As Smith outlines in is work on curriculum theory and practice four models of curriculum.
- Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted.
- Curriculum as a product
- Curriculum as a process
- Curriculum as a praxis.
Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted.
When it comes to the curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted; there are good and not so good points for this model. This model is often presented as a textbook style and this can be useful because it allows for easy understanding and the use of familiarity and easy navigation.
However, this model does not indicate the importance or order for the material to be studied. Treating the curriculum as a syllabus causes the only concern to be with content and not the theory around the idea of curriculum. Planning from this model only includes content or a particular body of knowledge that the teachers wish to use.
Curriculum as a product.
For this model, the curriculum is seen as setting behavioral objectives.
With the product being the end, careful planning is put into creating good quality material. It also allows for organizing power in clear concise way for better understanding.
However, this model seems very focused on one particular thing and that is to prepare students for the workforce; the skilled labor rather than having a broader purpose. Furthermore, there is no social vision or guiding principles that would allow for deeper thinking and better construction and creation of a curriculum. As outlined in the article with this model the students are told: “what they must learn and how they will do it” (Smith 2000). The point that I have the most issue with is the fact that a product model causes success or failure is determined by a students ability to make predetermined changes in there learning or improvements.
Curriculum as a process.
Smith explains that the curriculum as a process involves the interaction between teachers, students, and knowledge in the classroom to make a better learning environment. I understand this process as to what happens in the classroom as far as instruction go. This process helps to predict what will happen in the future.
This process allows for more teacher-student interaction thus giving the students a voice that they would not otherwise. The downside to this is that the responsibility falls on the teacher to do a good job teaching and cultivating wisdom. Most teachers I find to be more than competent in their job of being a help to students.
Curriculum as praxis.
This model is a further development of the process model. This model allows both teacher and student to dive deeper and consult other issues that explain their existence. Thus facing them with their own oppression. Smith explains that teachers have personal but shared ideas of good. Furthermore, Smith explains that the praxis develops through the dynamic interactions of action and reflection that leads to a collective understanding.
My schooling experiences:
As far as my own schooling was concerned, the model that was most prominent was a mixture of product and process. My teachers worked to use the curriculum as a guide to teaching us what we need to know. the students were also held to a standard that was the standard that a pass or fail was determined from.
Furthermore, most of my teachers tried there best to make time for one on one interactions to help their students. I trusted my teachers to make the best decisions for me and other students. Which is a characteristic of the curriculum as a process.
These models made for an excellent work environment and fostered a safe accepting classroom. However, this environment did not allow for much critical thinking, although I had teachers tried it never got anywhere because an effort was not made to foster deep critical thinking. However, there is always room for improvement and as a teacher, I will try to advance this work and implementing it into the classroom.