Sequence and Scope in the Curriculum

Article excerpt

Students need to experience quality sequence to attain well in the school setting. How much any student will achieve may well depend upon a curriculum that permits continuous progress with objectives that are challenging and yet achievable. Objectives that are to difficult to attain make for feelings of failure whereas experiences and activities that are excessively easy may well make for boredom. The teacher's task then is to determine the present achievement level of student's individually and guide each to learn as much as possible. This is indeed a complex responsibility.

How Should Sequence be Determined?

Diverse procedures are available to ascertain the present level of a student's achievement and assist each to attain continuous progress. Measurement driven instruction (MDI) advocates using precise objectives written prior to instruction in teaching - learning situation. These carefully selected objectives provide a basis for writing test items, generally multiple choice in nature, to measure learner progress. The test items must harmonize with the objectives in proper alignment so that validity is in evidence.

Students then can be pretested to determine which objectives have or have not been attained. Those objectives not attained provide a starting point for instruction. Objectives for learner attainment can be announced prior to teaching students. Thus students can be rather certain as to what is expected of them in terms of content to be obtained from a lesson presentation. Once learners have attained planned objectives, the teacher adds new goals for sequential achievement. If objectives have not been achieved by students, a new teaching strategy must be used so that learners develop feelings of success. Pretesting before a new unit of study or a new lesson plan is implemented provides guidance to the teacher as to what should come next in terms of learning activities for students. MDI advocates believe strongly that students must reveal mastery of sequential objectives prior to emphasizing more challenging ends taught in ascending order of complexity. The teacher arranges the order of objectives logically. Thus a logical curriculum is in evidence as determined by the teacher.

A second procedure to emphasize in determining sequence in the curriculum is teacher-student planning. The teacher may present background information in a lesson to learners using a variety of activities. He/she encourages student questions within the framework of these leaning opportunities. The questions raised can be recorded on the chalkboard. After the questions have been selected, students choose which problem area they would desire to solve. Sequence to a large extent here is determined by learners. Students chose the problem areas and then decided upon the committee to serve on for the problem solving activity. Students with teacher guidance may also select references to use in the problem solving experience. Further situations involving students in sequencing experiences would be to guide learners to appraise their solutions to problem areas. A psychological curriculum is in evidence when learners are heavily involved in sequencing their very own activities.

A third approach in sequencing objectives is to advocate a subject centered approach in instruction. The teacher here has the major role in ordering experiences for learners, but without the use of measurably stated objectives. Mental development of students becomes the major aim of instruction. Mind is real and needs development. The teacher must be highly academically inclined to stress a subject centered curriculum. Objectives emphasizing leaner attainment of subject matter need to be important for student achievement. Trivia must always be weeded out when selecting subject matter for learner achievement. There is much subject matter for any students to attain; thus what is emphasized in teaching - learning situations must pass the test of being relevant. …