|Primary Teacher Education Curricula as Documented: A Comparative Analysis (CIE, 1999, 38 p.)|
The analytical framework used is based on Michael Erauts (1976) ideas about curriculum design and development. As such curricula cannot be understood outside their context, a brief survey is first given of how the programme developed, the roles played by different stakeholders - government, professional/educational institutions, or outside agencies - and any particular political or economic factors that have influenced its shape.
Background information is then given, to provide answers to such questions as:
· where does this teacher
preparation programme take place?
· how long is it and how is it structured in terms of time and place?
· is it modular or developmental?
· how is the practicum organised? (length, timing, links with rest of course, role of the school, logistic and financial arrangements, etc.)
and what are the entry requirements.
The programme is then analysed using Erauts model. This proposes a five-point diamond frame, based on the assumption that decisions made about each of these five points - aims, objectives, content, pedagogy and assessment - together constitute a curriculum strategy. These decisions should be consistent with each other, so that the strategy is coherent, balanced and workable. The college-based and school-based parts of the programme can be analysed separately if appropriate.
An outline follows, showing the questions that guided the enquiry. See also Fig. 1 in this appendix.
Aims and philosophy
Typically they are very broad and general, but they may indicate:
¨ what kind of teacher is
¨ what is the underlying ideology, or value/belief system?
¨ what epistemological assumptions are made e.g. about the kind of knowledge needed by new teachers?
Although this varies it can generally be divided into four components:
content and pedagogy/method
· profession-related: education studies/foundation disciplines, and general pedagogic skills
· general education: for background, enrichment, attitudes, etc.
· practicum: practical teaching both in college and school
Questions that can be asked include:
¨ what principles appear to
underlie the selection of topics and skills?
¨ what weighting/importance is given to each component?
¨ how are the components interrelated?
¨ how is the content related to the local school curriculum?
¨ are the written syllabi to be used as broad guidelines or prescriptive blueprints?
Link to aims: is the content relevant and appropriate?
Objectives and outcomes
These include aspirations and expectations; they may be stated either for the course as a whole or for specific components of it e.g. separately for the practicum. They may be holistic or specific; they may be phrased in the language of competence, knowledge, or skills. They may also be inferred from the assessment modalities. Questions to ask include:
Þ what knowledge, skills and
attitudes are to be achieved?
Þ are specific components of the course linked to specific outcomes?
Þ what appears to be the underlying rationale e.g. behaviourist, constructivist, knowledge-based, skills-oriented, reflective professional, etc.?
Link to aims: how closely do these objectives match the overall aims?
Assessment and accreditation
A brief description is given in terms of type(s) of tests, exams, assignments, projects, etc. and then analysed in terms of dichotomies such as continuous / terminal, formative / summative, academic / practical and so on.
Further questions might include:
à how are the different
components weighted for the final grading?
à who carries out the assessment, and what moderation processes are there if any?
à what certification do successful graduates receive and from whom (e.g. Ministry, college or university?)
Link to aims: how far do the assessment procedures encourage selection of the type of teacher described in the aims?
a) Teaching/learning methods
These are the hardest to infer from documents. Certain methods may be recommended, but the college timetable, class size, physical space, and other types of resources may work to constrain choice, so data on all these is relevant, if available. But documents may show:
* what methods are recommended explicitly?
* what methods seem to be implied, by looking at the other aspects of the diamond?
* how practical and professional skills are taught?
b) Teaching/Learning Materials
These are often very scarce and/or inappropriate, with students largely relying on lecturers notes. What evidence is there for use of the following:
¨ textbooks for subjects, for
pedagogy, for education studies?
¨ library resources, including relevant school textbooks, teaching aids etc.?
¨ audio visual resources?
¨ use of local resources, human or physical?
Link to aims: are the views of teaching and learning, and the relationships expressed in them, consistent with the aims?
Evaluation and comparisons based on the analysis
Such descriptive analysis from documents is a concrete and practical place to start. Further questions can then be asked, with the purposes of evaluating the curriculum against selected criteria, or comparing it with others. e.g.:
· is the curriculum strategy as a whole internally coherent? i.e. are the aims, outcomes, content, assessment, and pedagogy consistent?
· how relevant is it to what the new teachers will need in their jobs?
· what attention does it pay to what the trainees bring with them?
· how does it tackle values and attitudes?
· what are the gaps or silences within it?
· how is it embedded in its social context, how affected by history, by current social movements, by the economic system, by levels of national development etc.?