Curriculum Development in History Using Systems Approach

Article excerpt

Abstract

This work provides a conceptual framework for developing coherent history curricula at university level. It can also be used for evaluating existing curricula in terms of coherence. For this purpose, two models that are closely inter-connected called History Education System (Tarih Egitim Sistemi or TES) and History Research System (Tarih Arastirma Sistemi or TAS) are developed using systems approach. TES represents the process of history education. TAS represents the historian's craft. Viability of the framework thus created is demonstrated by applying it to the development of a draft history education programs for all levels; undergraduate, master's and doctoral. Core fields for all these programs, courses which differentiate in terms of depth and coverage depending on the level for each one of the core fields; project based learning/teaching and activity log based assessment that can be applied in many of the courses are described in detail. This work is first for the discipline of history. Moreover, TES and TAS are generic models that can easily be adapted to developing curricula in other social science fields. This work differs from other studies involving the systems approach in Turkey in that it models not only learning/teaching process but also the field of teaching/learning itself, that is history.

Key Words

History Education, Historiography, Systems Approach, Curriculum Development in History.

There are two main approaches to developing a curriculum: the product approach proposed by Ralph Tyler (1949) and the process approach usually associated with Lawrence Stenhouse (1975). The systems approach, which originates from the computer systems, is emerging as a third main approach due to, perhaps, the spread of computer systems in all facets of life. According to this approach, in simple terms, inputs are transformed into outputs to the environment through a process. Outputs to the environment may enter into the system again through a feedback mechanism. Curriculum development studies based on the systems approach follows closely the model proposed by Wulf and Schave (1984).

The experts in the area of curriculum development in Turkey can be said to be under the influence of product approach (Demirel, 1992, p. 35). But there are also studies, although too few in numbers, concerning the systems approach. Varis (1989) reviews the history of curriculum development and introduces the basic concepts regarding the systems approach. Dogan (1974) explains the stages of curriculum development using this approach, through examples from technical education. Sahinkesen (1990) after a short description of basic concepts of the approach explains and expands on the steps of Wulf and Schave (1984) model.

Current work concerning the curriculum development in history puts more emphasis on modeling than explaining the steps of a particular model.

History Education From Systems Perspective

Using systems approach, history education at the university level may be modeled as shown in Figure 1. This is called History Education System (Tarih Egitim Sistemi) or TES for short.

As shown in the figure, history teaching staff, students and history course contents, inputs to the system, are transformed into outputs as history graduates and experienced history teaching staff (or the historian to represent both) through a process of education. In the process, learning/ teaching and assessment methods, called withinputs, regulate the relationships between the students and the teaching staff. Withinputs are different from the inputs in that they change rather slowly. The changes in withinputs are usually triggered by the information entering into the system through feedback mechanism. The outputs, the historians at various levels of knowledge, may enter into the system again through a feedback mechanism together with the information regarding their performance. In the systems approach, the quality of the outputs is regarded as closely tied to the quality of inputs including withinputs. …

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