Most of us already have a curriculum of one kind or another, so we are not starting from the beginning. And most curricula need updating or improving from time to time as situations change.
We will use our Interactive Linear Model of Curriculum Design again here. It is really a cycle, which allows us to evaluate our programs and update or improve them from time to time as needed.
EVALUATING OUR PRESENT CURRICULUM IN THE LIGHT OF OUR PRESENT SITUATION
The TEE curriculum you are using at present may or may not have been carefully planned. Perhaps a committee did a great deal of work, and individual writers produced courses to fit your own needs. Or perhaps you have simply used whatever was available or whatever courses someone offered to write or translate. Your courses may be part of a curriculum that was designed by others, and they probably contain lots of good material.
However, you may wish to consider how far your curriculum meets your present needs in your particular context, and whether there are any changes you wish to make, or gaps you need to fill.
QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES
a. Do we believe our present TEE curriculum is meeting the needs of our students, our churches and our communities? How do we know?
b. Are there any events or experiences that suggest there may be important gaps in our present curriculum?
c. Are our graduates living and serving as we would wish? Has our TEE program made a real difference in their lives and ministries?
MORE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
Since we started using our present TEE curriculum:
d. Has our target group changed?
e. Have the needs in our churches or communities changed?
f. Have our program objectives changed?
g. Is the academic level of our courses suitable for most of our students?
h. Do our courses speak sufficiently to our own needs and context, or do they have a foreign ‘feel’?
i. Do our courses help students grow spiritually and develop practical life and ministry skills, as well as giving them information?
j. Do our courses help students develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills?
k. Do our courses help students interpret and use the Bible wisely and transfer its teachings to everyday life?
l. Has anything else significant in our situation changed?
m. Does your curriculum have any ‘open’ spaces to allow individuals or small groups of students to pursue studies of particular benefit to their own needs and calling? (These may be like the Independent Guided Research courses often offered in colleges, or simply choices of assignments within existing courses.)
n. Do we have any general concerns about whether our present curriculum is meeting the needs of our target group/s?
You may wish to add some questions of your own.
Your answers to these questions should help you decide whether your curriculum might benefit from an overhaul.
- If you are satisfied with your present curriculum, or if you believe it is impractical to make any changes at present, you need do no more.
- If you believe you could improve your curriculum, the following steps are suggested:
SUGGESTED STEPS FOR MODIFYING YOUR CURRICULUM
Go to the Basic Curriculum Design Model
1. It is generally most useful to start at the beginning with a careful analysis of your current situation and needs. Undertaking a current survey of church and community needs should prove very helpful.
2. Building on your Situation and Needs Analysis, formulate some overall Objectives for your program. It is important to state your Objectives in terms of what the students will be able to do rather than what the course materials and group leaders will teach.
For the moment, forget about your present courses and write out your Objectives as if you were starting from the beginning.
If you already have some well-formulated Objectives for your program and see no reason to change them, you can use these for the next step.
3. Next, analyse carefully your present courses and their content. Compare these with your newly-stated Objectives. How far do your present courses meet your Objectives? Are there any important gaps, or any changes you need to make? Write these out for discussion with your TEE Committee.
4. What would be the minimum changes you could make to achieve your new Objectives and fill any gaps? E.g.
Could you fill the gaps by adding some lessons to existing courses?
Could you fill the gaps by making some changes to existing courses?
Do you need some new courses? If so, would an imported course fill the gap or will you need a new course written for your own program or for programs in your region?
Remember, ideally, each major cultural area would have at least several courses designed specifically to fit their own needs and context.
5. Decide how these changes can be implemented. It is a good idea to work out a budget and a time frame for completion.
6. Implement the changes and plan after a time to evaluate how well your new curriculum is achieving your objectives.
GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Participants teaching at the same level in the same region may like to begin some preliminary discussions of the above questions as these relate to their own programs. They may also like to suggest additional questions