The emphasis so far has been on scientific approaches to curriculum development, which is considered rational, universal, and objective. However, a minority of educators support a non-scientific approach to curriculum development, which is seen as personal, subjective, transactional, and aesthetic. Supporters of non-scientific models see learning as a holistic process rather than as segmented subjects.
One model under the non-scientific approach is the Deliberation model. This model has six steps.
- Public sharing
- Highlighting agreement and disagreement
- Explaining position
- Highlighting change in position
- Negotiating points of agreement
- Adopting a decision
Step one is focused on sharing ideas about the curriculum to be developed. For example, if there is a need for a new English curriculum someone may suggest that public speaking should be a part of the new curriculum.
Step two is where people discuss agreement and disagreement. Should public speaking be a part of the new curriculum? If so, how should it be taught, what evidence should the students provide, and how much public speaking should the students do? These are some of the questions and objectives discuss here. People support or attack the ideas developed.
Step three is where people provide support for the position. If I am a supporter of public speaking I might show that companies are now looking for people who are articulate and can express themselves in front of a group. Such evidence builds credibility for change. Here the Deliberation model is showing traits of rationalism. This is why it is not simple to put any model in one approach or another.
Step four is where consensus takes place. People have presented their arguments and evidence. Now decisions are made about what to do. The group decides if public speaking is going to be a part of the new English curriculum.
Step 5 is when the group works at the details of the agreement reached in step 4. How will we teach public speaking and other questions are now answered in detail. In other words, the curriculum is now formally developed.
Step 6 the curriculum is finalized and ready for use.
Non-scientific approaches are not common. However, it is necessary to provide some idea to alternatives to scientific approaches. Teachers need to decide for themselves what is the most appropriate form of curriculum development for their students.