Mkandawire, S. B. (2008)Hown curriculum developers can make content of the curriculum interesting for the learners. key note points.
Curriculum developers can make content of the curriculum interesting for the learner if they include things which learners do on their daily basis in a new way like games, role play, dancing, pictorial presentation of lessons, videos/films and others adapting the level of the level of the learners.
Learning and teaching materials, methods, activities and all plans should suit or meet the level and needs of the learners in meeting the needs and expectations of the society.
Curriculum developers can make the content that is included in a curriculum document interesting for a learner by making the content child-centered and reduce them at the level of the learners. Urevbu (1985) has said that the emphasis of a child-centered approach is that, a child is a living thing with thoughts and belies, hopes and choices, feelings and wishes and helping the learner with these must be what education is about. This means that curriculum developers should not simply pick the subject matter that they would persuade the learners to memorize, but they should rather focus on what is already engaging the mind of the child and improve on it. For instance, as far as ecological validation is concerned, the learners in Zambia would not really be interested to learn about snow falling, but rather, their interest would be in ways of catching fish, the copper mines, hunting, farming and many more activities which the learners would easily relate to and hence, they would fully participate in the learning than memorizing things they do not understand.
The curriculum should be developed for the sake of benefiting the learner. Therefore, curriculum developers should always have the interest of the learner in mind as they develop the curriculum. Print (1993) in Mulenga (2008) has defined a curriculum as all the learning opportunities offered to the learners by the educational institution and the experiences learners encounter when the curriculum is implemented. When the curriculum developers are developing the curriculum, they should ensure that the content that is included in the curriculum document is interesting for the learner. Dewey in Urevbu (1985) has said that the term ‘content’ refers to the ‘records’ of knowledge (symbols, graphics, recorded sounds, etc) without potential for interaction with the human organism. Additionally, he has said that subject matter consists of facts observed, recalled, read and talked about and the ideas suggested in course of a development of a situation having a purpose.
The starting point for curriculum developers in making the content that is included in a curriculum document interesting for the learner is by getting into architechtonics of content. Urevbu (1985) has further stated that architechtonics of content is the area of study having to do with the principles of ordering knowledge into systematic categories. This means that, in order to make the content that is included in a curriculum document interesting for the learner, the curriculum developers should classify sequence or order the content. This renders the learner’s experience intelligible.
In doing this, the scope of curriculum content should be taken into account as the learners start learning from known to unknown and their interest in learning and knowing something would be growing. According to Mulenga (2008), the term scope refers to the breadth and depth of content to be studied in the curriculum at any one time. The content should therefore, be sequenced from simple to complex. This sequence of progression enables learners want to learn more as they would be achieving the expected outcomes as planned by the educational authorities.
The other way of making content that is included in the curriculum document is to attach time to the learning activities for the learners. It becomes interesting for the learners to know, for instance, that they are supposed to finish writing the given exercise within 20 minutes and the teacher goes round checking the pupil’s books. After that 30 minutes or 40 minutes, the learners know that they are supposed to move to another subject. This helps to build learner’s interest because there is order in time allocation to the subjects which helps the learners not to be bored with one subject for a long time. For instance, it is rather boring for learners to write Mathematics for 80 minutes, tell fork tales for one hour thirty minutes and sing songs for anther thirty minutes. They know that there is no direction, hence, they become bored.
The other way curriculum developers can make the content that is included in a curriculum document interesting for learners is by putting content in the curriculum document with learning objectives which are well sequenced, classified and rich in scope so as to touch the total human being. It means touching all domains which are: the cognitive domain, the affective domain and the psychomotor domain. For instance, learners in a Religious Education (RE) lesson would not only be given recall questions, but instead, they would be given content whose objectives would be to change the learner’s attitudes and values in life. Methodologies used should therefore be ones that would make such aspects of the affective domain to be reflected and touch the learner’s life such as role plays. The teaching methods should thus be flexible enough for learners to enjoy their learning. The content would then be more interesting to the learner than what is strictly according to the teacher’s interest with recall questions for passing an examination.
The content that is included in a curriculum document can be made interesting for the learners by ensuring that the set learning objectives are achievable. This means that, the content that is given to a particular grade or disability group should be attainable. It becomes interesting for the learner when he or she is able to excel in what they are doing than when they are failing. It becomes boring for them and they would usually drop the subject or simply lose interest and keep failing. Furthermore, for the content that is included in a curriculum document to be made interesting for the learner, the curriculum developers should ensure that the language usage is appropriate for the learner’s age and cultural background. This is important because he language that would be interesting, for instance, to a grade seven learner would not be interesting to a grade one learner. Additionally, learners would find the relevance of the examples given in the context exciting to them if the teacher talks about things they know, they are familiar with and are of value to them. As Kelly (1999) has explained, if we attempt to establish as the content of curriculum those things which we regard as being the essential valuable elements of the culture, the problem which can arise is that, it can lead to imposition on some pupils of a curriculum that is alien to them which lacks relevance to their lives and to their experience outside the school and can ultimately bring about their alienation from and rejection of the education they are offered. For example, children who live by the river banks would find rather interesting examples of trucks carrying fish as opposed to giving examples of trucks carrying copper. Giving appropriate content brings about relevance to hem and hence, the pupils would fully participate in the lesson with interest.
Note that curriculum developers can make content that is included in the curriculum interesting for the learners by sequencing the work in a hierarchical order, ensuring that it is according to the children’s level of performance, ensuring that it is of value to them, that the set objectives are attainable and also that the teaching methods are appropriate and interesting to the learners including the other reasons highlighted above.
Okello, V and Kagoiren, M. A., (1996) : Makerere University, Curriculum Studies Module. Kampala: Bezatel Design Studies