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Curriculum development Curriculum Development can be defined as the systematic planning of what is taught and learned in schools as reflected

in courses of study and school programs. These curricula are embodied in official documents (typically curriculum "guides" for teachers) and made mandatory by provincial and territorial departments of education. KEYWORDS Education The primary focus of a curriculum is on what is to be taught and when, leaving to the teaching profession decisions as to how this should be done. In practice, however, there is no clear distinction between curriculum content and methodology - how a topic is taught often determines what is taught. For this reason, and for others, there is need to distinguish the official or planned curriculum - the formally approved program of study - from the de facto or lived (sometimes called hidden) curriculum - the "lessons" that are actually learned. Many attempts to change education by revising the authorized curriculum have not been successful - mandated innovations are not always implemented extensively or effectively in classrooms. In fact, because of widespread reliance on textbooks as a basic teaching resource, textbooks often constitute the de facto content of the curriculum, thus giving publishers a powerful role in curriculum development. History The history of Canadian curriculum development has been largely a seesaw battle among various ideological camps for control over or, at least, for space within the curriculum. The direction of curriculum change at any given time is a reflection of which of the competing interests from within mainstream educational circles and from outside advocacy groups cultural, economic, intellectual, linguistic, political and religious - have captured the educational agenda. Although "curriculum" as a term seems to have been rarely used in Canada before Confederation, the Jesuit Ratio Studiorium ("plan of studies"), arguably the most systematic course of study ever devised, was introduced in New France in the 1630s. Early FrenchCanadian education was expected to "render children good servants of the King ... and of God." Later in Nova Scotia and Upper Canada, anglophone education had similar goals, expressed in the teaching of Judeo-Christian morality and British patriotism. As a result, when education came under provincial jurisdiction after Confederation, the curriculum was based on common conservative social values. As such, schooling served (and still serves) a cultural imperative to maintain or enhance the distinctive identities of selected groups in the Canadian mosaic. Prior to 1840, schooling in Canada was an informal and intermittent experience, not yet sharply separated from work. It took place in a parent- and church-controlled "system" aimed at teaching basic literacy and religious precepts. In New France, a formal curriculum was available to only an elite minority who were trained for religious and other privileged vocations. Following the British Conquest in 1759-60, church-controlled schooling in Quebec was a primary agent of cultural survival and remained so until 1964, serving to maintain the French language and the Catholic religion. School Promoters In anglophone Canada, survival was linked to fears of Americanization, and to concerns

raised with the arrival during the 1840s of the "famine IRISH" and other dispossessed immigrants. School promoters such as Egerton RYERSON, the founding father of Canadian curriculum development, saw state-controlled schooling as the primary means of assimilating these "alien" elements.

Ryerson, Egerton School promoters such as Egerton Ryerson, the founder of Canadian curriculum development, saw state-controlled schooling as the primary means of assimilating "alien" elements (courtesy PAO/S-2641). Over the next half-century school promoters elsewhere in Canada followed Ryerson's lead by establishing administrative structures that enabled them to sort children into classes and grades, to create a trained, hierarchically organized teaching force, and to devise a common curriculum for their province. This curriculum was implemented through uniform textbooks and was policed through inspection and examinations in a system that aspired to have all children taught to believe, to think and to behave in a similar way (see EDUCATION, HISTORY OF). Over several decades following 1900, this system produced a homogeneous curriculum across anglophone Canada. Curriculum change occurred by accretion during a period of urbanization and industrialization as traditional education was called into question in all Western nations. In Canada, typically cautious adaptation took the form of the "New Education" whereby such innovations as KINDERGARTEN, manual training, domestic science (HOME ECONOMICS), agriculture and "nature study," temperance and health education, PHYSICAL EDUCATION and commercial education were introduced with mixed success. Nevertheless, the schools were given credit for the sharp decline in illiteracy by the 1920s. They were a prime agent of assimilation of the huge numbers of non-Englishspeaking "new Canadians" who thronged into the eastern cities and the Prairies. Anglo-Saxon values infused the curriculum; bilingual education in all "second languages," including French, was virtually eliminated. Progressives During the interwar years further progressive (mainly American) ideas were adopted including new notions of scientific testing, mental health, and administrative structures based on business management models - while the cultural content of the anglophone curriculum remained British. Postwar affluence, the BABY BOOM and unprecedented public demands led to an expansion of schooling at the same time that conservative criticism of the supposed excesses of progressive education created a shift to a more subject-centred curriculum (see SCHOOL SYSTEMS). This shift had been reinforced by 1960 as Canadians followed their American neighbours in demanding greater educational rigour, especially in science and mathematics, in order to "catch up with the Russians." This was to be achieved by teaching the "structure" (basic concepts and unique forms of reasoning) of each discipline by means of inquiry or "discovery" methods, which ironically owed much to the despised progressive

theories. These ideas gained cautious approval in Canada where, typically, a lack of resources forced curriculum developers to rely on British and American innovations. Innovation and Advocacy Groups After 1965 a new permissiveness in the school curriculum was manifested by a relaxation of centralized control, a proliferation of regionally developed courses of study and a revived, but modified, child-centred thrust in elementary education. New knowledge, students' desire for more practical and more relevant schooling, a larger and more diverse school population, and tensions in society resulting from a breakdown of the old social consensus and from a questioning of traditional values, led to demands for innovation. With renewed fears of Americanization, with the rise of Qubec separatism and in response to the demands of First Nations people and other minority groups for equality, curriculum developers moved to establish bilingual, multicultural and native studies programs, while also seeking to counter RACISM and sexism through more balanced and accurate treatment of minorities and women in textbooks. Special curricula were designed for the estimated 1 million exceptional children (see EDUCATION, SPECIAL). Ontario's master list of approved classroom materials increased from 61 titles (1950) to 1648 (1972). Advocacy groups included not only liberal proponents of "values education" but conservative advocates of "values schools." The latter group demanded the inclusion of traditional Christian beliefs, the censorship of curriculum materials, and stricter discipline. A flood of new advocacy groups - federal agencies, human rights, environmental and consumer organizations, foundations, professional associations, labour and business groups and others who saw the school as a proselytizing agency - pressed for changes in the curriculum and directed streams of teaching materials at classrooms. What was most striking about these efforts to influence the curriculum (which continue to the present) is the implied faith both in the potential of curriculum revision to reform classroom practices and, in turn, in the power of schooling to redress social and economic inequities. As the struggle over curriculum became more publicly visible, policymakers were frequently forced to respond in an ad hoc fashion to broad but often fleeting popular concerns. Sometimes demands led to immediate action for which teachers, in the absence of adequate support, training and materials, were often ill-prepared. By 1980 ministries of education were reverting to centralization as demands for "accountability" led to restoration, in most provinces, of previously abandoned province-wide testing. These and other trends revealed a new interest in "scientific" curriculum development, entailing precise statements of "objectives" and the assessment of pupil "behaviours" measured by skill performance in the traditional "three Rs." This emphasis on the "basics" belied the lack of consensus on what constituted basics and on the extent to which emphasis on them had declined in schools. Ironically, in 1976 a unique external study of Canadian education by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) praised the remarkable growth and the high standards of schooling in Canada but criticized the limited place in curriculum of such "frills" as music and art. This heightened interest in accountability was accompanied by a concern for curriculum "implementation," as developers sought to ensure "fidelity to the curriculum" - that programs were taught as prescribed. Increased attention on issues of implementation raised awareness of the teacher's central role in educational change teachers are the "gatekeepers" of what transpires in the classroom.

Throughout the 1980s, teachers demanded more say in shaping the curriculum, refusing to be treated essentially as technicians involved in implementing "top-down" educational policy. The professional autonomy and responsibility of teachers to shape the curriculum became more widely accepted. Recent Trends In the early 1990s, rallying around a call to prepare students for the 21st century, several provinces embarked on large-scale school reform. Clamour about Canada's continued competitiveness in the global economy, fuelled by international studies comparing performance of students from Canada unfavourably to other industrialized countries, and by perceptions of excessively high student drop out rates, was a major impetus for reform efforts. Also significant was a related concern to provide a more equitable, inclusive curriculum by attending seriously to the diversity of students' abilities, interests, orientations and backgrounds. Among other changes, this meant going beyond what often was mere token representation of females and other groups in textbooks to a reshaping of curriculum and instruction to engage these groups. In many provinces students with disabilities were to be integrated into the mainstream. The main curricular developments were on two fronts: establishing sets of common or essential elements that formed the "basics for all," and providing for flexibility so that students might pursue individual interests and ambitions. The new "core" of the curriculum reduced focus on academic study, emphasizing vocational and career-related development, particularly in the areas of technology, mathematics and science, problem solving, critical thinking, literacy and communication. The value of nurturing student self-direction and selfreliance as learners and of accommodating students' need to integrate and make personal sense of their learning changed expectations as to how teachers were to "deliver" the curriculum. The key phrases on the curricular agenda in the 1990s are to make schools more equitable for all the diverse student populations, more successful in preparing future citizens for the work environment, and more accountable to its stakeholders. Author G.S. TOMKINS AND ROLAND CASE