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4.1.2 The Broad Fields Curriculum Design

This design was developed to overcome a perceived weakness in the subject design that was evident in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The broad fields design combines two or more related subjects into a single broad field of study, for example;

Language Arts: combines the separate but related subjects of Reading, Spelling, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Composition.

Social studies: history, geography, economics, sociology, politics,anthropology and current events.

Mathematics: arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry and geometry.

The Broad Fields, commonly found in elementary and middle grades, is an attempt to overcome the fragmentation and compartmentalization characteristic of the subject-centered design. The intent is to achieve a greater integration of learning experiences.

Use of the broad fields design cuts down on the amount of factual detail often found in subject-centered designs but still allow little integration between the broad ields themselves. The design stresses content coverage and acquisition of information. The school library will be used more extensively than in the subject-centered design and can help reinforce the interrelationships among the subject areas within a broad field of study.

A diagram of this design follows:

The Broad Fields Curriculum Design

Features common to the three subject-centered designs include:

  • Classification and organization of all content into subjects orsubject like groupings.
  • Subjects are clearly defined and distinguished.
  • A hierarchy of subjects is commonly found according to their perceived value.
  • Methodology implied, and practiced, is largely teacher centered and expository in nature.

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