Curricula Theorists

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Curricula Theorists

Curricula TheoristsBy Sarah Azevedo

Franklin Bobbitt1876-1956 Franklin Bobbitt's philosophy on curricula was guided by the progressive philosophy of education. Bobbitt emphasized content that included the 'three Rs' at the elementary level, academic subjects at the high school level, and teacher planned subject matter and related activities (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). Bobbitt believed that curriculum was a science that should have an emphasis on student needs. This education should be cost-effective and the curriculum was to prepare students for adult life.

Werrett Charters1875-1952Charter's philosophy on curricula was based on the progressive philosophy due to the fact that he felt that the curriculum should be based on the needs of the students. Charters felt that the content in education should be a subject matter that is related to the objectives and similar to Bobbitt, the 'subject matter and corresponding activities' should be planned by the teacher (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). Like Bobbitt, Charters believed that curriculum was a science and that the emphasis should be on student needs, but he also believed that there should be an emphasis on a needs assessment as well.

William Kilpatrick1871-1965 Kilpatrick's philosophy on curricula was to merge the behaviorist psychology with the progressive philosophy known as the 'Project Method'. Kilpatrick believed that the educational content learned should educate a generalist (general education) and not a specialist in a field (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). His methodology was divided 'into four steps: purposing, planning, executing, and judging' and 'his curriculum projects ranged from classroom projects to school and community projects' (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009).

Harold Rugg1886-1960 Harold Rugg's curricula philosophy was based on the reconstructionism philosophy. This was because he felt the strong urge to have the content based around social studies and the teacher served as the lesson creator. Rugg believed that educational content should be on history, geography, civics, and economics (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). Rugg, unlike Bobbitt and Charter, 'did not believe that curriculum should be based on students' input, needs, or interests' because it would lack direction and logic (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009).

John Goodlad1920-present John Goodlad believed that 'schools should help individuals fulfill their potential but also should promote society's goals' (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). Goodlad's philosophy on curricula followed that of the progressive philosophy. The type of content emphasized by Goodlad was one on 'active learning and critical thinking' (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). This curriculum involved the students in planning the both the curriculum content and instructional activities. Goodlad also felt that the curriculum needed to align the content being taught with the standards and the high-stakes tests students would be taking. The main features of Goodlad's curricula were that it was organized about the needs of the students and society and would serve a wide range of purposes (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009).

Hollis Caswell1901-1989 Like Franklin Bobbitt and Werrett Charters, Hollis Caswell believed in a 'science of curriculum' and followed the progressive philosophy on education (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). The content Caswell emphasized was that the subject matter be 'organized in relation to student needs and interests' and that it be 'developed around social functions and learners' interests' (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). Caswell's ideas on curriculum was to make it to where teachers coordinated 'their instructional activities with subject matter and students' needs and interests (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). He wanted the emphasis to be on improving instruction instead of creating a course of study.

Ralph W. Tyler1902-1994 Ralph W. Tyler drew his philosophy on curricula from various philosophers and philosophies. He followed the beliefs of the progressive philosophy as well as the behaviorists theories lead by such people as John Dewey, Charles Judd, Franklin Bobbitt, and Werrett Charters. Tyler's content empahsized problem solving. He wanted the subject matter to be 'organized in terms of knowledge, skills, and values' (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009). He also felt that even students who were not going to school to specialize in a skill should get a quality education. Tyler believed that the curriculum taught should be evaluated to see 'whether objectives were acheived' and there should be a relationship among the curriculum both vertically and horizontally (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009).

Ornstein, A. C. & Hunkins, F. P. (2009). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues. (5th edition). Boston: Pearson.


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