Fundamental curriculum elements refer to very important aspects which hold a central place in curriculum development. When Hilda talks about valid criteria, she refers to a standard that is expected to be followed when developing a curriculum which is defined by Fraenkel (1992: 178), as “all the planned learning opportunities offered to learners by the educational institutions and the experiences learners encounter when the curriculum is implemented.” Hence, this presentation seeks to explain with relevant examples what Hilda Taba meant when she claimed that decisions to the fundamental curriculum elements should be made according to valid criteria.
Hilda Taba in valid criteria meant that, the fundamental curriculum elements should be Significant, (Taba, 1967). This shows that the ideas should represent an important relationship about some aspect of the world.
She also meant that the elements should have an Explanatory power. The question should be, Will the idea help students understand and explain important issues and problems that confront people in today’s world? This means that, a teacher should be able to impart the learners with the skill to explain the cause, effects barriers and future benefits of something to the society. For example, on geography topic pollution, learners should be able to explain its causes and effects to the society, and how to minimize it, (Taba, 1962).
Besides that, Hilda Taba meant that, the fundamental curriculum elements should be Appropriate. This implies that, the idea given to the learners must suit to the needs, interests, and maturity of the students, (Schon, 1987). This means that, the subject content must much their age. For example, calculus can not be taught to a grade eight class.
In addition to that, when planning, the curriculum developers have to consider the Durability. Considering durability is the idea one of lasting importance, and also the balance. Will the idea promote a breadth and depth of understanding of events, individuals, actions, or occurrences? In this context it means, is what they are acquiring applicable in the society at that given time or the future to come. For example, the productive unit in schools equip learners with skills that can be used at that particular moment at school, at home and in the future to come, (Taba, 1962).
According to Hilda Taba, the criteria to be used in the fundamental curriculum elements must reflect the most up -to -date knowledge available and also reflect the essential, basic knowledge that has a wider application. If it does not offer the important insights that will help students gain an understanding of themselves and their world then the elements are not valid, (Taba, 1967).. This means that it should look at the learner as a whole that he/she should be able to know their strengths and weaknesses and help them identify the skills that they can offer to society. For example, one will be able to identify oneself as a technician, doctor, teacher, carpenter and many other skills.
Hilda Taba also meant that, it must promote the spirit of inquiry and the subject matter should be socially and culturally significant. This implies that, it must be consistent with the realities of today’s world and examine values and value- conflicts, besides that, also promote an understanding of the phenomenon of change and the problems that change produces, (Schon, 1987).
According to Hilda Taba, the subject matter should have to relate to the needs, interests, and developmental level of students asking whether it can be learned by the student that is, is it in keeping with the abilities of the students involved? The subject matter must promote breadth and depth of understanding. And it must help to develop in students to apply what they have learned in one situation to a new and different situation. For example, a student who is studying curriculum, the knowledge gained will be applied in a classroom when teaching a specific subject, (Taba, 1962).
She also meant that the development of the curriculum should be of social relevance and utility to the one going through the learning process. That is it should be practical and not just be theoretical. Society must see something meaningful and relevant in a student who had an exposure to the curriculum, (Schon, 1987). For example, a learner who has learnt about pollution will change attitudes against littering. This implies that there is change in behavior because of the curriculum.
The curriculum should be designed in such a way that it accommodates the learners’ views. Learners should have an input in the learning process. This shows that the curriculum that to be developed, should not be rigid but flexible and prone to changes. In this she meant that, learners are not empty vessels, they play a vital role in the learning process that they can contribute something that is sensible to the curriculum and add the value, (Taba, 1962).
Lastly, she also meant that the development of the curriculum should not be biased to some social groups. It must consider the social back grounds of different people and strike a balance on what can help each social group. The social groups include; gender, races, tribes tongues and many more, (Schon, 1987).
Nevertheless, it is reasonable for us to infer that, what Hilda Taba claimed that the fundamental curriculum elements should be made according to valid criteria is of much importance to the present educational system in that, it can add value if used appropriately. Some of the valid criteria includes, it should be Significant, it should have an Explanatory power, it should be Appropriate, consider the Durability, must reflect the most up -to -date knowledge, must promote the spirit of inquiry, should have to relate to the needs, interests, and developmental level of students, it should be of social relevance and utility, accommodates the learners’ views and not be biased to some social groups.
Fraenkel J.R. (1992). Social Education. Eglewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall.
Schon, D.A. 1987. Beyond the stable state. London: Temple Smith.
Taba, H. 1962. Curriculum development: theory and practice. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World.
Taba, H. 1967. Teacher handbook for elementary social studies. Palo Alto, CA: Addison-Wesley.