Introduction Dewey, Jane Addams and George Counts.


This report is intended
to evaluate and improve curriculum design. A study by Thornton and Flinders (2009)
revealed that around the 19th century some American teachers
recognised 5 important proponents of curriculum design i.e. Franklin Bobbitt,
Maria Montessori, John Dewey, Jane Addams and George Counts. In Bobbitt`s book,
The Curriculum (1918), he discovered unique ways to design a curriculum.
Bobbitt in Flinders and Thornton Recommended that “The content of any given
curriculum could be “discovered” by a process of surveying what successful
adults know and can do” (Flinders and Thornton, 2009, p.8)

Reflecting on how further
education was run in the past, when technology was not in so much use, all
students needed to be present in all classes, nevertheless with new concepts of
teaching and the implementation of technology this need no longer be the case.
More importance has been placed on the necessity to understand that different
students have different studying requirements that will involve different ways
of supporting their needs. The assignment will reflect on a range of schemes,
which ensure all students are involved in the process of learning; these plans
could involve blended learning and distance learning. The author will evaluate
and implant these strategies in his subject specialism then explain how his
plans will encourage innovation and create a comprehensive education

Being a trainee teacher
who is eager to progress in his subject specialism, this assignment has given
me the chance to examine the BTEC engineering curriculum through reflecting on
this current assignment. This includes reflection upon strategies that might be
deployed to successfully implant key skills, for example, LLN (Literacy,
Language, and Numeracy), ICT and employability.

The author, in this
assignment, will also look at contemporary literature concerning various models
that can be used when designing a curriculum and then use one of the models in
the design of his curriculum.


Electrical and electronic
principles is a subject in which students learn the basics of electricity and electronics.
The unit is intended to give students a level 3 knowledge and understanding of
essential principles through them studying simple direct current circuits.
Students also study the various properties and limits of active and passive
components such as: capacitors, resistors, transformers, diodes, transistors,
before finally studying alternating current theory.  This improves their employability involves
the practical use of literacy, numeracy and ICT.

learning outcomes of BTEC Unit

Through studying
electronic and electrical principles learners are to:

Be able to use circuit theory to both
measure and calculate the voltage, current and resistance in direct current

Understand the concepts of capacitors and
determine (calculate) capacitance values in d.c. circuits

Know and describe the principles and
properties of magnetism

Be able to use single-phase alternating
current theory

 This subject inspires students to use their
theoretical knowledge to build practical circuits then measure and test the
circuits using real world test equipment and / or ICT in the form of ECAD.

for alteration

As human beings our minds
continuously reflect upon events and activities that have occurred during our
lives. Kolb, 1984, argued that reflection is good because it turns knowledge
into honest learning. Fairclough (2008) suggested that “reflective practise is
a state of mind that includes constant self-evaluation”.  Kolb additionally suggested that it is
essential that an individual progresses through 4 stages of learning
cycle.  These are summarised as:





Reflection upon my
knowledge of learning styles helps me recognise how I might better make
learning happen.  Having reflected on my
existing curriculum and associated strategy, with my selected learner Maryam in
my mind (See Appendix 2- Maryam’s statement), I became aware that neither the
curriculum nor my delivery was entirely effective or appropriate for Maryam`s
needs. Even though her case might be seen as exceptional (Appendix 2), there
could be a lot of Maryam`s within the group i.e. learners whose needs were not
being met. Maryam`s specific needs were of concern to me because of the
exceptionality of her case.  I had
additional worries because she was one of the 10% of females who are studying
engineering at my college.

Curriculum Design


It is interesting to note
that currently debates concerning `curriculum design` are amongst the most
exciting topics discussed in teaching. Shareholders such as programme makers,
parents, learners and other skilled specialists are keen to provide ideas as to
why we teach, what we teach and how we teach. Learning is always changing and
this being the case no programme can ever be left forever unaltered. As a
teacher it is vital that I am aware of different curriculum models and am able
to relate both these and educational theories to particular programs of study.

Willis (2009) refers to
an education structure that uses both practice and theory as a curriculum
model. She believes that the basis of any curriculum model should be based upon
technical research and learning assessments. In her research she emphasised
four essentials for creating an inclusive curriculum.   Her recommendations concern

A suitable physical environment

Teachers being proactive in discussing and
inspiring communication with both students and other appropriate people
(college staff, carers, parents of learners, employers)

A curriculum that is open to essential

A curriculum subject that can be taught
and developed using suitable methods

My current curriculum has
not fully taken into account all of these factors as outlined by Willis, and I
therefore suspect it is likely that the curriculum does not meet the needs of
my students. I therefore consider it necessary to build a new curriculum based
on Willis and other theories of teaching that better address the needs of

I have also taken on
board the theory put forward by Tyler 1949; he viewed the curriculum as being a
product and education as being a practical practice. My rational for taking a
keen interest in Tyler’s model is that it links well with BTEC aims as it
highlights the need for students place an emphasis on precise learning
outcomes. This makes it easier to measure students’ outcomes.

Tyler suggested four
important questions to be consider when planning a curriculum.

The questions are:

What are the goals and aims

Which study experiences meet these goals
and aims

How can the objectives be met and assessed

How can the learning experience can be

These 4 fundamental
questions can be summarised as looking at the determination, experience,
association and assessment. As a trainee teacher I would further reflect on the
details while trying to propose a curriculum.

One of the biggest
barriers created by the BTEC framework is that it can restrict the learning of
students. This is because of BTEC’s grading system, which is set at pass, merit
or distinction. Due to this learners seldom approach their learning as if they
have to know everything that is being taught in order to achieve their
goal.  Rather than seeking to benefit
from everything that a course offers they seem quite satisfied to aim to complete
the minimum amount of work needed to obtain passes.   They want a qualification but are happy to
achieve passes, it is as if they feel that the effort needed to obtain a merit
or distinction is not worthwhile. 

When a curriculum is so
targeted at hitting pre-set subject based criteria, it prevents both students
and tutor from being inspired to follow areas that are more difficult. All of
the students must obtain passes or the teacher is deemed to have failed and
unless the learners get passes they will not get the qualification required obtaining
work.  The goal is always to prepare for
and place priority on the key parts of the next assessment, rather than
embracing a more fully encompassing appreciation of a subject that might not be

There are some advantages
in this, as per Tyler’s model; because it can decrease anxieties in both
students and the tutors as clearly set out targets can be hit.  Nonetheless, some rival theorists indicate
that this model lessens inclusivity because tightly defined answers can be
required. The question is how can I make it more inclusive?

curriculum practice

As a tutor, it has
to be second nature to treat all students with the same value and rights
regardless of their: race, gender, religion, ethnic background and disabilities. The Equality Act of 2010
was intended to guard everyone from discrimination whether it is in education
(schools, FE and HE), the workplace or wider society. Presently more prominence
is placed on embedding diversity and equality in all lessons. There are instant
benefits to such a style. Sotto (1994) proposes that a simple way in which
students can feel involved is by starting a lesson with a simple question like
‘today we plan to look at how it works.’ When students are posed such a
question in terms of ‘we’ they feel included and appreciated and one can easily
build a connection with individual learners. As a fact, not only are students
individuals they also have aspects of their personal lives that effect, impact
and shape their specific learning environment. In this example, my learner
Maryam, has been acknowledged to have not had the best of educations and this
restricted her ambition. Sadly, it is unfortunate that she deems that the
obstacles and barriers she faces might possibly limit her ambitions.

This said the fact
is that an inclusive curriculum should not just place emphasis upon the care of
learners who are protected by the Equality Act it must also be adaptable to
accommodate other individual barriers that students can face. Examples of
barriers to learning in FE could include being a parent, carer for elderly
relatives or bread winner.

Inclusive practice
can be seen as a process of creating, developing and / or restructuring
programs of study with the aim of expanding access to all students. One could
accomplish this by understanding and reducing barriers that hold back students.
The college has good structures in place that help tutors recognise such
barricades. An illustration of this would be independent learning plans (ILP).

Now, I asked myself
how can I reform my curriculum to eliminate the barriers specific students
face, so that they can access qualifications. One of the most critical facts
while developing an inclusive curriculum here was not to assume each student’s
capability and desire. Another was not to get stuck in a mind-set which says
‘that worked last time.’ For example, despite advances in accessibility technologies,
some still believe that all blind students must access information in braille.

Even though it is
always good preparation to predict possible complications when developing a
curriculum, it is vital to check with individual students to get to ensure
their learning needs are met in a suitable manner (Sotto 1994).

One of the important
points to be considered when ensuring that the curriculum is inclusive is
ensuring that aims and goals are accessible, clear, concise and achievable (by
all of my learners). I think this demands flexibility. I also feel that setting
clear learning outcomes tests me, as a trainee teacher, as to establish these I
need to quickly gain good fully rounded understanding of each student so that I
can recognise and help them negotiate any barriers to learning.

The curriculum has been
planned to allow for flexibility. The thought behind this being that a
curriculum that is delivered in a more flexible way (in class, on line,
offering digital and paper based handouts) might help many students, especially
those such as Maryam who has a lot of
emotional pressures, impairments, and even inescapable commitments like
parenting. It is worth pointing out that the possibility for flexibility can be
constrained by things such as the timing of tests, professional standards and
required guided learning hours. Nevertheless, I have implemented a flexible
method in my training due to varying needs of students.

My curriculum includes:

The use of a variety of
teaching resources – having a mixture of teaching resources could help students like
Maryam. An instance be using PowerPoint presentations for lessons and making
the presentations available on line. One could encourage self-directed learning
using the internet, books and teacher prepared reading materials that might
readily be received by students who want to learn for themselves. This could
also help develop language and literacy skills in all of the students.

·       Effective use of e-learning – learn
zone should always be up to date with all of the daily lessons. Such
preparation will help students like Maryam whose attendance could, for example,
be stalled by doctor’s appointments. 
E-learning allows her keep up with the rest of the group without feeling
left behind.

·       Assessment Methods- Dary (1991) indicates that assessment is a way of organising
information drawn from various sources with the aim of determining what
students know, understand and have done with knowledge. Resulting from Dary’s
view of assessment I have used various assessment methods, which include:
practical lab sessions, written assignments, controlled tests and student led
power point presentations. This I have done to accommodate each of students
indiscriminately. Some students are more capable of demonstrating their skills
and knowledge through mediums other than the standard BTEC written assignment
and I allow them to shine.

·       Design for innovation

Whilst understanding that teaching is about
making the best atmosphere in which learners can learn I nevertheless still
think about Sotto (1994) reflecting upon students as being empty pots waiting
to be filled with knowledge by the teacher. With that in mind, I believe given
the right environment, firstly, more of my knowledge can be passed on and,
secondly, more self-directed learning can be encouraged to take place. It does
not have to be either teacher centred or student centred learning that takes
place it can and in all probability should be a combination of both.

Reflecting on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as a
tutor, I formed a safe, secure learning environment through simple things such
as making sure that the class rooms are ready to meet each of the learners
needs before the lesson starts. I have a good understanding of my students;
ensure that lessons are well prepared and make the learning experience exciting
to the learners.  It is the excitement
they get from using and understanding electricity and electrical principles in
the real world that drives them on to learn more about the subject for

It is important to me to practice
self-evaluation. I believe the quality of learning improves when a tutor
regularly evaluates through personal reflection and student feedback. As
specified earlier in the assignment, Fairclough (2008) sum-ups that “reflecting
practice is a state of mind, including relentless self-evaluation”. It is worth
noticing that Kolb’s learning cycle applies to both learners and educators
alike. Delivering a lesson is an experience, as such it presents opportunities
to evaluate, reflect, and then draw conclusions that will help plan for
upcoming sessions. Being able to recognise problems from lessons is constantly
a good as it then generates opinions on how to do things in a different way
consequently making the teaching and learning better. When I started my role as
a trainee teacher I devoted a lot of time creating comprehensive presentations
with the understanding that students would profit from this, nevertheless
reflecting back I soon understood that a better learning environment for my
subject specialism was built on taking a more practical approach. As such, I
now use Learn zone to form lesson notes that learner’s access prior to each
session thereby giving learners the opportunity to make sense of the
information before a lesson.


Although Maryam could be perceived as being different and more
difficult to teach than my other learners because her processing was slower and
her attendance less unpredictable, she was much more mature than the rest of
the class. This has made her equally capable as the other students.

Inspirational chatterer once said, “no one was born restricted, it
is the surrounding that has been built to restrict them”. I use this quote as a
test to my teaching. Maryam`s case tested whether my curriculum design would
“disable” her or make her able to succeed. 
If there were no flexibility in my delivery to recognise her prearranged
appointments or unexpected absences Maryam would be at risk of not achieving
her qualifications.  The successful use
of available technology (Learn zone) meant that Maryam could access all of the
lesson she couldn’t attend and therefore kept up with other students. Bantely
(2008) recommended that active use of ICT (Information Communication
Technology) is a foundation to building a curriculum without walls, I and
Maryam found this to be the case.

The picture above is a screenshot of the Learn zone page for the
subject specialism.


I'm Mary!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out