs
– correlation designs
– process designs.
• learner-centred designs
– romantic/radical designs
– humanistic designs.
• problem-centred designs.
– life-situations design
– core design
• The most popular and widely used curriculum
• Knowledge and content are well accepted.
• It focuses on how best to present the
knowledge, skills and values of the subjects to
1. Academic Subject Design
• The oldest and best known design to most
• Based on the belief that humans are unique
because of their intellect and the quest for
and acquisition of knowledge is to feed this
• critics argue that this design deemphasises
the learner by taking away their rights to
choose the content that is most meaningful to
• The focus on the subject matter fails to foster
social, psychological and physical
development… (Ornstein & Hunkins, 1998).
2. Discipline Design
• Discipline refers to specific knowledge and through a
method which the scholars use to study a specific
content of their fields.
• Persons involved in the field are theoreticians and
• It engages the students so they can analyze the
curriculum and draw conclusions.
• It helps students to master the content area and in turn
increase independent learning.
3. Broad Fields Design
• Known as the interdisciplinary design.
• Made to prevent compartmentalization of
subjects and integrate the contents that are
related to each other
– Social Studies (Economics, Sociology, Political Science,
Geography and History)
– Language Arts (literature, grammar, linguistics and
– General Science?
• Breadth versus depth
– Eg : Social studies vs economics
4. Correlation Design
• Lies in between the academic design model and
the broad fields design.
• Subjects are related to one another but each
subject a maintains its identify.
– Eg :Correlate history with literature at the secondary
– In a history lesson the class learns about the Japanese
occupation of Malaysia. During the literature class,
students read novels about life during that time
period. However, each subject retains its own distinct
5. Process Design
• The most popular example of the process design model
is the teaching of thinking skills.
• Curriculum has focused on the teaching of decision
making, problem solving, critical thinking and creative
• In the process design curriculum students are also
taught to be aware of their thinking and to take action
• The aim of the curriculum is to enhance these process
skills applicable to all disciplines. Thinking critically is
not unique to geography or physics. Neither is thinking
creatively the sole domain of art or literature.
• Emphasis was on the development of the
whole child and this was most evident in
1. Child-Centred Design
• Learners should actively participate in the
• Learners interact with the teachers and the
• In the child-centred design, focus is on the
needs and interests of the learners.
• Children are given the freedom to discover
and do things for themselves rather than told
how to do something.
• The most well-known advocate of the child-centred
design is John Dewey.
– He argued that children are not blank slates and they
bring with them four basic impulses – the impulse to
communicate, to compare and contrast, to inquire and
to express themselves through language.
• Teachers and students negotiate what is of interest
to learners and what content is to be included in
– Eg :Teachers and students participate in planning lesson
units, its purposes, the focus of the content and the
learning activities to be introduced in the teaching and
• The “project method”
– a popular pedagogical strategy in the child-
centred design in which children solved
problematic situations calling on their knowledge
and skills of science, history, art and so forth.
2. Radical Design
• Greater emphasis is placed on the need for the
curriculum to reform society.
• A well-known proponent of the radical design
was Paulo Freire who opposed treating students
as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge by
• “the teacher who learns and the learner who
• Learning is something that results from the
interaction between and among people.
• Learners should challenge content and be
allowed to give their opinions about the
information given to them.
• Learners will value what they learn if they are
allowed to construct their own knowledge.
3. Humanistic Design
Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers
• The development of self is the ultimate
objective of leaning.
• It stresses the whole person and the
integration of thinking, feeling and doing.
• It stresses the development of positive self-
concept and interpersonal skills.
• The aim of education is the facilitation of
• In other words, the teacher is able to view the
world through the student’s eyes.
• The humanistic curriculum requires teacher
with great skills and competence in dealing
with individuals. This may be difficult to obtain
in all teachers.
• Focus on the problems faced by society.
• Genuine life problems are selected and teaching-
learning activities are organised around these issues.
• The learner is placed in the social setting to address
• the problems or issues discussed originate from issues
that are of concern to society. It aims to prepare
students with relevant knowledge and skills to fit into
society when they leave school.
1. Life-centred situations
• It uses the past and present experiences of
learners as a means to analyze the basic areas of
– Eg : healthy living, use of leisure time, ethics, racial
tolerance, citizenship skills
• This will encourage them to seek ways to improve
• The life situations that need to be emphasised in
schools will depend on what students need
before they enter the working world and assume
• Focus is still on the pressing problems of society;
the difference being that certain problem are
selected to form the core.
– A problem solving approach is adopted in analysing
– Students select a problem through consensus and
work either individually or in groups.
– Data is collected, analysed, interpreted and presented
– Findings are evaluated and discussed.