Curriculum implementation could be described as the ways and means by which the designed program is being translated at the classroom level.
The procedure by which this is done in most countries, especially developing ones, has not been in line with what curriculum experts envisage.
For example, there are two stages of curriculum implementation – The pilot or Trial testing stage and the total implementation or installation stage. In developing countries, the Pilot Stage is omitted for one or all of the following reasons:
- Government’s insensitiveness to the need to trial-test the curriculum
- Financial constraints
- Lack of experts
- 1 Research
- 2 Developing Units and Textual Materials
- 3 Diagnosing needs
- 4 Formulating specific objectives
- 5 Selective the content
- 6 Organizing the content
- 7 Selecting learning experiences
- 8 Organizing learning experiences
- 9 Evaluating
- 10 Checking for balance and sequence
- 11 Making Necessary Facilities, Infrastructure, and Equipment Available
- 12 Training of Teachers
- 13 Planning Evaluation Strategy for the Program
- 14 Textual materials
- 15 Facilities and equipment
- 16 The learner
- 17 The teacher
- 18 Administrative problems
Taba (1925) highlighting the importance of this stage said, “Those responsible for generating theories of curriculum development omit a very important step.
That of creating models for the ways of translating theoretical ideas into functioning curriculum testing these ideas into classroom experiments.”
When pilot testing is omitted for a particular program, then it results to, in most cases not achieving the intended objectives. Bajah (1978) pointed out that Nigeria integrated Science project was introduced into the schools without trial testing.
This therefore could be one of the trial tests the recommended method of teaching is not employed for the subject (Odebunmi, 1981, 1986; Jegede, 1982).
Wheeler (1975) highlighting the importance of trial testing the curriculum, pointed out how two major American studies have shown that it is necessary to parallel the development of new conceptual schemes through creative experiments within the school and class.
It is necessary to trial-test a program before total implementation. Failure to do this may lead to the total collapse of the curriculum package at the implementation level.
Therefore, “the development of the pilot units designed for known groups of students and tangible circumstances has to form an important part of science curriculum development (Taba, 1962).
Thus, it could be inferred that the failure of most of the curricula within the Nigerian 6-3-3-4 educational system is a result of not trial-testing them before total implementation
For curriculum implementation to be successful at both pilot and installing stages, the following should have been adequately developed or made available.
- Learning units and textual materials
- infrastructure, facilities, and equipment
- Evaluation strategy for the program, especially at the pilot stage.
Developing Units and Textual Materials
For curriculum implementation, the first task to be faced is that of developing units of study that can metamorphose into textual material.
The following steps for planning a unit recommended by Taba (1962) could be regarded as adequate.
Here the curriculum developer identifies the problems, difficulties, and conditions of individuals for whom and the society for which the units of the curriculum are being developed.
Formulating specific objectives
Objectives formulated should contain materials from each of the following: concepts or ideas to be learned, attitudes, feelings, and other emotional dispositions that could be developed, thinking mode to be reinforced, strengthened, or, initiated and skills and processes to be acquired.
Selective the content
In developing a unit, the first task is of writing out topics. These represent the selection of basic ideas. The ideas should be valid, significant, and learnable.
Once the basic ideas have been selected, the next thing is to select the content around the ideas or themes.
Organizing the content
Here, the contents should be arranged in a logical and sequential order. The content should be organized so that learning will move from known to unknown, simple to complex, or easy to difficult.
Selecting learning experiences
This is the selection of learning activities at the classroom level.
Organizing learning experiences
Learning activities should be organized in sequential order of introduction.
The evaluation of the units is based on stated objectives. However, a continuous assessment built into the instruction procedures could be better.
Checking for balance and sequence
After completing the entire outline for a unit, the next thing is to check for the balance. Such questions as: Are topics or key ideas logically or sequentially arranged?
Is there a balance between depth and breadth? Development of the units will normally lead to the writing of textual materials for curriculum implementation.
Here, it ought to be decided whether the textual materials will consist of any of the following: pupils/students’ text, pupils/students’ workbook, laboratory manuals, and teachers’ guide.
Making Necessary Facilities, Infrastructure, and Equipment Available
The curriculum cannot be adequately implemented without the availability of necessary infrastructures, facilities, and equipment.
For instance, if curricula are developed for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or Integrated Science, it is necessary to provide laboratory facilities and equipment needed for implementation. Failure to do this could lead to non-achievements of the intended objectives.
This is also true for the implementation of any curriculum.
The Nigerian experience of 1982 when the Federal Government announced that all States should start implementing the school curriculum of the 6-3-3-4 system at the secondary school level without necessary provision in terms of men, materials and money showed a way of implementing the curriculum out of ignorance for curriculum planning and development.
Perhaps, stepwise implementation of the program should have been better started with some pilots schools and increased the number of the school for total implementation depending on the financial resources available.
Training of Teachers
No matter the number of pupils – infrastructural facilities and equipment – in a program, such is bound to fail if teachers in quality and quantity are not trained for the implementation of the program.
Therefore, to achieve the intended objectives, teachers to implement the curriculum at the classroom level should be appropriately and adequately trained.
For example, one of the major reasons affecting the implementation of Integrated Science and Social Studies in schools is that of teaching staff, in most cases teachers of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Home Economics, or Physical and Health Education are made to teach the subjects.
Also, teachers of History, Bible Knowledge, Islamic Studies, Economics, or Geography are made to teach Social Studies.
Planning Evaluation Strategy for the Program
Once a curriculum has been developed, strategies for evaluating it during the implementation period should be planned.
The trial runs of any program should continuously be accompanied by evaluation to make sure that the intended objectives are achieved some of the areas that can be evaluated included the following:
Adequacy of content coverage and depth readability indices, mode of content presentation
Facilities and equipment
Provision and utilization of the facilities and equipment
His cognitive, affective, and psychomotor achievements in terms of the curriculum he had been exposed to
His competency for and disposition towards the subject. analysis of the method of teaching being employed
Instruments to be used to evaluate the above within the implemented curriculum should be constructed. It is when all the instruments are already in place the evaluation of the program can commence.
Admittedly, there could be a need to construct new instruments as a result of current information, especially when the evaluation of the program is on.