CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT:What are some of the varied sociological foundations of a curriculum?



3b iii).  Conceptualize the varied sociological foundations of a curriculum.

Sociological Foundation of Curriculum 

This unit addresses the following areas:

Application of the terms: Curriculum, Education, Schooling and Moral Development the sa

  • How do you describe the rate and direction of change in a social setting?
  • What knowledge is most worthwhile for students of your level? Why?
  • How do curriculum developers organize knowledge?
  • What type of knowledge should students learn to better cope with the future?
  • In what ways can schools and society change the focus or priorities of education in Kenya?
  • Explain in details how you use sociological foundation of curriculum in selecting curriculum content.

Social forces have always had a major influence on schools and in terms of curriculum decisions. Some of these forces originate from the society and others from the local community. Educators are faced with a choice:

  • To accept and mirror the tendencies of times or
  • To appraise and improve the times.

The first view represents a permanent notion of education while the second view represents a reconstructionist notion, which is the way of viewing the choice in terms of traditional against futuristic way of looking at schools.

The latter (futuristic) suggests that the educator can analyze and evaluate the trends taking shape in society. In doing so, they can decide on appropriate aims of curricula and can therefore prepare students for the world of tomorrow by providing them with the type of knowledge, attitudes and skills needed for making wise decisions.

Curriculum workers who merely participate in curriculum decisions play a major role in accomplishing the nationally stated aims, goals and objectives in curriculum content and process.

Sociological foundation of curriculum considers curriculum areas such as:

  • Home, school and society for corporate curriculum development
  • Individual socialization as one of man’s to human rights practice
  • Social implication of knowledge change for change changes the changeless
  • Aims of education as man’s right and his nature of knowledge, attitudes and skills
  • Various reform strategies in education planning and practice
  • Political reforms as a means of fulfilling social change and adjustment

Special considerations for sociological foundation of curriculum are:

    • Society and modal personality in that members of society have a lot in common
    • Gender roles and differences
      • Special sex roles
      • Patrolocalism and Matrolocalism roles
      • Gender Parity and Sensitivity
      • Opportunity Criteria
      • Staffing Criteria
      • Gender Sensitivity

Another special consideration in sociological foundation of curriculum is the Human Task Needs, according to Robert Havighurst, with his six periods of human development:

  • Infancy and Early Childhood
  • Middle Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Early Adulthood
  • Middle Age
  • Late Maturity

There are moral development norms attached to these human task needs.

  • Culture
  • Language
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Interests
  • Standards

Phenix called these needs, moral traditions for curriculum. He calls for a changing and continuing curriculum to cater for:

  • Human Rights
  • Sex and Family Relation Code
  • Social Relationship Within Society
  • Property Rights and Succession
  • Politics and Matters of Justice and Power
  • Change and the curriculum
  • Society as a Change Agent
  • Rate and Direction of Change
  • School as a Source of Change
  • Education for Diversity (Variety)
  • Knowledge as a Source of Change (Worth)
  • New Core-Curriculum (Knowledge and Future Learning)

Main features in sociological foundation of curriculum centre on:

    • Schools and Society
    • Individual Socialization
    • Social Implications of Knowledge Change
    • Aims of Education
    • Various Reform Strategies
    • Political Reforms

Education is a sharp instrument in dealing with sociological foundation of curriculum:

    • Constructive or Destructive Ends
    • Promotion of Human Institutions
    • Type of Society Depends on Type of Education
    • Transmission of Culture (Education System)
      • values
      • Beliefs
      • Norms

Dewey says that Education is the means of perpetuating and improving society through organizing of experiences of learners through environmental and cultural influences.

The cultural roots of curriculum also are important for consideration in the context of curriculum. Experience shows that curriculum is interwoven with the social fabric that sustains it. Every society distinguishes between the curriculum of:

  • Common Education
  • Universal Elements of Culture
  • Curriculum of Special Education.

These phases of curriculum are coupled with the requirements of special groups within the society. When a society passes from a class system, the special education for the upper classes in the earlier phase tends to persist in the later phase, under the guise of common education. The three aspects of cultural roots of curriculum are:

  • Common Education based on cultural universals
  • Special Education related to the specialties of the culture
  • Class Education against common Education.

Which policy does the Kenya society opt for a context of curriculum? How is this done? Consideration in Social Context:

Society and Modal Personality (According to Ruth Benedict)

No culture yet observed has been able to eradicate the differences on temperament of the persons who composed it. However, members of a society have much in common.

  1. Sex Roles and Sex Differences 
  • Specialized Sex Roles
  • Patrolocalism
  • Matrolocalism
  • Gender Issue
  • Staffing Criteria
  • Gender Sensitivity.

     2. Human   Tasks   Needs: Robert Havighurst identified six periods in human                           development:

  • Infancy and Early childhood
  • Middle Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Early Adulthood
  • Middle Age
  • Late Maturity

    3. Needs assessment to fit each period

Moral Development and Sharing of Common Norms:

  • Culture
  • Language
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Interest
  • Standards.

4. Kholberg outlines six developmental types of moral judgments grouped into three moral levels or stages corresponding to Paiget’s cognitive stages of development:

Pre-conventional Level:

  • Children who do as they are told because they fear punishment
  • Children who realize that certain actions bring rewards.

Conventional Level

  • children who seek their parent’s approval by being nice
  • children who begin to think in terms of rules


  • Children who view morality of contractual obligations legally
  • Children who view morality in terms of individual principles of conscience.

Existentialist educators view morality as something beyond cognitive processes.

Phenix outlines five basic moral traditions that encompass society:

  • Human Rights
  • Sex and Family Relations Codes
  • Social Relationship with Society
  • Economic matters – Property Rights and Distribution of Goods and Services
  • Political Matters Dealing with Justice and Power.

    Change and the Curriculum

  • Society as a Source of Change
  • Rate and Direction of Change
  • School as a Source of Change
  • Education for Diversity (Variety)
  • Knowledge as a Source of Change (Worth)

New Core-Curriculum (Knowledge and Future Learning)

  • Knowledge should comprise basic tools
  • Knowledge should facilitate how to learn
  • Knowledge should be applicable to the real world
  • Knowledge should improve the learners’
    • Self concept
    • awareness skills
    • Sense of personal integrity
  • Knowledge should comprise of many forms and methods
  • Knowledge should prepare the individuals for the world of work
  • Knowledge prepares individuals for the world of bureaucracy
  • Knowledge should permit the individual to retrieve (information
  • Knowledge acquisition should be a lifelong process
  • Knowledge should be taught in context with values.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s