Schwab believes that other single-theory methods of planning are flawed in three ways (2). He believes they don’t encompass all types of learners, they don’t encompass the irregularities as well as the commonalities of information, and they are incomplete in defining human behavior (3). He argues that as there are competing theories of human behavior any single theory doesn’t examine the full scope of their phenomena, which fully reflects his prior concern regarding the lack of deliberation in regards to the study of human behavior. I disagree with this statement. Most of the psychologists who formed these theories underwent education of other methods and completed extensive research and before they found their own “best alternative” to the situation. Therefore, they followed the scientific method and used deliberation prior to defining their theories.
Just as it is impossible to accept every theory when constructing curriculum, it is also impossible to ignore them altogether. Schwab advises using an “eclectic” approach that considers other theories and selects the most appropriate tenants of them. (4) He maintains that someone trained in this method will be able to understand all aspects of opposing theories as well as their limitations and knit them together in such a way that their weaknesses are mitigated by the strengths of other theories. I agree that this is also an important concept to remember when planning curriculum, as most teachers are not experts in all the various theories. In reality, most teachers may identify with a certain “school” of thought, curriculum approach, or claim to follow a certain program in a particular subject area, they also are quick to sift through them and disregard any aspects that don’t appeal to them. However, they are not trained in all viable options, nor do they always actively seek them out. They do search for alternatives when needed, but typically don’t venture far from their own ideals.
At first I didn’t think I would follow this method at all. I thought it was too scientific and procedural. The use of experts when considering planning to avoid ‘tunnel-vision’ doesn’t seem practical to me. Planning for the best case scenario doesn’t provide a lot of adaptations for student behavior, or differentiated learning. Planning the curriculum with as much extensive deliberation as mentioned is also too impractical for me.
However, as I dug into each point presented to argue the opposite, I found that I was really arguing the same concept but in a less tightly controlled or scientific environment. Because of this new insight, I am far more likely to include more of his methods when planning my curriculum, aside from delving so deeply into the subject contents, and using “psychologists in place of students”(5) when considering my lessons.
1 – Schwab, Joseph. 1970. “The Practical: A Language for Curriculum”. Reprinted in Educ 471 Course Reader. Reading 2.1. Page 6
2- Posner, George J. 1998. “Models of Curriculum Planning.” Reprinted in Educ 471 Course Reader. Reading 2.1. Page 7.
3 – Schwab, Joseph. 1970. “The Practical: A Language for Curriculum”. Reprinted in Educ 471 Course Reader. Reading 2.1. Page 7
4 - Posner, George J. 1998. “Models of Curriculum Planning.” Reprinted in Educ 471 Course Reader. Reading 2.1. Page 8.
5 - Posner, George J. 1998. “Models of Curriculum Planning.” Reprinted in Educ 471 Course Reader. Reading 2.1. Page 8.