6.2 Preschool Curriculum:Can you breakdown the Taba’s model of curriculum designing?

6.2 Breakdown the Taba’s model of curriculum designing

Taba’s Model of Curriculum Designing

According to Taba (1962) “A curriculum is essentially a plan of learning” She says that for a curriculum to be more thoughtfully planned and more dynamic it should be orderly designed. Taba proposes that curriculum should be designed according to the following seven steps:

  1. Diagnosis of needs.
  2. Formulation of objectives
  3. Selection of content
  4. Organization of content
  5. Selection of activities/experiences
  6. Organization of learning activities experiences.
  7. Determining what to evaluate and the ways and means of doing it.


Diagnosis of Needs

Diagnosis is a very important part of curriculum development.  It is a process of determining the facts, which needs to be taken into account while making curriculum decisions.  Curriculum has to accommodate different types of learners and this can best be done after determining what the students know, what they can understand, the skills they have and the mental processes, they have already mastered.


Diagnosis of Achievement

Achievement means what has been accomplished or attained.  Diagnosis of achievement is a process of determining the levels of attainment.  The purpose is to determine how well children have achieved the set objectives. The concepts and information they have mastered, their difficulties, attitudes, feelings and interests are all diagnosed.


The diagnostic information is used to establish standards, locate causes of weakness, gauge level of attainment, which is possible, bridge the gap between general needs and particular group and setting up bench arks for evaluation.


Diagnosis of Children as Learners

That is the age, grade, place they live in, sex, level of intelligence, family background, language of communication, interests and level of motivation.


Formulation of Objectives

Taba (1962) says, formulation of clear comprehensive objectives provides an essential platform for the curriculum. Following are the criteria for formulating objectives according to Taba Hilda

  1. A statement of objectives should describe both the kind of behavior expected and the content to which that behavior applies.
  2. Complex objectives should be stated analytically and specifically enough so that there is no doubt as to the kind of behavior excepted.
  3. Objectives are development, representing roads to travel rather than terminal points.
  4. Objectives should be realistic and should include only what can be translated into curriculum and classroom experiences.


Classification of Objectives

Classification of objectives means, grouping of the objectives.  The grouping of objectives permits rational thinking about the objectives and suggests the types of learning experience needed to attain them and the types of education techniques necessary to their adequate appraisal.  The objectives can be classified as follows:

  1. Knowledge objectives
  2. Skills objectives
  3. Attitude objectives
  4. Application objectives


Specification of Objectives

The general course objectives should be well defined and translated into more specific objectives to provide adequate for the curriculum.  The term translation means that the specific objectives should be clearly related to the general or major objectives and that the greater specification of objectives is for the purpose of adjusting the major objectives to the specific content and to the developmental needs of the learners


Consequently, it is absolutely essential to define and translate the above course objectives into more specific objectives.  The course objectives have been defined and then translated into unit objectives which are further translated into chapter objectives.

Selection of Content

After the objectives have been formulated, then the content is selected.  According to Taba, content should be selected according to the following criteria:

  1. Content to be selected should be valid or useful.
  2. Content should be easy to learn.
  3. The content should be appropriate to the needs and interests of children.
  4. The content should be consistent to the social realities.


Organization of the Content

After the selection of the content, it is organized according to the following criteria:

  1. Organize the content from simple to complex.
  2. Organize the content from known to unknown.
  3. Organize the content from whole to part
  4. Provide for a variety of modes of learning for example writing, modeling drawing painting, discussing, experimenting, fields trip etc.


Selection of Learning Activities and Experiences

With the tentative content in hand, begin to select learning activities and experiences.

Select learning activities and experiences according to the following criteria:

  1. Visualize what children need to know, do or experience.
  2. Know the needs and skills of children,
  3. Include a variety of ways of learning of children. For example, reading, writing, observation, doing, discussing and constructing.


Organize the Learning Activities and Experiences

After selecting the learning activities and experiences, organize them according to the following criteria:

  1. Organize them from simple to complex.
  2. Provide for integration of learning activities and experiences.


Determine what to evaluate and the methods of evaluation.

Last, but not the least, you should decide on how will know that the set targets have been achieved and the methods you will use.  The methods may include observation and questioning. Thus, when you are planning and developing a curriculum you will ask yourself series of questions.


Hilda Taba, who worked with Ralph Tyler in various curriculum development projects, did not believe that curriculum should be developed from a top down model. She argues that the basically “deductive” processes of curriculum development done by curriculum specialists reduce the possibilities for creative innovations in curriculum design. Taba developed a five-step sequence for engineering curriculum change, which she calls her methodology of curriculum development. It includes:

  1. Experimental production of pilot units by groups of teachers. In order to do this there are various processes that must be undertaken by the teachers:
    • Diagnosing needs
    • Formulating specific objectives
    • Selecting content
    • Organising content
    • Selecting learning experiences (activities)
    • Organising learning experiences (activities)
    • Evaluating
    • Checking for balance and sequence
  2. Testing of the experimental units in different classrooms and under varied conditions to see their validity and teachability (Taba 1962, p. 458). Now the new units are given to other teachers to use. These teachers will have children in the same classes, but may be from different types of school or regions. This phase could involve peer teaching: The teachers who developed the pilot units could assist the other teachers in using the units by demonstrating use of specific materials and methods and explaining their own experiences and insights which they gained as they developed the units.
  3. Revising and consolidating the curriculum units. Based on the use of the units in the various geographic, socio-economic and culturally different schools, the units are revised so they may be used in all types of schools. Once this generalisation is done, the units are horizontally coordinated; that means the content, objective and learning activities are reviewed for coherence across subjects within a grade level. They are appropriate because it covered curriculum developed across different grade level they are reviewed for coherence within a subject across different grade levels.
  4. Developing a curriculum framework. After a large number of units have been developed and tested by the teachers, the curriculum specialists would review them for overall scope, sequence and coherence. They would look carefully at the consolidated units to ensure that the content and learning activities built from simple to complex with no gaps in the learning. They would also assess whether the units are theoretically sound reflecting knowledge of children’s development and content knowledge of the various subject areas. Finally, they would reflect on their own philosophies and those implied within the units so that there is no conflicting philosophies within the curriculum.
  5. Installation and dissemination of the new units. This process may involve teacher training in in-service workshops or courses, and this reorienting may take up to a full year for all of the teachers to be properly prepared for the new curriculum.


Although there may be problems in implementing aspects of this model of curriculum development, Taba clearly makes a contribution by her emphasis on the close relationship of theory and practice. Her suggestion that the practitioners (teachers) who work with and understand the learners closely be actively and initially involved in the development process is an important point which should not be ignored. It is for that reason that K.I.E and NACECE have teachers participate in the curriculum development workshops.



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