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Curriculum Development History

CurriculumDevelopment History


CurriculumDevelopment History

Sincethe introduction of the curriculum as one of the terminologies in theeducation context, it has been used to portray the diverse aspects ofeducation. The term denotes a specific course within the educationsystem (Hargreaves, 2013). On the other hand, the term curriculum isused to denote the entire education system. The perception anddefinition of the term curriculum might differ based on theprevailing systems and policies of education. Nevertheless, thecurriculum is the key aspect of the education process anddevelopment. It has a broader scope that touches almost everyoneinvolved in teaching and learning processes (Wiles,2015).Based on the context of learning, the development of curriculum takesdifferent perspectives. The curriculum development started many yearsago. This study explores the historical development of curriculum inthe education sector (Keating, 2014).

Myriadsof factors have contributed to the variances presently existing inthe curricula in various disciplines. The most important factor isthe historical influences. The historical development of curriculumexhibits the background of the current careers in arts, business, andtechnical fields. The curriculum as used in the current contextprovides the most meaningful perspective of the developing ofeducation and learning processes (Wiles,2015).It evolved over the years from the narrow perspective of thecomprehensive and diverse experiences in the learning processes. Thecommercial education began thousands of years ago. Many of theearlier education structures took the form of apprenticeship. Theearliest recorded form of education that adopted the apprenticeshipwas for the Egyptian scribes that date back in 2000 BC (Hargreaves,2013).

Ataround the same time, governments and other agencies came together toestablish two stages of education that were based more on training.The primary stage of education was all about learning how to read andwrite the classical literature. The apprenticeship program was thesecond stage. In this program, the learners were placed on a trainingunder qualified and knowledgeable individuals who were governmentemployees (Keating, 2014). Therefore, the earliest educationstructure was organized to provide basic knowledge in classrooms andapplied skills in job contexts.

Theapprenticeship system of learning flourished and many earlycivilizations such as Greece, Palestine, and other nations started tofollow the same pattern of the curriculum. In these contexts, theteenagers learned craftworks and trade through close connections withthe experienced artisans and business people (Pinar, 2012). Eventhough apprenticeship rapidly expanded in several skilleddisciplines, the curriculum development relied on training for theactual work context that was characterized by imitation. Thisapprenticeship approach as the main form of the education system andcurriculum structure worked in several countries for a long timeuntil in the beginning of 19th century (Hargreaves, 2013).

Duringthe 16th century, the leaders in various education sectors stronglyconsidered an alternative system to the traditional apprenticeship.Philosophers such as Locke and Comenius created a proposal that wouldinclude the manual arts in the system. On the other hand, SamuelHartlib and other philosophers developed a curriculum that would leadto the establishment of Agriculture College in England (Wiles,2015).The ideas and contribution of the above philosophers and the membersof the Realism Movement made it possible for the introduction ofbusiness subjects and artistic subjects in the learning system. Theage of reasoning acted as the catalyst that facilitating the shiftingaway from the traditional apprenticeship system of learning (Keating,2014).

Theconcerns raised by Rousseau regarding the value and significance ofmanual arts in education and curriculum development were among theissues considered in changing the system. The aspect of manual artswas introduced as a way of enhancing mental training, which markedthe commencement of the new era in the education realm (Keating,2014). The introduction of the Industrial Revolution in the 19thcentury enhanced the decline in the apprenticeship program. Duringthe period, the demand for low-cost/cheap and unskilledlabor/employee could not be achieved through the apprentice systemadopted as the early curriculum. The newly upcoming industries didnot want to accommodate employees with extensive artisan skillslearned during the apprenticeship. Nevertheless, the development ofthe Industrial Revolution made the business owners and managers thatskilled workers would act the real assets to the organizations(Hargreaves, 2013). The increased labor demand corresponded to thedecreased adoption of apprenticeship as the curriculum in theeducation system.

Thesesystems did not clearly define the curriculum development that wouldguide learning in school. The earliest form of a curriculum systemdevelopment is attributed to a Russian known as Victor Della Vos, thethen director of the Imperial Technical School of Moscow. In 1876,Della Vos exhibited a new method of teaching the mechanical arts,which facilitated the career and technical learning in the UnitedStates (Keating, 2014). Instead of learning through the consciousimitation, the new education used business premises where learnerswould get the formal instruction in the mechanical arts. The newsystem tends to develop a curriculum that teaches the fundamentalskills and knowledge of the mechanical arts in the list possibletime. The learning takes place in a manner that makes enableeducators to provide satisfactory instruction to many students at atime (Wiles,2015).

Thenewly developed curriculum used the methods that would give the studyof the practical workshop the learning aspects that encouragesystematic acquisition of knowledge. This would help in determiningthe advancement and learning progression of all students at any timeduring evaluation. Della Vos who established different shops inlearning carpentry, blacksmith and metalwork used the aboveprinciples (Keating, 2014). The students underwent evaluation andgrading through systematic and logical examination methods. CalvinWoodward and John Run adopted the developed system in the UnitedStates education context. They initiated manual training approaches,especially in the Washington University. Later the practical whoseinstruction model was facilitated to meet the emerging needs ofengineering students (Hargreaves, 2013).

Fromthe late 1800s to the early 1900s, agricultural high schools,technical institutes, business and economic schools started tothrive. Many of the courses offered in these learning institutionswere the same in terms of scope with those in modern colleges andcomprehensive secondary schools. Nevertheless, the standards relatedto the programs were either taxed or even absent. The aspect oflearning quality was discussed and managed locally. More often thannot, it did not spread beyond the concern of the individual teacher. This created a sizable amount of inconsistency concerning qualityeducation in these programs throughout the United States (Wiles,2015).

Bythe beginning of the 1900s, a strong public concern about technicallearning and career had grown. With the increasing spread ofIndustrial Revolution throughout the country and in Europe, companiesgrew their demand for skilled workers. Both entrepreneurs and laborleaders expressed this necessity. Rural America started questioningthe importance of traditional education (Hargreaves, 2013). Inaddition, they pursued to have agriculture, which played asignificant role in the school programs. The concerned people did aformal presentation to the federal government through their movementsand organizations. Various groups were in the forefront to ensurethat the federal government supported the curriculum developmentbased on career and technical education (Wiles,2015). However, the decision to secure the provision support by the federalgovernment for creating curricula based on the career and technicallearning faced serious controversies.

TheSmith-Hughes Act and other federal regulations influenced thedevelopment of curriculum based on the public career and technicallearning. The legislations provided funds to be used in ensuringlearners get a high-quality education. On the other hand, the stateand local education agencies took the responsibility of ensuring thatlearning institutions meet certain standards to qualify for the funds(Keating, 2014). Because the legislations specified that thedevelopment of these curricula should under the control of publicsupervision, the standards set for the federal funding influenced thedevelopment of curricula for learning activities based on career andtechnical education. Factors to consider before funding theseprograms include types of courses offered, targeted students, thenature of the schedule, learning facilities obligatory and equipmentamong others. The above factors influenced the planning, developmentand implementation of the curriculum (Hargreaves, 2013).

Inthe early 1960s, societies started to realize that the world wasgradually shifting to a more all-inclusive and global economy. Clearly, these changes in the place of work created a different kindof legislation for technical and career education. The Carl D.Perkins career and technical as well as the 1990 Applied TechnologyEducation Act was created based on the idea that the United Stateswas not at par with other countries in terms of its capability tocompete skillfully in the global context (Keating, 2014). Thecontemporary curriculum may be alleged to be a rudimentary portion ofthe wider area called education (Hargreaves, 2013). Nevertheless,education is seen as a formless term that cannot be described andexplained. In reality, education is a notion that respectivecurriculum developers should define and refine prior to thedevelopment process of the curriculum (Wiles,2015).


Hargreaves,A. (2013). Internationalhandbook of educational change.Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Keating,S. B. (2014). Curriculumdevelopment and evaluation in nursing.Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams &amp Wilkins.

Pinar,W. F. (2012). Internationalhandbook of curriculum research.Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Wiles,J. W. (2015). CurriculumDevelopment, 9th Edition.Retrieved fromhttps://ambassadored.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133527940/.