Mkandawire Benson Sitwe (2010). The objective and cyclical model of curriculum process, bringing out their distinctions.
A model is a simplified representation of complex reality, which enables us understand the process of curriculum development better. A model represents the components and structure of the curriculum. It is depicted in diagrammatic form. To develop a curriculum, models are used to examine elements of a curriculum and how these elements interrelate. This presentation aims at discussing two types of models of curriculum development, that is, the objectives model and the cyclical model
The objective model is also known as the rational/classical or academic model. It was proposed by Ralph Tyler in 1949. The objective model follows a fixed, sequential pattern, that is, from objectives to content, method and lastly evaluation. In coming up with this model, Tyler pointed out that curriculum development needed to be treated logically and systematically. The objective model states that to develop any curriculum, four questions, which he considered to be fundamental, had to be posed: (i).What educational purpose should the school seek to attain. For instance, what educational purpose do variety shows in schools seek to attain? As curriculum developers, we ought to know whether learners would benefit anything from such activities. Once this is understood, curriculum developers would then decide whether such co-curricula activities should be included in the curriculum. (ii).What educational experiences are likely to attain these objectives? This question refers to the selection of learning experiences, which are appropriate to attain the objectives in the first question (iii). How can these educational experiences be organised effectively? This refers to the organisation of learning experiences. (iv). How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained? Here the evaluation procedures are taken into consideration.
Tyler advocated for a logical and systematic curriculum. The objectives model is linear. It starts with objectives, followed by the selection of learning experiences, then the organisation of learning experiences and finally evaluation. This structure shows that objectives have been determined, appropriate learning experiences can be selected which in turn would require effective organisation; lastly, the determination of whether objectives have been determined or not, which is the evaluation stage.
Hilda Taba’s model is a modified version of tyler’s objective. She modified Tyler’s model and called for a logical organisation of the curriculum and the individual learner. She argued for a rational, sequential approach to the development of the curriculum. The objectives model is rational and scientific in approach. The decisions on the fundamental elements should be made according to valid criteria, meaning that the curriculum should reflect the needs of the society and the learner. Taba further stated that it should be flexible and systematic. She advocated for an orderly way of developing curricula by following seven sequential steps in her model.
Cyclical models on the other hand are an extension of the objective model as tyler lays a foundation for most curriculum models. They are logical and sequential in approach. They present the curriculum process as a continuing activity, which is constantly in a state of change as new information or practices become available. In other words, the content, methods of learning activities and evaluation are liable to change once new information or practices become available. The Cyclical model is responsive to needs, which are on-going, necessitating constant up dating of the curriculum process. They are flexible. These models view elements of the curriculum as interrelated and interdependent. They accept a degree of interaction between the various curriculum elements. The Cyclical models involve Situational Analysis, which involves the analysis of those factors, which exist in the environment where the curriculum is going to be introduced.
In cyclical model, D. K. Wheeler, who developed and extended the ideas forwarded by Tyler. In line with this, Wheeler suggested five interrelated phases that should developed logically as it is demonstrated in his diagram. Audrey Nicholls and Howard Nicholls also had to put in their input into the cyclical model. The Nicholls model emphasises the logical approach to curriculum development, particularly where the need for new curricula emerges from changed situations. The cyclical models can be further described in terms of the structure that they follow generally and its flexibility.
The Differences between Objectives and Cyclical model should not be under estimated. One difference is that Cyclical models are flexible while the objectives models are rigid. Whenever there is new information, which needs to be incorporated in the curriculum, the cyclical models readily incorporate it while it will be very hard for it to be included in the objective model.
Secondly, Cyclical models view curriculum elements as interrelated and interdependent while in the objectives models, the elements are linear, where one leads to another.
The third is that Cyclical models present the curriculum process as a continuing activity, which is constantly in a state of change as new information, and practices become available. Cyclical models accommodate change over the years while in the objective model its not clear whether this could happen or not.
Cyclical models emphasise the importance of Situational Analysis, so that the subsequent curriculum will accurately reflect the needs of the learners for whom it is intended.
Taba, H (1962). Curriculum development: Theory and Practice. Harcourt, Brace and World.
Tyler, R.W (1949). Basic Principles of curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: University of
Wheeler, D.K (1967). Curriculum Process. London: University of London Press.