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Before discussing areas of innovations of the mathematics

curriculum, it is necessary to have a glimpse of the different views of
curriculum in general. In this chapter, recent views of the school
curriculum have been critically discussed and its relevant determinants
drawn out. In the light of this discussion, contemporary issues and
problems in the mathematics curriculum have been elaborated and
analysed in subsequent chapters.

1.1 Towards a Definition

The meaning of 'curriculum' has evolved over time and assumed

different nuances according to the various schools of thought. Below
are some interpretations of the meaning of curriculum, in general.

1.1.1 Layman's view

Formalized education usually takes the shape of courses of study.

Children attend school and pursue a course of studies, the guidelines
of which are usually laid down. Without aforementioned guidelines,
education would be haphazard, and the outcome would be questionable.
In the layman's parlance, curriculum usually means this course of study
- the subjects to be studied and the contents to be purveyed to

1.1.2 Holistic view

Over the last 2 centuries, formalized education has become
indespensable to society. No more is learning at the 'Mother's knee'
or apprenticeship in the father's trade deemed sufficient. The school
has to hand down certain skills to all children. Over and above this,
modem society has placed many of the responsibilities, previously
dealt with in the family, at the school. Instead of being the narrow
dispensgr of skills, the school has the responsibility of developing
the minds and bodies of its pupils. It therefore has to devise the
correct activities while imparting skills, so that its pupils may
benefit totally from their education.
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The school therefore, does not only have to devise the best ways
of imparting certain skills, but consider how the means of doing so
actually affect the activities of its pupils. It also has to consider the
values of certain activities of pupils on their own merit. So, from the
narrow confines of the content as a definition of the curriculum has
evolved a term like 'educational experiences' ( 2.75" ). Curriculum
therefore, is now viewed not only as the content or the subject
matter, but as the concepts to be imparted, the ways and means of
doing so, and the application of the concepts to several aspects of
The curriculum is not only confined to the hallowed campus of the
school. Children's educational experiences are not solely restricted to
their educational experiences in the class-room. However, from the
class-room activities the every day experiences of children are largely
affected. They learn certain ways of reacting socially, of adjusting
themselves to their environment, of judging their experiences logically
and critically, and of forming ethical principles as well as many other
qualities and types of behaviours. Many of these traits are not
instilled consciously in the class-room. Nevertheless, class-room
experiences do affect their transactions with the world, and the
environment becomes their laboratory for testing the truth of much of
what they learn in school. This aspect of learning, though not totally
intended by the school, may also be regarded as part of curriculum,
and is hence termed the 'hidden curriculum'. It may not always be
possible for curriculum developers to take note of this aspect in its
entirety. Nevertheless, it cannot be disregarded all together. In fact,
the hidden curriculum may be utilized to the advantage of the
curriculum in its entirety by attempting to connect the content as far
as possible to children's everyday experiences (76,2.73).
Curriculum, therefore, includes academic content from the
discipline as well as all other educational experiences, both intended
or unintended, that are related to the content. Curriculum then becomes
nothing less than a guideline for initiation into a way of life.
Incidental experiences of children during the course of the curriculum
are almost impossible to envisage in advance and at best depends on
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the foresight of the curriculum planner. Taylor and Richards ( 275)

therefore see the curriculum as the content of Education, the course of
study,, the educational experiences, the subjects to be studies, the
subject matter, and the educational activities. To this may be added
the role of the 'feedback systems', i.e., the diagnostic and
assessment qualities of the curriculum.
Kerr (150) has defined curriculum as all the learning which is
planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups
or individually, inside or outside the school. This definition is all-
encompassing , and takes into account the incidental or unintended
experiences that may be encountered by the pupils during the course
of the curriculum. However, it may pose problems for curriculum
planners, should thay be on the lookout for an origin to a framework for
planning. Rugg's definition of the curriculum (2.35) may be more
suitable for the above purpose '... the entire program of the
school's work .... It is everything that the students and their
teachers do. Thus it is two fold in nature, being made up of the
activities, the things done, and the materials with which they are

1.1.3 Curriculum as a dynamic issue -

the changing face of the curriculum

The very utility of curriculum studies is justified by the fact

that the curriculum is never static. Changing circumstances, changes in
society, technological developments and novel requirements make an
impact on education and forces rethinking and readjustments of the
curriculum. This has been amply demonstrated by Benjamin's satire
'The Saber - Toothed Curriculum' ( 22. ). Renewal is required for
survival and rejuvination. This ever-changing aspect of the curriculum
is demonstrated by its definition as 'the amorphous product of
generations of tinkering' (272). As riders to this definition, are
value laden definitions of curriculum, like that of Lawton's (161) 'the
school curriculum (in a wider sense) is essentially a selection from

the culture of a society, and the Open University's (i4-8) "A curriculum
is the offering of socially valued knowledge, skills and attitudes made
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available to students through a variety of arrangements during the time

they are at school, college or university. The values indicated can
only be that of the particular society at the particular time in which
the curriculum is to be implemented.

1.2 Different views of the curriculum - Classical vs.

Progressive curriculum. Idealists vs. Romanticists

Once the rationale for the total school curriculum is established,

that for the different disciplines within it fall into place. This
rationale is influenced by the views of educationists and their
interpretations of the definition of the curriculum. Traditionalists hold
the classical view of the curriculum i.e., it is subject centred, and is
essentially a tool for incorporating pupils to established ways of
thinking, and handing down to them certain skills and information
regarded as essential by society. Traditionalists, therefore, demand
obedience, conformity and discipline from students. They advocate
competition and the striving for excellence and rationality, as well as
initiation into the established culture of society (162). Phenix (I0)0!)
is an example of a leading classicist. He contends that general
education, encompassing certain aspects of knowledge, is essential for
the curriculum. Hirst ( I2.» ) is another advocate of the classical
curriculum. His seven forms of knowledge are

1. Formal logic and Mathematics.

2. The Physical Sciences.
3. Our awareness and understanding of our
and other people's minds.
4. Moral judgement and awareness
5. Aesthetic experience.
6. Religious.
7. Philosophical.
These forms of knowledge, according to Hirst, may most efficiently
be taught in the traditional subject based time - table of the school.
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In contrast, the Romantic view of the curriculum favours child-

centric education that nurtures creativity, awareness, originality and
freedom, and encourages discovery and the interpretation of experiences
and discovery (162-). This view arose as a result of the upsurge of
psychological and developmental studies, and the demand of the 1960's
to shift focus from elite to mass education (73 ). The Romantic view
point sparked a liberal educational upsurge in the West. Already,
however, an economically hard-hit West is reconsidering this
standpoint. Too much child-centricism as practiced in the U.S.A., for
example, is being blamed for a fall is educational standards.
The Indian curriculum, for practical and cultural reasons, has
veered towards the traditional curriculum. The accent is on obedience
and acquiescence. Iconoclasm and innovations are infrequent. Government
agencies, which are usually the propagators of change, have initiated
child centricism and the play way method in the primary school.
However, in practice, lack of proper implementation and technical
back-up have resulted in half-hearted efforts. Lack of opportunity, in
general, has forestalled risk taking associated with liberal movements,
and education has precipitated to rote-learning of 'hand-me-downs' to a
large extent. As a result, leadership in progressive or novel ideas is
The following queries emerge in the light of the foregoing
discussion : Will rigid adherence to traditional views of the curriculum
create a status quo? Will the resultant equanimity obstruct advancement?
Conversely, will prescribing to a liberal view give too much licence
for child centricism, hence producing a too diluted vision of mass
education? Can a happy medium between the two schools of thought,
viz., liberal and traditional be achieved in the Indian context? Can we
in India, with our limited resources, provide an education that will be
available to all, and can this education nurture future citizens who can
think logically and (at least in some cases) who are creative and can
think with ingenuity?
In the context of mathematics, the answers to the preceding
questions and the solutions to the problems ingrained in them require
intensive consideration by teachers, educators and mathematicians.
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Perhaps a move has to be made to realign the image of the discipline,

implement innovative methods of teaching, overhaul the established
content structure in schools, and so on. Still, there are bound to be a
number of obstacles to change. Will it be possible to overcome these
obstacles and work towards meaningful and beneficial change? The
author hopes to arrive at some of the answers to these questions and
problems at the end of her investigatory work.

1.3 Major areas of curriculum design

In designing a curriculum, the major areas to be considered are -

(a) Formation of aims and objectives

(b) Selection of the content
(c) Methods of instruction, including intended
educational experiences and material development
(d) Evaluation
(e) Dissemination and implementation

1.3.1 Formulation of aims and objectives

This area donotes the purpose of the curriculum - what the

curriculum designers intend that the students will know, and what
changes of behaviour they will undergo by the end of the course.
Generically speaking, aims denote broad goals, while objectives denote
more specific intentions.
Some curriculum planners prefer to specify objectives in great
detail at the start of the curriculum project. They are assisted by the
Taxonomies of objectives,. most popular of which is that of Bloom
( 2.8, 2.9 ). Other notable Taxonomies are Guildford's Structure of
Intellect Model (JI2.), the Gagne-Merril Taxonomy (qz,94-, t75), Gerlach
and Sullivan's Taxonomy (95), De Block's Taxonomy ( 63 ),Krathwohl's
Taxonomy (64-,i5*,i55;t56) etc. ( 6S,I%4-, 3o i ).

Advantages of pre-specifying objectives :

a) They act as a navigational map for curriculum developers.
b) They clarify the intentions of the planner.
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c) They assist in formulating an instructional design.

d) They make known clearly the process of the curriculum during
e) They form the basis of the evaluation process.
f) They give a rational base to the curriculum.
g) They are particularly useful in programmed learning, mastery
learning, individualized learning, etc. (31,54-).

Disadvantages of pre-specifying objectives

a) Education is too complex to be entirely defined by means of

objectives (219).

b) Readily measurable objectives, i.e., behavioural objectives are

stressed (19).
c) More subtle aspects of education will be ignored.
d) Measurement of behavioural objectives may lead to rote learning.
e) Restricts the teacher from interpreting the curriculum critically.
f) Interferes in social power equations.
g) A plethora of highly specific behavioural objectives may result in
a triviality in such objectives. Perhaps a few broad based
objectives are required, but not so broad as to make them vacuus
generalities ( I &%).
h) Teachers and students tend to take objectives as something given
and not to be questioned, and hence autonomy is lost (14-B, 2150.

C.M. James (133), for example, is a strong objector to curriculum

planning with prespecified objectives. She argues that the wholeness of
humans and their learning is lost in trying to see education in discrete
steps and independent units. Means and ends, according to James,
cannot be separate. Instead of knowledge accumulation, she proposes
that the curriculum be more concerned with development of attitudes,
values and experiences. Therefore, she seems to value enquiry and
dialogue over instruction and obedience, and activity over passivity.
Increasingly, this outlook seems to be making sound sense to
mathematics educators.
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Expressive and Instructional Objectives

In answer to the debate on whether objectives should rule

curriculum design, Eisner ( 77 ) made a distinction between expressive
and instructional objectives. Instructional objectives denote behavioural
changes and may be predicted before-hand. Expressive objectives,
however, cannot be predicted. They may be described as educational
encounters and may be unique to the students' interests and
Though expressive objectives have so far, by and large, been
used in Humanities and Social Sciences curricula, they are gradually
being used in mathematics curricula as well. By so doing, the accent
on behavioural obejctives which often reduce the learning of the
discipline to that of fragmented learning of certain skills, is offset.
The in-depth understanding of concepts, interrelationships between
different sub-areas of the discipline, or applicability may subsequently
be stressed, and induction to the discipline that much more complete.
Stressing expressive objectives over and above instructional objectives
may prove to be no mean task for the mathematics curriculum designer.
Yet, proceeding in this direction may yield mathematicians instead of

1.3.2 Content Choice

This is dependent on ideas of what constitutes knowledge, i.e.,
the nature of knowledge. An attempt has been made to delineate some
of these ideas :-

a) Culture and the curriculum :

The curriculum is seen by some as the common cultural heritage
which must be transmitted to the next generation (161). The difficulty
with this idea is that it gives rise to several interpretations of
culture and to two or more cultures - upper class and folk culture.
India has followed the British tradition of conveying the aristocrats'
culture to the milieu. Yet, our tribals and other grassroots sources of
culture are a reality, and this aspect has to be noted in the selection
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of the content of mathematics. Without this consideration, mathematics

in schools will be alien to the masses.
b) The debate on whether the curriculum should transmit the
prevalent culture of the society or attempt to transform that
culture :
If culture must be transformed by society, whose opinion should
prevail ? For example, should education be used to nurture religious
fundamentalism (as has already been observed in 1992 in some Indian
states) or should education nurture integration andequality ? On the
other hand, the problems faced by humanity imply a need for
considered and cautious change of society by attempting to change
certain ways of thinking of the masses. Mathematical topics, for
example, may be selected so that they illumine women's interests. In
this way, the gender bias in the disciplinemay be overcome and
women may be encouraged to think independently about logistic
Another aspect of this issue is that technological change leads to
changes in norms, values, beliefs, customs, etc. Yet there is a time
lag between technological change and changes in norms, customs, etc. A
recognition of rapid social changes and the need for people to be
equipped to cope with it and may be, even to have some control over
it suggests the transformer's role for the curriculum developer. The
curriculum needs not only to acculturise, but to prepare students for
social change and to initiate changes in society. At the same time,
unless the students are taught to think for themselves, intended
acculturisation may become the imposition of an alien and irrelevant
Therefore, as culture comes from a wide spectrum, the selection
of the content for the curriculum has to be eclectic andthoroughly
justified (I 6 2. ). Several topics, influenced by the onslaught of
technology seek to enter the mathematics curriculum. Which of these
topics may best equip the future citizen to cope with tomorrow's world
has to be justified, not only for their utilitarian values, but also
their use as vehicles for independent thinking.

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c) The nature of knowledge :

Opinions about the nature of knowledge influence the selection of

content. Broadly speaking, this refers to the debate between the
rationalists and the empiricists. The former believe in the supremacy
of the intellect over other senses. Knowledge, to them, is acquired
independently by the mind, regardless of information provided by the
senses. Knowledge, to the rationalists, is therefore, permanent,
derived from pure reason, and has nothing to do with human feelings
or passions. Proponents of this way of thinking quote Plato, Descartes
and Kant (lZo,t2.l,\Q1, 198").
Empiricists, beginning with LQcke, take the view that knowledge
cannot be acquired without the senses. To acquire knowledge,
reflection, introspection and interpretation of perceptions is required.
Knowledge, therefore, is hypothetical, transient, and subject to
modification and evolution. This view questions the value of any body
of knowledge or its inclusion in the curriculum. Rather, it encourages
knowledge to be equated with experience. Knowledge, according to this
view, must not be imposed on a child, but the latter must be assisted
to develop his/her own knowledge. This makes knowledge personal and
subjective, and suggests that 'common sense knowledge' should form
the basis of the content of the curriculum. Proponents of this view of
knowledge among others are Dewey, Illich and Friere (67a.,<35,132.).
Till recent times, mathematics has drawn from the rationalist
view, and a halo has formed about the discipline, illuminating the
sanctified permanence of knowledge. Yet, these days, the empiricist
view of mathematics is increasingly gaining ground, especially in school
education. As a result, every child is treated as a mathematician in the
making. Experimental and investigative ways of discovering mathematics
are being encouraged. Moreover, the myth of absolute truth through
mathematics is being exploded in the school room through introduction
of topics such as Probability and Approximation.

d) High and low status disciplines :

The traditional view, stemming from the time of Plato is that the
more the abstraction the higher the status of the discipline. This view
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leads to elitism in education. Opposed to this view is the utilitarian

view. Mathematics has traditionally been viewed as a high status
subject, primarily because of its abstract nature. Students, not able to
grasp the abstraction inherent in the discipline, have fallen by the
wayside. The consequent elitism is not in keeping with the demands of
modem life which requires proficiency and familiarity with
mathematical ideas by all and sundry. School mathematics, therefore,
has to shed its elitism by relating to the average student, and this
probably requires integrating Mathematics with other subjects, i.e.,
breaking down subject barriers. This may help in applications, and in
preventing the feeling of irrelevancy associated with so much of school
Mathematics. However, initiating these changes involve administrational
difficulties, new relationships between teachers and students, new
modes of time tabling, and perhaps novel tacties like team-teaching.
The case against high and low status disciplines has been further
high-lighted by sociologists such as Berger and Luckman ( 2.3 ) v/ho
have proposed that knowledge itself is socially constructed and subject
to different views of reality according to the social class of the
receipient of the knowledge. Whether this is true in the case of
mathematics today is open to question.
Left leaning sociologists like M.F.D. Young ( 3o5") have further
worked along these lines and concluded that all knowledge and even
rationality itself is socially constructed, that subject barriers are
artificial and arbitrary, and are impositions by those in control of
education, and finally, that the content of education, i.e., the
knowledge to be transmitted by schools, cannot be taken for granted,
but that its choice must be made into a problem.

1.3.3 Methods of instruction, including intended educational

experiences and material development Instructional methods

While selecting the content for the curriculum, the curriculum
developer needs to keep in mind the way in which the knowledge is to
be imparted to the learner. This will be a result of considerations
about theories of learning and of instruction as well as about specific
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circumstances for which the curriculum is designed, for example, the

age of the pupils, their social milieu, etc.
Among the different schools of psychology, the theories of learning
that have gained prominence in the past have been that of the
Behaviourists (2>o, i63(262-,3o2) and the Gestaltists (30,14-5,163,22.1,2.93).
Among the cognitivist theories of learning that have gained in
credibility in recent years are Information Processing theories of
learning like that of Gagne (89, <90,43,2.37), Developmental theories like
that of Piaget (10,87,2P3-2.I3,229,2.5o)and Bruner (163,23"?), and Humanistic
theories of learning like that of Maslow (172.) and Rogers ( ).
The theories of learning that bear special relevance to the
teaching of school Mathematics in recent times are developmental
theories like that of Piaget {11 MTo,2<yv)2-ta,215,2.60,26t) and developmental
theories that have been influenced by Piaget, for example like that of
Bruner (33-31), Dienes (68-7t) etc.
The stages of development as expounded by Piaget (83,163,237)show
that children benefit from experiencing knowledge in a concrete manner
before being able to make abstract concepts. Piaget believed that
children learn, by experimenting, questioning, seeking answers
comparing experiences, sharing and cooperating with peers and hence
forming individual 'cognitive frameworks' 036).
Piaget stressed on the child's experience and that too, not
artificially. He also stressed the need for structure in introducing the
child to the learning experience. Herein he felt was the true'
expertise ofthe teacher. Piaget distinguished 'discovery' and
'invention' in learning. Though the two terms are interlinked, it helps
in being conscious of the distinct traits of these two kinds of learning.
Piaget laid great stress in building up the child's autonomy of
thinking, so that he/she is not limited by the teacher's 'right' answer
(136).The child must be made1 a critical judge of experiences. The
teacher's role, therefore, is ; not that of an authority figure who
enforces standards from outside, but one who knows her pupils very
well, and who can maintain the delicate balance between being an
authority figure and encourager of active learning.
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Piaget's influence on Dienes can be seen from Dienes' 'Six stages in

the learning of Mathematics' (/7o).Dienes, while favouring experience
and play also lays stress on presenting structured environments to the
child. The child will proceed from the concrete to the abstract by
being able to generalize from a range of experiences and express this
in symbolic form. Dienes'work (76,7%, ) shows how all mathe­
matical concepts can be internalised by students in this manner.
Bruner was influenced both by cognitive development theories like
that of Piaget and information processing theories of learning. The
acquisition of knowledge, to Bruner, is not a product, but a process,
and the duty of teachers is to ensure that students actually participate
in the process of getting knowledge C$3).
Bruner's theory of instruction consists broadly of 4 parts :-
Predisposition to learn, structure of knowledge, effective sequences,
form and pacing of reinforcement (237). Each part consists of several
sub-parts. Bruner's theory of instruction also states that knowledge
can be represented in the 'enactive', 'iconic' and 'symbolic' forms.
The first form may lead to the second and the second to the third and
final form. Thus, enactive representation may be the first representa­
tion leading ultimately to symbolic (and abstract) understanding of
knowledge. This seems to be the antecedent to Bruner's earlier writing
( 32,3 6 ) where he favoured learning by discovery. Learning, to
Bruner, is motivated by the very job of 'discovering' the treasury of
Bruner's theory of instruction is pertinent to the teaching of
mathematics because it attempts to answer many of the problems faced
by the learner. In particular, for problem solving and enquiry based
lessons, the outline of the tactics involved is almost mapped out -
understand the problem, experiment with specific situations, generalise.
Gagne's theory of instruction ( 9 I ) is based on information processing
theories of learning. It attempts to map out the teacher intervention
process in learning.
Rogers' theory is a Humanistic theory of learning. His terminology
includes 'significant learning' which is knowledge (or 'relationship')
which when acquired may be used for 'growth, and change and
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personal development' (2.32.). Instead of teachers, Rogers calls for

' facilitators of learning', who will not be the familiar authoritarian
figures of the classroom, but equal partners in the acquisition of
knowledge. Students must not be hemmed in by set curricula, but must
learn how to leam. The 'facilitator' is the rescource person, who may
set up an atmostphere for learning and share empathetically the
feelings and thoughts with the learner. In other words Rogers' theory
requires both learner andteacher to be emotionally involved in the
learning process.
Changes in the mathematics classroom place less stress on skills
and rote memory and so relationships in the classroom are less that of
the authoritarian teacher and submissive pupils and more democratic in
nature. The classical view of education is slowly changing to the
romantic view of education, so that less teacher intervention is
preferred. In this light, and with the ongoing stress on problem
solving skills, investigative work, group and individualised learning,
etc., the mathematics classroom bears special relevance to Rogers'
theory of learning. The teacher is fast becoming the facilitator who
needs to take account of her students individually and help them to
understand and internalize Mathematical concepts instead of dinning in
half-understood facts.
The preceding discussion highlights, some of the emerging trends in
instructional methods for teaching mathematics. These include concrete
representation of concepts, activity, experiencing, experimentation, use
of dialogue and contoversy, mathematical modelling, recreational
mathematics, etc. Perhaps this means a complete reorientation of the
teacher-pupil relationship in the mathematics classroom. Material development

Quite often the syllabus or the nearest equivalent to the curriculum

is a loose ensemble of phrases denoting the concepts to be acquired by
the student in order to prepare for a certain examination. So, the
curriculum is often determined by the examination. But how does the
examinee prepare ? By taking recourse to the popular books in the
market that cater. to the particular examination. It is these books
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that give the student, and nearly quite as often the teacher, a guide
to what the curriculum is all about. Text books, therefore, became the
representation of the curiculum and quite often what text book is used
will reflect on the suocess of the new curriculum. Ideally, then, these
text books should be prepared by people who have an inside view of
the curriculum. However, this is usually not the case. Therefore, the
intended curriculum is frequently distorted through the medium of the
book. Over and above this, publishers in the free-market. favour books that
are advantageous to them (as opposed to being educationally beneficial)
and promote these books. Governmental control of textbooks as in
erstwhile East Germany (G.D.R.) means imposition of the opinions of
the bureaucrats and politicians instead of the intentions of the
curriculum developer. Apart from these restrictions, there is the
genuine financial consideration which might restrict publication of
books which could truly depict the curriculum - for e.g. colour plates
or too many tables or diagrams may raise the cost of books. This last
point is particularly applicable to school mathematics textbooks.
Without the necessary illustrations and tables,graphs, etc. they became
dull and intimidating collections of 'sums' for drill and practice.
Apart from textbooks, well thought out teachers'guides may prove
useful in the actual implementation of curricula. Examples of teachers'
guides are those of SMP (U.K.) (J2.G*r).
Many curricula might require material other than textbooks or
teachers guides. These have to be made with an eye on finances.
Nowadays, different equipment for teaching mathematics are commercially
available. However, the most convenient apparatus are those that can
be locally made (like little 1 cm by 1 cm by 1 cm cubes to teach
volume), or better still, made by the teacher and/or the students (for
e.g. dice). Whatever the apparatus, the curriculum designer has to
keep in mind that these must be simple, easy to manipulate, and
easily and cheaply available.

1.3.4. Evaluation of the curriculum What curriculum evaluation means
This area of curriculum development deals with validation of the
curriculum, i.e. whether it has achieved its 'stated intents' (24-8).
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Sanders (T.'iS) defines curriculum evaluation as thB 'process of studying

the merit or worth of some aspect, or the whole, of a curriculum.
Cooper's (53 ) definition of evaluation is broader : 'Curriculum
evaluation is the collection and provision of evidence, on the basis of
which decisions can be taken about the feasibility, effectiveness and
educational value of curriculum. In other words, 'curriculum evaluation'
may indicate evaluation of the product of the curriculum or evaluation
of the programme of the curriculum itself ( 4- ). The former evaluates
textbooks, syllabuses, the actual course of study, etc. Curriculum
programme evaluation does not evaluate the curriculum itself, but how
the curriculum works in its broader context, i.e. as part of an
established instructional setting. Therefore, curriculum evaluation may
focus on several aspects of the programme: student needs and rate of
progress, teacher effectiveness, changes in learning attitudes, the
learning environment, resource usage, etc.
Lewy ( 16 7 ) has identified six issues / stages in curriculum
evaluation :
(1) the developmental stage of the programme
(2) the entity to be evaluated
(3) criteria
(4) data type
(5) mode of data summary and
(6) role Roles played by curriculum evaluation

Obviously, the role played by the curriculum evaluation programme
is dependent on the state of the curriculum development programme.
Lewy (16 7) has identified the different roles played by evaluation
programmes according to the stage of development of the curriculum
programme. At the initial stage of the curriculum programme, general
aims are determined. The evaluation programme can assist at this stage
by assessing the expected changes, cultural valued, social forces,
present level of achievement, and feasibility of programmes. At the
tryout stage of the curriculum development programme, evaluatory
studies can assist by collecting, evidence by observing, judging,
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discussing with teachers and students, etc. On the basis of these

evaluations, the curriculum programme may be modified in successive
stages of development. Different types of evaluation

Evaluation may take place at different stages of the curriculum
development programme, and may focus on different aspects of the
curriculum. Different types of evaluation are therefore necessary, and
their use depends on the judgement and inclinations of the evaluator.
Among the different types of evaluation that may be carried out are
formative evaluation, summative evaluation, and new wave evaluation, e.g.,
illuminative evaluation, democratic evaluation C29 8,
Formative evaluation is carried out during the course of the
curriculum development programme with a view to clarifying and
adjusting the curriculum programme or the materials produced by the
curriculum project. It is 'a part of making a curriculum' (296).
Formative evaluation is, therefore, a necessity throughout the tenure of
the curriculum development project.
Summative evaluation is carried out on the completed curriculum
project, usually by potential users who want to decide which curriculum
to elect, or whether a certain curriculum will suit their purpose. The
method employed for this is usually the biological model, ' where
experimental groups of pupils use the project's materials and teaching
methods, whereas controlled groups of pupils are subjected to
traditional materials and teaching methods. The two types of groups
are subsequently tested and the results compared. However, this
method quite often does not yield significant results. Also, the project
material is often radical, and so does not have a comparable
counterpart in the existing syllabuses. In any case, the merit of the
curriculum, as judged by summative evaluation, is subject to the needs
of the user C298).
Illuminative evaluation is a result of the increasing realisation of
the necessity to place more emphasis on the context of the curriculum
and the learning situation than on measurable aspects of evaluation and
psychometric methods so common as in the biological model mentioned
: 25 :

earlier. The task of the illuminative evaluator is to take note of the

complex situation in which the curriculum project takes place, and
thence to identify causes for certain situations or happenings and their
effects, and to find out the different relationships and patterns
between various aspects of the curriculum from different participants of
the curriculum process (194). In order to undertake this complex task,
the evaluator takes recourse to several strategies and procedures,
which may include psychometric methods. The evaluator, therefore,
strives to illuminate aspects of the curriculum rather than only measure
whatever can be measured. For this he/she adopts the 'Social
Anthropological Paradigm'
Though this method of evaluation has been criticized for lack of
organized methodology ( I “b*r ), Parlett ( I 9 5 ) has argued against
overemphasis on measurability, and even suggested ways in which the
criticisms against qualitative contextual analysis of data may be
circumvented. Bryman ( 4-1 ) too, has suggested ways in which
qualitative and quantitative research can together give a general
picture of the subject of research.
Qualitative (or illuminative) curriculum evaluation can also be
termed as 'educational criticism' (2.97). According to Willis (197) the
empiricist and naturalistic forms of enquiry required for qualitative
evaluation can be of case study format and can incorporate four phases
of criticism.: observation, description, interpretation, and appraisal.
Willis emphasises that in carrying out qualitative evaluation, a total
evaluation of the curriculum programme is possible by taking account of
its total context. Hence, reflection about the causes, effects, etc.
about the curriculum is possible. However in carrying out this subtle
form of evaluation, Willis does not disregard the role of ennumeration.
According to Willis, one of the main advantages of qualitative evaluation
is that it can be carried out by almost anybody who cares - teachers,
students, etc.

Case-Study method of evaluation - is a non-traditional method of

evaluation. It is essentially qualitative-contextual in nature, though it
does not preclude quantitative measurements. Adelman, Jenkins and
: 26 :

Kemmis ( I ) have listed some of the advantages of case-studies :

Case-studies are based on direct experience, and therefore

credible, though difficult to organize. Their credibility base gives a
natural basis to 'generalisations'.

Case-studies handle the complexities of the situation, and give a

subtle picture offering alternative interpretations.

Case-studies form a bank of descriptive material that may give

opportunities for alternative interpretations at a later date or to
different evaluators or for different purposes.

Case-studies orginate from the 'action' and so are capable of a

variety of uses as feedback, for example, for administrative purposes *
improvement of teacher efficiency, information about socio-economic
status of students etc.

Case-studies, though often lengthy, contain information more

accessible to people and so contribute to the democratisation of the
curriculum process.

The case-study method of evaluation is therefore interpretative and

subjective and suggests 'participant observation' C^l,,

Democratic evaluation is another version of a 'new-wave' evaluation

technique. Like illuminative evaluation it is also based on social
anthropological models. It emphasises participation and right to
information of other parties apart from the sponsors of the curriculum
development programme about the evaluation process.
Apart from the above mentioned techniques of evaluation, other
techniques are often applied as per necessity.- One of. these is
longitudinal evaluation, by which the curriculum is evaluated over a
period of time to judge its effects on students and on education, in
general, and to propose changes where necessary.
: 27 : Illuminative evaluation for the mathematics curriculum

In the case of m athematics, it often seems an attractive and easy

proposition to evaluate in a manner that is totally dependant on
measurements of stated objectives. Yet, the way in which certain
concepts may be imbued by pupils may be of greater interest to the
curriculum developer than the actual skill learning of those concepts.
For this reason, and others, illuminative evaluation, preferably by
means of case studies may prove to be more effective than the analysis
of test scores alone. Collecting data for qualitative evaluation, however,
may prove to be difficult to procure. It may involve observing classes,
talking to individual students, teachers, and even parents, as well as
going through pupils'written work very carefully (66,76).

1.3.5. Dissemination and implementation

When a curriculum has been developed to stated intent, it is

sought to distribute or propagate it among potential users. This
distribution or propagation of the new curriculum is referred to as
dissemination. Dissemination is often affected in stages, starting from
pilot studies and gradually increasing the range to include the
anticipated clientele. However, dissemination without adequate
implementation may result in faulty adaptation of the new curriculum,
and hence cause unwarranted dissatisfaction. To implement, therefore,
is to see that the new curriculum is adopted according to the
guidelines and ethos of the curriculum development project. It is like
'after sales' service (IT.7). Strategies of dissemination

Dissemination and implementation of a curriculum is often dependent

on the managing style of the curriculum project or the educational
system for which the innovation is intended. For example, the
curriculum can be determined and or developed at the centre and then
transmitted by channels to the periphery. This is usually the case
when the curriculum is centrally controlled or the government supports
the curriculum development project and mandates its use. This is
: 28 :

termed as a 'power-coercive' strategy. 'Modem Maths' was introduced

to France and FDR (VI. Germany) in this way. By the term 'centre'
here, is meant the origin of the power of fiat. It can be the national,
state or local government, for example O'2-"*)*
Another instance of development and dissemination can be seen
when a curriculum is developed at the periphery, and then transmitted
toother users through the centre. This is usually the case when
teacher-made materials are put into a central collection bank and
managed by a curriculum development centre. Examples of this type of
dissemination can be seen in the case of IMU (IT^).
A third form ofdissemination may be seen in cases where
curricula are developed outside the educational system and then spread
through the system via the centre from points on the periphery.
Experts in the discipline prepare materials which are then made
available to teachers.
De-centralized systems like in the U.K. often develop curricula at
the periphery, and these are then gradually disseminated from the
periphery. This happens when the status of the teacher includes that
of decision-maker, and so teachers in these systems are expected to
take on the role of innovators.
Other de-centralized systems may develop curricula at the centre
for possible emulation by individual schools.
Apart from power coercive strategies employed by disseminaters is
the use of emotive pressure on teachers. For example, using phrases
like 'If you care for the pupils you would adopt the new innovations'.
In centrally controlled educational systems, innovations are often
encouraged by advertising a higher pass rate for the new syllabus in
the public examinations; or, teachers teaching the innovative syllabii
are given higher pay.
The 'rational-empirical' ( 12.7 ) strategy for dissemination is to
demonstrate the educational benefits following the adoption of the
innovations. This is possible usually in de-centralized systems of
education. An example of a project following this mode of implemen­
tation is I.M.U. (Mdividualiserad Matematik Undervisning, Sweden).
: 29 :

The re-educative strategy ( 12.7 ) of dissemination is generally

associated when in-service training is closely associated with the
curriculum development project (as in case of the strategy adopted by
the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in U.K.). It involves
attempting to change the attitude, skills, and values of those within
the educational system, so that they may be favourably disposed
towards the objectives of the innovation. Indian Context

In India, curricula in the main are devised and implemented by
centralized national and State boards of education. Grassroots retros­
pections about the curriculum and initiation of reforms are therefore
minimal. Therefore development of curricula at the periphery is not
Rigid hierarchies, massive population and far-reaching areas often
make implementation of new curricula a nonreality. In-service training
is hardly forthcoming, and paucity of funds limit the use of specialized
apparatus. Intentions behind innovations are remote from the average
school/college and teacher. Innovations, therefore, whenever
accomplished (not always in the true sense) are through dicta from the
powers that be. This is not to conclude that centralized systems of
curriculum development are always defective'( 12.7 ). The most obvious
benefit of centralized systems is uniformity of methods and standards,
and the pooling of scarce resources , (usually through Government
patronage) for maximum efficiency.
Implementational difficulties are sought to be alleviated by
different Government agencies. The NCERT publishes material on
innovative course work, while the U.G.C. is sponsoring refresher
courses for practising teachers.
The Central Committee of the Government has recently recommended
decentralizing the 'process of curriculum formulation and preparation of
text books', supervised only at the local level, so that teachers can
have the opportunity to develop curricula that are best suited to the
local circumstances and needs (2.77).
: 30 :

In the case of mathematics, curricula that is tailor-made to the

abilities, interests and resources of children in a particular school can
be the ideal. It would mean that teachers participate actively in the
curriculum process and hence bear the true brunt of being professionals.
At the same time, with scare resources, total abdication of control may
spell mayhem.

1.4 Designs for curriculum change

The order in which the different areas of a curriculum develop­
ment project may be tackled is decided by means of curriculum models.
These models indicate plans for curriculum designs. The optimum model
to be adopted depends on the circumstances and purposes of the
curriculum, as well as the inclination of the curriculum developer. The
older idea of the curriculum may be illustrated by the following model :

Teacher ------------ ->-j Pupil (162.)
One of the earliest models of curriculum planning is that- of
Tyler's (%!&)',-

(Arrows indicate the order in which the areas are to be developed-).

: 31 :
Wheeler's model develops from the above ( 1^1 )

1. Aims, goals and 2. Selection of

objectives learning experiences
5. Evaluation
4. Organisation and ‘
integration of learn­
3. Selection of

ing experiences and


Both models preempt the need to make clear-cut objectives at the

outset of the curriculum project, so that students and teachers may
know what exactly is required of them, and that evaluation may take
place likewise. The cyclical order of the arrows indicates scope for
readjustment of objectives following evaluation.
Criticisms about the above models :-

Predominance given to formation of exact objectives leading to noting

behavioural objectives which can be readily observed and measured, to
the exclusion of other objectives (like affective objectives).

The validity of the initial set of objectives is taken for granted.

Continuous interaction of the different areas of the curriculum process

is ignored.

' Ends1 are decided before deciding on the ' means'. It is as if the
models are removed from the complexities that make up the real life
school situation.

Restriction of teacher flexibility.

Make education fragmentary and encourage rote learning (i4-8,'2.4-c?/n5).

: 32 :

Leaving evaluation until the final stage of the curriculum process is

rather like doing military intelligence after the war is over - in
other words, evaluation should take place at every stage (162.).
The criticisms encountered by the above models were sought to be
countered by more recent models like that of Kerr (f 50 ).

A Mode! for Curriculum Theory

This model strives to formulate objectives, and at the same time

relate the different areas of curriculum development, and take note of
the external and internal forces that affect the curriculum.
The three models discussed above, viz., that of Tyler, Wheeler
and Kerr give pre-eminence to the formulation of objectives. These
models are basically meant for the " research —^ development --^
diffusion"design of curriculum. Yet, later developments show a tendency
: 33 :

to veer away from models of the whole process of the curriculum to

concentrate on its diffusion and acceptance. This is because, no matter
how good an idea is, it has to be made acceptable to the clients, who
are mainly the teachers. Therefore, a combination of a 'social
interaction' model and a 'problem-solving' model which involves
teachers and educational administrators in a more active way and
tackles the problem of overcoming individual and group resistance to
change is often proposed (2.75). This type of model may be tactfully
utilized in bringing change in sensitive areas of the curriculum or in
backward areas of the country.
Stenhouse's 'process model' of the curriculum (267), while not
rejecting the objectives model altogether, stresses on specifying
content and principles of procedure. Content, according to this model,
is to be selected on the grounds that it represents a particular form
of knowledge which is intrinsically worthwhile, or that it reflects key
concepts and criteria inherent in a field of knowledge. Teaching
methods, consistent with the principles, concepts and criteria of the
discipline are to be devised, so that the pupil may be inducted into
the knowledge of the discipline, and know it from the 'inside'. The
end-product of this process cannot be specified, but can be evaluated
after the event by the criteria built into it.
Stexihouse claimed that this model was not appropriate for areas
of the curriculum centering on knowledge and understanding and
demonstrated its usefulness in the Humanities Curriculum Project (268).
Though allowing for limited use of the objectives model, this design of
curriculum development proved to be close to teachers' concerns, and
at the same time, not presuppose any form of linear treatment of its
components as in Tyler's and Wheeler's models. However, it did come
under a number of criticisms, viz., lack of planning, difficulty in
assessing pupils, problems of teacher competence (because teachers
needed to have a deep understanding of the subject), demanding on the
teacher and therefore difficult to implement (2.75).
The 'process model' may partially be used in the field of
mathematics. Arriving at relations between different mathematical
topics, realizing the structure of a certain field, arriving at
: 34 :

mathematical formulae by inducting from real-life situations, for

example, may require persuation of the process model. In other words,
the mathematical way of thinking may be induced by the 'process
model'. However, to understand mathematics, students need a certain
amount of deftness in handling concepts learnt. For this the objectives
model may not be abandoned altogether.
The situational model was developedby Lawton and Skilbeck.
Lawton's idea is illustrated in [162. ). It acknowledges curriculum
as a drivative of cultural values and circumstantial concern. Lawton
and Skilbeck's model has five major components :-

(a) Situational analysis;- external factors - social changes, ideological

shifts, parental and community expectations, changing nature of
subject/discipline, teacher support like colleges and universities
Internal factors - pupils and their attributes, teachers and their
knowledge, skills, interests, etc. Also, school ethos, political
structure, materials, resources, felt problems, etc.

(b) Goal formulation;- embracing teacher and pupil actions (not

necessarily behavioural).

(c) Programme building ; - selection and sequencing of content and

experiences, staff, choice of supplementary material, media, etc.

(dj Interpretation and implementation -

(e) Monitoring, assessment, feedback and reconstruction -

This is a wide concept of evaluation.

Advantages of the situational model are :-

* A comprehensive model, encompassing the process model and

objective model - depending on which aspects of the curriculum
are being designed.
* Flexible, adaptable, open to interpretation in the light of
changing circumstances.
: 35 :

* Does not presuppose linear progression of components.

* Forces the curriculum developer to consider the context and link
decisions to wider social considerations.

1.4.1. Some other models

Several views of the process of curricular reform are held. Some

of them have been mentioned above. Yet other views have been given
precisely in diagramatic form





: 316 :

(f) Subject

Child ( |q )

(g) Committees


( 2.7 )



The above figures show the interactions with the different factors
influencing innovations in the curriculum and curriculum development.
They require to be kept in mind whilst initiating pragmatic and
effective changes in the curriculum.
: 37 :

1.4.2 The mathematical context

When considering a model for curriculum development in

mathematics, the objectives model presents an easy option. Yet, with
increased awareness about the importance of understanding, applicability,
problem-solving and enjoyment in learning mathematics over and above
skill learning and knowledge accumulation, the importance of adopting
some sort of process model is often desired. Also, awareness of the
differences between different populations and increased teacher
professionalism is culminating in grass-roots and peripheral origins of
curriculum development, which in turn, are taking up the situational
model of curriculum design. Perhaps the latter may be only a realization
and realistic reaction to curriculum design. All the same, clear thinking
is desirable, and if this means chalking out objectives at the start of
the project, so be it - so long as these objectives are not allowed to
dominate the entire process creating inflexibility, or allowed to fritter
down to trivialities realized through hackneyed questions and answers
and subsequent rote learning.