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Curriculum Implementation: Approaches, Models and Factors

Ruby writes from the Philippines. She teaches communication and education courses in HEI. She holds and MA in Education and enjoys research.


Curriculum Implementation: What is it?

Curriculum implementation is implementing a program. It is how the instructor translates the planned or formally designed course of study into syllabuses, work schemes, and lessons. In a nutshell, it means putting into practice or effecting a program that has been conceptualized by the curriculum creators.

Program creators and implementers communicate throughout implementation.
With this, Ornstein and Hunkins (1998) believe that:
•Implementation needs instructors to switch to a new or modified software.
•Implementation transforms knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes.
•Implementation is a process of professional progress including relationships, feedback, and help.
•Implementation is a process that helps people and groups comprehend and implement a change in attitudes and behaviors.
•Implementation includes change, which needs work and worry. To reduce these, divide implementation into manageable events and create reasonable targets.
•Implementation demands a trusting, open-communicating, and risk-taking environment.
Despite spending millions on new curricula, many initiatives have failed. According to Sarason (1990), both outside specialists and educators in the system don't grasp the school's culture.
Effective implementation of innovations takes time, human engagement and contacts, in-service training, and other types of people-based assistance, according to Fullan and Pomfret (1977).
Implementing a curriculum takes time and persuasion. Teacher efforts must be recognized. Some may claim they should be paid, but data suggests external motivation contributes nothing to the venture. When people are personally motivated and like participating, they give their best.

Curriculum implementation strategies or approaches

How should education be carried out?
Regarding the use of curricula, there are two extreme viewpoints:
1. Laissez-faire, often known as the "let-alone" method.

This reveals the following characteristics:
•Gives instructors complete authority to choose what they believe should be used in the classroom.
This gives teachers the freedom to provide courses in whichever manner they see fit and that they feel are acceptable for their classes.
•There is absolutely no monitoring or oversight of any kind.
2. Control by an autocrat.

This reveals the following characteristics:
•Teachers are instructed to follow a curriculum by authority people through a memo.
•The subjects that teachers are instructing are beyond their control or discretion.
•The school principal has complete authority to order instructors to teach.
certain topics in designated ways.
In other words, this strategy imposes curriculum in a totalitarian manner.
putting it into practice in the classroom.
Between the two extremes should lie a realistic understanding of the program.
Teachers must adhere strictly to the set syllabus and ensure they do not omit any topics or components. Teachers are said to have fidelity of usage or fidelity of implementation when they carefully adhere to a set syllabus when instructing a lesson.
Curriculum or process-oriented adaptation
Some subjects enable or encourage instructors to be inventive and distinctive in their instruction.
• Teachers use customized versions of the established curriculum while staying guided by it.
•it was developed in response to the requirement to recognize various organizational principles and the diverse demands and skills of instructors, which would necessitate on-site customization.
•it was developed in response to the requirement to recognize various organizational principles and the diverse demands and skills of instructors, which would necessitate on-site customization.

Models for implementation

The modifications in models described by Ornstein and Hunkins (1988) are worth looking into. Among the models are the following:
1) The Overcoming Opposition to Change (ORC) Model aims to overcome staff resistance to change that exists before or at the time the innovation is introduced.
2) The leadership-obstacle course (LOC) model extends the ORC model and emphasizes data collection to ascertain the scope and makeup of resistance in order to adequately address it.
3) Linkiage model-A cycle of diagnosis, retrieval from search and retrieval, creation of a solution, distribution, and assessment is included in the linkage model.
4) Organizational development model (OD): An information-processing change method that enables the system to enhance member interactions and system operations to support the introduction of change.
The Rand agent model, which is founded on the idea that the qualities of the proposed change would determine whether a new program is successful in being implemented,
teaching and administrative personnel qualifications; (3) community support; and (4) the organizational framework of the institution.
Each tactic contains specific components that match Harris's recommendations.
(1985) for the efficient implementation of modifications to the educational system
1) An explanation of the chain of command
2) Including impacted parties in goal-setting, hiring, and performance review;
3) Defining the obligations and duties of instructors
4) Training of staff in conflict-resolution methods for teachers and change tactics
5) Assistance to the parties involved
Factors like a will determine the implementation model to adopt.
1) Strength of opposition
2) The nature of the desire
3) The skill set accessible

Factors that affect the implementation of curriculum

  • Teachers
  • Learners
  • Principals or head teachers
  • Parents
  • Resources, equipment, and facilities
  • Interest-based groups
  • School setting
  • Ideology and culture
  • Assessment

In implementing a curriculum, all of the factors mentioned here impact and affect the implementation in one way or another. Some of these factors may cause a major impact, others may take minor ones. For example, if there will be a strong resistance among head teachers to the implementation, then this would be a major factor that needs consideration.

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Tips when putting curriculum into practice in the classroom

Remember that implementation means change, and change may mean resistance to those affected by it. Thus, it requires patience on the part of those who are implementing it. Hence, as you think about it, you may consider these tips:

  • Clarify instructional goals
  • Let instructors know what improvements you want them to see in the pupils.
  • Assist in selecting the proper learning opportunities to bring about the required changes or learning.
  • Remind the learners of your expectations for them.
  • Specify what will be considered crucial in evaluating the lesson.
  • Review this typical structure for a lesson plan as you keep focused:

a. objectives

b. pre-requisite expertise

c. educational materials and help

d. learning experiences (teaching strategies & learning exercises)


Bilbao, P. P. et. al (2015). Curriculum development for teachers. Metro Manila: Lorimar Publishing Inc.

Fullan, M. and Pomfret, A. (1977). Research on curriculum and instruction implementation. Review of Educational Research Winter.

Ornstein, A, & F, Hunkins. (1988). Curriculum foundations, principles, and theory. 2nd Ed. Boston: Allyn& Bacon.

© 2022 Ruby Campos

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