Curriculum Development: Analyzing the concept of Broad Fields Curriculum Design. 


5a iii). Analyze the concept of Broad Fields Curriculum Design

Broad Fields Curriculum Design

Broad-fields curriculum design is generally considered to be expanded version of the idea of fusion. In this approach, two, three or more subjects are unified into one broad-course of study. This organization is actually a system of combining and regrouping subjects that are related in the curriculum into separate broad fields of study.

The broad-fields approach attempts to develop some kind of synthesis or unity for the entire branch of knowledge. It may even involve synthesizing two or more branches of knowledge into new fields. Good examples would be

      1. Ecology
      2. Environment Education
      3. Family Life Education

Activity 19

Which are the related subjects that form separate groupings in the present secondary school syllabus?

No doubt, you are familiar with some of the following groupings that have been attempted in recent years. The present 8:4:4 curriculum contains enough examples of broad-fields organization. You will need to get a copy and just go through it to be familiar

  • Language Arts – (both at primary and secondary school levels). Reading, writing, grammar, literature, speech etc. Kiswahili and foreign languages.
  • Social Science fields – (high school and colleges) history, political science, government, economics anthropology sociology etc.
  • Social Studies – (primary school level)

       a). History, Geography and Civics

       b). Social Education E could also fall under these broad fields

  • General Science – to include natural and physical sciences.

      a). Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Astronomy Physical Geographical

      b). Zoology, Botany, Biology and Physiology

  • Humanities – (both primary and secondary school levels) Art, Music, Design, Literature.
  • Industrial Education –

      a). All vocational courses may be included – Commerce, Typing, Book Keeping,                         Accounts, Office Practice.

     b). All industrial and technical courses may be included – Carpentry, Masonry,                          Plumbing, Metal Work, Engineering etc.

  • Physical education – Health and Safety Education.
  • General mathematics – to be included in this group are – Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry Trigonometry and Calculus.
  • Home Science – all courses which are taken care of in this group may be included – Needlework, Cookery, Nutrition, Home Management, Clothing and Textiles etc.

Advocates of broad fields design believe that the approach would bring about unification and integration of knowledge. However, looking at the trend of events in curriculum practice in this country, this has not materialized. Several reasons could be given for this drawback. Three of them will be discussed here with reference to the present situation in Kenya.

First, teachers trained at the university, and diploma teachers colleges are expected to specialize in two or three subjects taught in secondary schools. A teacher who specialized in history, geography or any other subject finds it difficult to teach in an integrated curriculum.

A good example can be drawn from the teaching of social studies in our schools. Most teachers would be comfortable to teach history and geography as separate subjects on the school timetable. The same problems are experienced in the teaching of general science. Secondly, universities and diploma colleges in this country still return their subject- centred curriculum. Before 1985, candidates for admission to universities and diploma colleges in this country are expected to have studies three or four subjects at form 5 and 6. Aggregate points obtained in the final advanced level examination were then used for selection into university.

Students tended to specialize in their later years of secondary education. Thirdly, the Kenya National Examination Council has in 1985 come up with a unified syllabus to be adapted for integrated studies in schools. All national examinations are still set on subject basis.

Advantage of Broad Fields Design

The advocates of broad-fields design argue that;

  • It is based on separate subjects, so it provides for an orderly and systematic exposure to the cultural heritage.
  • It integrates separate subjects into a single course. This enables learners to see the relationship among various elements in the curriculum.
  • It saves time on the school timetable.
  • Prepares a student for self-reliance and survival skills.

Criticisms of Broad fields Design

Opponents of broad-fields curriculum design claim that;

  1. It lacks depth and cultivates shallowness.
  2. It provides only bits and pieces of information from a variety of subjects.
  3. It does not account for psychological organization by which learning takes place



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