A suitable curriculum [Archives:2009/1226/Education]
Mohammed A. Khoshafah
It usually takes me at least two hours to fetch the right books in the library. I very carefully choose the books that I need for my study and my teaching. Selecting the right books is not easy as some might think. When I want to teach a certain subject, I always ask myself this question: what am I going to teach and what are the materials most suitable for my purpose?
This is a very difficult question for me and for all teachers who are teaching in schools, institutes and universities. In regard to schools, the curricula have already been designed by the ministry of education, but what about universities which don't have a prescribed set of text books and teachers have the responsibility of preparing all the syllabi for the students.
In this context, this article tries to look into some of the criteria that we must take into consideration while preparing curricula for our students. To begin with, we must take into account the age of our students, their needs, their educational levels, their culture, their environment and their sex. We must, at the outset, fulfill the needs of the learner since we, as majored teachers, know their needs more clearly. The needs of Yemeni students in the first grades are not to study topics like 'passive and active, prefixes and suffixes, texts with scientific and literary terms, formal and informal letters'. We know that the learners' basic needs at this stage are to read and write English. They must be able to speak and understand very simple words such as ' book, school, pen, and pencil, and simple sentences such as 'What's your name? How are you? Where are you from? And so on. He should learn simple rhymes, be able to write the letters of the alphabet, numbers and basic words correctly and neatly.
Any curriculum must contain objectives, goals, and aims. These objectives must direct the content that we are going to prepare. The content and aims will control the teaching activities and learning methods. Having decided upon the objectives of the curriculum the learners will be exposed to at this stage, we will need to choose the secondary components for teaching according to the objectives and content. Then evaluation, through its wash back effect, will provide feedback on the suitability of the objectives and content as well as tell us if the aims are fulfilled. According to the performance of students in the final evaluation, we can amend the curriculum, the content, the ways of teaching etc.
As we know, curriculum is not a random activity that can be prepared, taught and evaluated by anyone. Curriculum is an organized school activity. The school controls these activities which are carried out inside and outside the school. Curriculum is a 'planned purposeful activity'. By this curriculum we can communicate with students. Thus, we can't take any book from the library to put it in front of the students to be taught and examined. The educational books are prepared in such a way that the student can follow the contents and understand them. Children's books are so prepared as to attract the attention of school children by their colorful pictures, clear and neat writing style, easy and simple ideas, sequencing of information, direct exercises, etc. A good teacher is not the one who prepares thick materials with difficult content, but he is the one who simplifies the ideas that he is going to teach in terms of his material as well as by his teaching. Let us remember that students come to school to learn the lesson that is comprehensible to them. If they find the lessons dull or incomprehensible, they will ignore us and will not come to us.