School curriculums today should meet the demands for a competent workforce that can handle the dynamism of the current work environment. Changing a school curriculum is a challenging task only equitable to an organization in an endeavor to transform its work culture and organizational behavior. Some uncertainties come with stakeholder resistance to the change plan, and the student cannot adapt to the new curriculum. It is significant that a curriculum change program should adopt the principles of change management theory to diminish the challenges associated with the exercise.
Curriculum change is a process that can only actualize when the series of steps that aid its establishment are followed sequentially and properly. It is significant for curriculum managers to recognize the value of appropriate protocols to follow for effective change implementation (Anakin, Spronken-Smith, Healey & Vajoczki, 2018). Curriculum change plan implementation is achievable through the guidance of the change management theory that directs how to align behaviors, laws, technology, skills, and tragedies.
The first step in managing a curriculum change plan in a school is to identify the stimulus for change and conduct the situational analysis. There can either be an internal stimulus that includes the school's inner quality assurance mechanism strategizing to improve the quality of student learning or an external stimulus that includes government policy, community pressure or global changes (O'Neill, Slater & Sapp, 2018). The leadership team spearheading the curriculum change management plan should define the strategies, mission, and goals for curriculum change. The leadership needs to conduct a situational analysis that illustrates the requirements and types of changes in the curriculum. The changes could be the competency-based, outcome-based or hybrid curriculum.
The second step in the curriculum change plan is to communicate with stakeholders. It is important for the leadership of the school to everyone involved. The successive step after initial analysis is to establish an in-depth communication with both the internal and external stakeholders through organized seminars, workshops and consultative meetings (Leung, 2012). The essence of communication is to clarify on misinterpreted issues, to cast out fears to minimize possible resistance to change. It is in this stage where the management takes the opportunity to motivate staff and stakeholders to embrace change for a better future.
The third step is the planning phase. In this stage, the leadership needs to incorporate SMART objectives to quicken the way to achieve the goals identified in the mission statement. The curriculum change taskforce is expected to analyze the anticipated outcomes with an aim to improve the set objectives. Consultation is welcome from other schools that have undergone successful curricular reforms (Lam, 2012). The change taskforce should be open to joint planning, collaboration, integration, and interdepartmental communication. The curriculum change taskforce should focus on developing staff skills.
After the completion of the planning phase follows the implementation stage which involves execution of the curriculum change plan. The implementation of the new assessment strategies, methods of teaching and learning is a collective effort that needs the cooperation and coordination of the department members, students, and other stakeholders (Anakin et al., 2018). Increased communication at the various levels of the school is mandatory to enhance harmonization of the different teams in school. Mobilization of both human and financial resources is key at the implementation stage to keep things going.
Implemented curriculum change needs close monitoring; what is called transition management. The management of change by monitoring is essential in protecting the process from the lapse. There is a host of uncertainties that might not have been considered during the initial stages. Performance dip is mitigated in this process of transition management (Lam, 2012). The methods of responding to performance dips are by taking care of the stakeholders' needs and making necessary adjustments in line with the advice of the experts. The management needs to celebrate success and to motivate both staff and children as they monitor the progress towards the achievement of the set goals closely (Anakin, 2018). The frequency of consultative meetings increases because it would be imprudent to make unilateral decisions in times of deviations caused by uncertainties. New ideas majorly come in from the stakeholders on areas of improvement.
The last stage of the curriculum change plan is the evaluation stage. Curriculum change is a project with sequential phases, and the completion of its implementation phase needs to be followed by evaluation. Feedback from all the stakeholders is required to assess the achievement of the plan. Evaluating for the sake of quality assurance and accreditation is important (O'Neill, Slater & Sapp, 2018). There are multiple methods of assessments that can be used depending on the level beginning from individual to interpersonal and organizational levels. The assessment methodologies include DREEM, Millar's pyramid, principles of assessment and curricular blueprint.
Curriculum change plan implementation is achievable by following the guide outline of the change management theory. The school management working on implementing a curriculum alteration generally aims to improve their service provision to the learners. The amount of input regarding times, finance and knowledge dedicated to meeting the set goals of curriculum change is responsible for the speed at which the change process happens. Following the change-management theory works on minimizing the resistance to change and minimizes uncertainties that can create a performance dip.
Anakin, M., Spronken-Smith, R., Healey, M., & Vajoczki, S. (2018). The contextual nature of university-wide curriculum change. International Journal for Academic Development, 23(3), 206-218.
O'Neill, M., Slater, A., & Sapp, D. G. (2018). Writing and the undergraduate curriculum: Using assessment evidence to create a model for institutional change. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2018(155), 97-104.
Leung, A. W. (2012). Strategies for Change and Curriculum Implementation. Curriculum Change and Innovation, 170-188. doi:10.5790/hongkong/9789888139026.003.0007
Lam, J. T. (2012). Change in Curriculum Planning. Curriculum Change and Innovation, 125-147. doi:10.5790/hongkong/9789888139026.003.0005
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