Curriculum Conceptions Overview:
Ornstein and Hunkins (2013) describe curriculum as a plan for achieving goals and designing what the student experience will be like through the learning process (Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. 2013). As a teacher in post-secondary education, I have always believed that the main goal of a curriculum should be to help students learn how to obtain and hold onto a career job. After completing our readings for conceptions of curriculum (see concept map below) I noticed that curriculum tends to respond to both the needs of society versus the needs of the individual and that it is important not to neglect necessary aspects of the curriculum.
Personal Success versus Commitment to Learning:
I agree with Vallance (1986) that two new concepts should be added that revolve around “personal success” of the students and “commitment to learning” (Vallance, 1986). These concepts of personal success and commitment to learning have become mainstream in response to a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive job market (Vallance 1986). The two concepts should work together, but in the real world, I believe we focus more on personal success and neglect the concept of commitment to learning. In discussions with my colleagues, I have noticed the fact that at the post-secondary level over the past several years, the general student population has increasingly shown an attitude of entitlement, an inability to cope with failure, and arrive ill-prepared for the rigors of further study and work-placement. Life-readiness seems to be an issue here. Showing respect, having resilience, taking responsibility for one's own actions, (which means accepting and learning from failure), knowing how to handle streams of information, among other life-readiness behaviors that fall under the commitment to learning concept are important to keep in mind. This is why we need to include all aspects of curriculum. Excluding just one, such as commitment to learning, can have negative consequences on an individual and society.
In my own teaching practice, there are opportunities to use some of the curriculum concepts to improve my instructional and assessment practices. The “self actualization” (Eisner and Vallance, 1974) or “humanistic” (Cheung, 2000) concepts of curriculum involve having the student reach their full potential and becoming who they want to be (Cheung, 2000; Eisner & Vallance, 1974). To do this, I must get to know my students better and design assignments and assessments that would allow them to express who they are. For my PowerPoint class, this is easy enough as I could have my student design a presentation based around their major life events, aspirations, and ultimately who they want to become at the end of college.