Role of Curriculum Developers

Role of Curriculum Developers

         The curriculum needs to provide guidelines for schools and different stakeholders for structuring curricular experiences in ways that focus on values. These guidelines must be related to the subject content, organisation of schools, pedagogical approaches, and role of teachers, identity and leadership. The guidelines must include suggestions for teachers to make explicit the objectives of learning different curricular subjects, and the need to highlight the attitudes and values inherent in the subjects’ content. The guidelines must also caution against making education for values too prescriptive and didactic. Guidelines should also suggest ways and means (games and activities) by which students can arrive at these value conclusions themselves instead of being prescribed at the beginning of the chapter. However, despite highlighting these goals, the actual practice of teaching-learning may still fall short of desired goals. The values related objectives of content need to be highlighted. The guidelines may be directed at all the functionaries at all levels. It is to be understood that the role of teacher, the key player at school level, is delimited by the way policies are understood and implemented by the middle level administrators.



  • Role of Curriculum Developers

         The curriculum needs to provide guidelines for schools and different stakeholders for structuring curricular experiences in ways that focus on values. These guidelines must be related to the subject content, organisation of schools, pedagogical approaches, and role of teachers, identity and leadership. The guidelines must include suggestions for teachers to make explicit the objectives of learning different curricular subjects, and the need to highlight the attitudes and values inherent in the subjects’ content. The guidelines must also caution against making education for values too prescriptive and didactic. Guidelines should also suggest ways and means (games and activities) by which students can arrive at these value conclusions themselves instead of being prescribed at the beginning of the chapter. However, despite highlighting these goals, the actual practice of teaching-learning may still fall short of desired goals. The values related objectives of content need to be highlighted. The guidelines may be directed at all the functionaries at all levels. It is to be understood that the role of teacher, the key player at school level, is delimited by the way policies are understood and implemented by the middle level administrators.of values among students. Teachers’ relations with others are influenced by many factors, such as his/her self and identity, attitudes, leadership style, and communication skills. These factors are discussed in the following sections.

  • Teachers’ Self and Identity

        The self and identity of teachers has probably the strongest influence on their interactions and relationships with others. The self refers to the sum of all the perceptions that one holds about oneself, such as I am a teacher, I am a Muslim, I am efficient, I like to teach or not to teach, I am honest, and so on. Depending upon the strength and quality of these perceptions (positive or negative), the self develops negatively or positively. The negative self is expressed in behaviours like lack of trust in one’s own ability and that of others, absence of caring and helpful attitudes, inability to take responsibility, lack of perseverance on tasks, and so on. The positive self is the opposite of all the above. A sound and healthy sense of self is enabling. It bestows openness, flexibility, motivation, caring, respectful and creative attitudes in the individual. A positive person is likely to be less aggressive, prejudiced, obstinate and frustrated. It may be remembered that self and identity are crucial, for not only promotion of values among students, but more importantly, for the effectiveness of one’s own behaviour and relationships at home, at work, and in other contexts.

  To begin with, it would be worthwhile to examine your perceptions, attitudes and beliefs about yourself – your abilities and socio-emotional qualities. Are these positive? What is your identity? It helps to reflect, for instance, on “What attitudes we hold towards our strengths, weaknesses, beliefs about our own family, work, colleagues, etc.,? Are these negative or positive?” Whatever be the direction of these attitudes, it is important to analyse why these are so? We have to critically examine if these beliefs hamper ourrelationships with others, and our ability to resolve conflicts. Why it is sometimes easy to resolve conflicts with some people, but not with others. We can easily connect with those similar to us. On the other hand, people who are different in terms of caste, language, region, colour, gender, etc., appear distant. In order to establish healthy social relationships with colleagues, principal, students, parents and staff, one has to learn to accept others – even those different from us. Healthy ‘self’ development and social relationships contribute to happiness and well-being.

        An important strategy that helps in development of ‘self’ is regular, daily reflection on one’s experiences – positive or negative. Reflection is most effective when accompanied by writing down the experiences, feelings, and conclusions of daily life. Regularity of reflection helps in developing insights into the beliefs we hold toward others and the way these affect our behaviour. The insights enable us to overcome attitudinal barriers and develop self-esteem and positivity, which in turn would enable us to become effective in our work and strengthen relationships with others – fellow teachers, students, principal and parents.

  • Pedagogical Approach

           The approach to teaching is influenced by the teacher’s attitudes toward children and toward teaching. The implicit assumptions about ‘how children learn?’, ‘who is a child’ and ‘what are their psycho-social characteristics?’, inform our teaching-learning practices. For example, if one believes that children are innocent and it is the lack of parental guidance that causes lapses in their development, one would try to influence parents. The belief that children are basically wild and they need to be punished to control would influence the teachers’ behaviour accordingly.

            The traditional approach to teaching assumed that children learnt by listening to knowledgeable adults. As a result, the traditional approach of teaching focused on content or giving a lot of information. In such case, it is the teacher who does most of the talking in the class. It is one way communication, occasionally interrupted with a question or two, posed by the students. Though the students are active observers, their observations and experiences are notcapitalised upon in traditional teaching, neither the errors in their work and thought get corrected. Students in such a situation carry on with their erroneous observations and beliefs. In contrast, the contemporary approach to learning
considers students as partners in the teaching-learning process. They learn by constructing knowledge based on assimilation of the concepts, correct or incorrect, in their experiences. If opportunities are not provided to them to share their learning and receive feedback, the expected learning may not occur and this has implications for learning of attitudes and values. Therefore, it is important that teachers allow students to raise questions and doubts in the class not only about the subject matter but also about other issues. The issues raised by them reveal their attitudes. Teachers have to be vigilant to the way students’ attitudes develop.

   Let us take an example. The art teacher gave home work to the students and asked them to prepare a model. The student who got maximum marks had not made the model himself. One student Raman dared to confront the teacher. He said, “Sir, I made the model all alone, whereas Sohan’s brother, who is much older, made the model.” The teacher said, “I can’t do anything about this. His model is better so he gets better marks.” The dilemma before the teacher and student in the above example is not simple enough to be summarily rejected. What would be the effect of teacher’s comment on Raman? How the dilemma is resolved is an important aspect of teacher’s pedagogic strategy to reward the process of learning, perseverance, and the hard work. Mostly it is the outcome that gets rewarded which forces some students to adopt unethical ways to get success. The teacher has to stay involved with students, their backgrounds, strengths and limitations. This is possible through constructivist approach to teaching. The way teachers handle the queries of students could also influence their beliefs.

  • Leadership

            A teacher has to provide effective leadership to the students within and outside the school. They could guide students to manage their work and conduct in ways to avoid punishment and criticism from teachers and parents, and work effectively towards their educational goals. They could invite participation of students in formulating classroom policies, discipline and work schedule which would enable them to relate warmly with students. Students would be motivated to cooperate and follow established rules. Students could also be involved in reflection on aberrations in policy or classroom discipline or poor achievement or any other concerns and device ways to deal with those problems with a positive frame of mind.

  • Communication Skills

        Communication skills influence interactions and relationships a teacher could develop with the principal, students, staff, and occasionally with the community. The quality of these interactions affects the teacher’s efficiency as well. These relationships impact not only students, but also the teacher’s own mental health. The two most important communication skills that she/he needs to possess are listening skills and responding skills. Listening involves paying attention to what the other person is saying, the verbal as well as non verbal content of the communication. After listening, the teacher needs to respond to the queries of students in an appropriate way.

  • Teaching of Subjects

         Values are inherent in the subject content. During teaching the subjects, teachers could make explicit the values inherent in the content. All the subjects like science, social sciences, languages, etc., are connected with real life and each one has immense potential to convey values. The real purpose of teaching these subjects is to understand their implications in real life situations, including value inculcation. Integrated approach to teaching values is more likely to enable students to imbibe them. For instance, while learning History, the students may critically examine the way perceptions of
different people about the same historical facts vary, and the personal biases and prejudices that create different versions.

         There are innumerable opportunities for the teachers to highlight values during teaching. For example, learning to write letters in language classes need not be about imaginary issues; rather, these should be about real issues facing students in school, such as writing letter to the teachers to alter classroom rules that are unjust. Language learning must facilitate the expression of their grouses in polite and inoffensive language using ‘I’ messages rather than ‘You’. We could also help them understand how our messages, full of negative vocabulary, generate anger and annoyance in others. Students should be helped to enlarge their vocabulary of positive, polite and happy words and expressions. In addition, as a language teacher we could elaborate relevant portions of textual materials to highlight how language generates different feelings. By altering our usage of language (i.e. appropriate vocabulary, tone and tenor), we could create positive feelings.

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