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4.3 TEACHER CENTERED CURRICULUM DESIGN

According to the theory underpinning this design, learning occurs by the transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the student. Therefore, the role of the teacher is to control the learning process by making decisions about what information to transmit and how to sequence it.

The role of the student is to acquire the information and demonstrate adequate knowledge acquisition. Predictably, activities in a teacher-centered design will include presentations, lectures, and tests of knowledge.

The underlying concept of the teacher-centered approach is based on traditional pedagogy wherein knowledge is passed from teacher to children. There is primarily one-way movement of sharing knowledge and leaning contents from teacher to children; subjects, standards and methods are determined by the teacher.

The major aim of this approach is to transmit values, attitudes and ideas from teacher to children. It is demanded that children master what is in books and in teachers’ lectures. In other words, this teacher-centered approach emphasizes competency-based learning and stresses that children accomplish the goals set by their teachers (Husen, 1985).

Because teachers must be in control of the learning process, systematic, planned instructional design is very important and teaching techniques are stressed. Consequently, the curriculum is clearly divided into small components.

The teacher-centered approach is related to the transmission position in Miller’s curriculum framework. Miller presented three curriculum positions:

  • Transmission
  • Transaction
  • Transformation.

In these positions, the transmission position focuses on mastering traditional subject matter and acquiring basic skills. The teacher promotes education through the transmission of facts and values in competency- based teaching.

In the teaching process, the teacher tries to inculcate general knowledge of traditional school subjects and cultural mores. Children’s mastery of content is stressed.

In this teaching methodology;

  • Teacher’s lectures and textbooks are used as the majorinstructional tools.
  • The teachers’ roles are fixed within a hierarchical system, so that the communication mode is top down.
  • Teacher’s professional development is focused on the transmission of information.
  • Standardized, multiple choice, true-false, and comprehension tests are used for evaluation (Miller and Seller, 1985).

The transmission position is philosophically rooted in Atomism, the Greek view that the universe is composed of isolated portions. Thus, it stresses segmentation and reduction into small separate units. Its psychological perspective is based on behaviorism which focuses on behavior, not on individual minds.

Huck and Kuhn (1968) presented a teacher-centered approach in their curriculum in Children’s Literature in the Elementary School. The function of this curriculum is to transmit facts, skills, and values through mastering knowledge.

The curriculum focuses on learning the correct interpretation and understanding, and identifying a central theme and the author’s intent. The teacher determines all teaching content and children are just the receivers of knowledge. This curriculum reduces the content into small components that are clearly definable and measurable.

Huck and Kuhn insist that the most appropriate approach in a curriculum

for literature needs “to identify purposes, to suggest materials
and methods, and to establish scope and sequence”. The purpose of Huck and Kuhn’s curriculum is to inculcate knowledge in children such as literacy skills and literary criticism through using textbooks.

They emphasize the importance of understanding teachers’ lectures and the contents of textbooks in order to master literacy skills and literary appreciation. In accordance with this purpose, they clearly define the curriculum into small components.

In literature appreciation, for example, they divide the components into plot, climax, theme, point and author’s intent and indicate how to appreciate the literature.

They illustrate how “such a planned program of teaching literature in the elementary school will assure children the opportunity of getting to know books and developing an understanding of literature”.

The teacher-centered design is the most frequently used at the university and college levels, including teacher education institutions (Tharp and Gallimore, 1988).

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