Curriculum design is a fundamental pillar of modern education, allowing teachers and educational institutions to define how and what will be taught to students. With the right curriculum design, the learning process can be more effective and enjoyable, enabling students to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the world. On the other hand, a poor curriculum design can limit students’ development and affect their long-term potential.
In general, curriculum design models can be divided into three broad categories: Behavioral, Constructivist, and Humanistic. Each of these approaches has its pros and cons, and teachers should pick the one that best suits their individual students and objectives.
In this article, we’ll explain the basics of these different models and discuss their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Behavioral Curriculum Design
The Behavioral Curriculum Design (BCD for short) is focused on the assessment of student performance and reinforcing desired outputs through punishments and rewards. It is a systemic approach that follows a specific set of objectives and steps, ranging from mastery of particular topics to the completion of specific tasks.
At its core, BCD seeks to “shape” student behavior and reward desirable outcomes in a structured environment. It emphasizes individuals’ ability to manipulate their environment in order to produce an end result. To start, teachers must establish objectives and goals, as well as an achievable timeframe.
This helps ensure that everyone understands the purpose of the curriculum and the expectations for each lesson. BCD is especially beneficial for tangibles and measurable goals, such as the mastery of particular skills or the completion of a task. It is ideal for introducing obscure concepts to large groups of students, such as those who are preparing for a standardized test.
However, BCD can be overly focused on the assessment process, and it fails to accommodate the individual needs of each student. Additionally, it may not instill the habits and skills necessary to be successful in the real world, where assessments and rewards are often indirect and unpredictable.
Constructivist Curriculum Design
The Constructivist Curriculum Design (CCD for short) is focused on having students build their own knowledge and understanding through exploration and experimentation. It is centered on the idea that students need to be actively engaged in their learning process in order to fully comprehend difficult concepts.
At its core, CCD aims to “construct” an understanding of the world through hands-on learning and exploration. To do this, teachers must provide ample opportunities for students to discover, investigate, and experiment with new topics. Instead of instructing students on how to do something, the teacher should show them how to use their own ideas and solutions to find the answer.
CCD is especially beneficial for teaching difficult, abstract, or otherwise difficult-to-grasp concepts. By allowing students to explore and experiment, they can develop a personal understanding of the material. It also enables teachers to make alterations and adjustments in real-time, ensuring that their instructions are well-matched to their intended audience.
However, CCD can be too exploratory and lead to a lack of structure in the classroom. Additionally, it can be difficult to measure the success of a CCD lesson, as success is defined differently for each individual.
Humanistic Curriculum Design
The Humanistic Curriculum Design (HCD for short) is focused on creating meaningful experiences and relationships between students, teachers, and subjects. It is centered on the idea that students should be treated as individuals, with different needs, interests, and goals. At its core, HCD strives to foster a supportive learning environment by addressing the individual needs of each student.
To do this, teachers must create meaningful experiences that reflect the student’s personal thoughts, ideas, and goals. For example, a teacher may craft a lesson plan that allows a student to explore their interests or develop an idea from start to finish.
HCD is especially beneficial for helping students raise their self-esteem, understanding their intrinsic motivation, and developing feelings of belonging. Additionally, it gives teachers a greater sense of empathy and credibility, helping them build rapport with their students.
However, HCD can lead to a lack of structure in the classroom, as each student is allocated a personalized education plan. It also requires patience, as teachers may need to interact with students several times over a long period of time before they can fully understand their individual needs.
In conclusion, there are three main types of curriculum design: Behavioral, Constructivist, and Humanistic. Each of these has its advantages and limitations, and it’s up to teachers to decide which one works best for their goals and their students. By carefully assessing their individual needs and scenarios, teachers can leverage the potential of these curriculum designs and provide the best possible learning experience for their classes.