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Curriculum Concepts Nature and Purposes

It is possible, of course, that appropriate responses to real-world challenges can be taught and that informal classroom instruction is the place for that to happen. However, even if that is not possible, it is imperative that such responses be learned. A comprehensive approach to effective interaction and response on the job is essential. In other words, classroom training alone is no substitute for real-world exposure to problem-solving situations. This is relevant to the distinction between instruction and curriculum development, except that in this writer's experience curricular inputs come most often in the form of applying learning experiences, which all have a life of their own, in the field and less often in the form of classroom training. It is not that the classroom or the textbook is irrelevant to police training, only that formal instruction in law enforcement belongs to a different exercise from enacting the enforcement of law.

It is easy to agree that systemic approaches to curriculum and instructional design can improve quality while providing a corrective to problems. What is important to recognize, however, is that the link between systematically addressing learning-related problems in an institutional setting comes at the point of real-world experience of application of formal instruction to the contingent reality of unfolding experience. It cannot be stressed too strongly that the environment in which vocational instruction is actually applied must constantly be referred to.

In that regard, the most effective and manageable systemic structure for vocational education would appear to be the Integrated System for Workforce Education Curricula, or ISWEC (Finch & Crunkilton, 1999, pp. 34-35). That is because there is a clear representation of the need for and utility of worksite learning. To be sure, the foundation of the ISWEC model is on formal classroom instruction, or

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