The Role of Philosophy in Curriculum Planning

At the heart of purposeful activity in curriculum development is an educational philosophy that assists in answering value-laden questions and making decisions from among the many choices.

For John Dewey, America’s most famous educator, a philosophy was a general theory of educating. One of Dewey’s students, Boyd Bode, saw a philosophy as “a source of reflective consideration.

“Ralph Tyler, a leader in curriculum throughout much of this century, likened philosophy to “a screen for selecting educational objectives.”

Philosophies can, therefore, serve curriculum leaders in many ways. They can help to;

  • Suggest purpose in education
  • Clarify objectives and learning activities in school
  • Define the roles of persons working in schools
  • Guide the selection of learning strategies and tactics in theclassroom

We believe that a philosophy is essential to any meaningful curriculum development effort. In arriving at an educational philosophy. curriculum specialists are forced to consider value-laden choices.

It is clear as we enter the twenty-first century that there are many ways to define and operate a school and that decisions made in defining the scope of curriculum will directly impact the substance and structure of educational programs.

If curriculum specialists are aware of their own beliefs about Education and learning, they will make better everyday decisions.

Philosophy becomes the principles for guiding action

  • Do we provide educational programs that develop a society or the individual?
  • Do we wish to make good citizens and workers? or
  • Do we want to make human beings who will live life to their fullest?

Philosophical work can aid curriculum planning in many ways, but it is particularly useful in helping us to understand;

  • The nature of educational objectives
  • The structure or interrelatedness of the objectives.
  • The nature of curriculum activities
  • The structure of curriculum plans, which are dependent upon both the content and the methods which we wish to employ.

Philosophy gives meaning to our decisions and actions. No single philosophy, old or new, should serve as the exclusive guide for making decisions about education or the curriculum.

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