Bal Chandra Luitel
Curtin University of Technology
“…Human diversity and unity have their roots in many aspects of culture and society, not merely in the schools alone. In modern societies today, persons are bombarded with a multitude of perspectives of from many different sources.” [Schubert, 1986, p. 418]
notion of outcome-based education (OBE) has been widely illuminated in the field
of educational reform since the last two decades. Despite the differences within
the proponents and opponents, OBE can be defined as an educational model in
which decisions about curriculum, instruction and assessment should be taken
according to the exit outcomes. Furthermore, the legitimate OBE model, according
to its proponent, is the transformational OBE out of the prevailing OBE models
– traditional, transitional and transformational OBE. Furthermore, according
to Spady and Marshall (1991, 1994) the traditional OBE is guided by the
curriculum-based objectives (cbo)
whereas the transformational OBE focuses on the role performances, which are
essential for the hi-tech and competitive future life of the learner
(Spady & Marshall, 1991)
. The transitional OBE, a twilight zone
between the both OBE, incorporates traditional OBE for planning the curriculum
and transformational OBE for orienting the learner towards their future role
(Spady & Marshall, 1991)
. Keeping the three types of OBE in mind,
firstly, I seek to discuss the nature of the curriculum of Western Australia
(henceforth Curriculum Framework) on the basis of the four main principles of
success for all of the transformational OBE as explicated by Spady and Marshall
(1991, 1994). Secondly, I enunciate the relation between exit outcomes and the
subject structure of the long-standing curriculum.
to Spady and Marshall (1991) and Spady (cited in Brandt, 1993), the basic
principle of transformational OBE is the clarity of focus. The notion of clarity
of focus infers that the curriculum development, implementation and assessment
should be geared by the outcomes, which are expected as the culminating
demonstrations of the learners. Furthermore, the principle clearly delineates
that the clear articulation of the desired end points is very essential for a
successful educational program
(Willis & Kissane, 1997)
. Given this principle of
transformational OBE, the Curriculum Council (1998) has elucidated that the overarching
are the basis for all educational activities of the schools of Western
Australia. In the context of Spady’s
(cited in Brandt, 1993)
focus on exit outcomes and perceived
distinction between the exit and other outcomes the Curriculum Council has
explicitly illuminated the importance of exit outcomes by saying:
“...Overarching Statement describes the outcomes which all
students need to attain in order to be lifelong learners, achieve their
potential in their personal and working lives and play an active part in civic
and economic life. These [Overarching Learning] outcomes apply across all
learning area and are the responsibility of all teachers. (Curriculum Council,
In order to delineate the
notion of clarity of focus, it is essential to take into account the ideas of
Willis and Kissane
. They emphasize that the notion of clarity of focus is essential
to help develop the shared meaning of the focus embraced by the exit outcomes by
which the teachers can assess their students and appraise their learning process
very validly and reliably. The Curriculum Council (1998) has also shed light in
this notion by elucidating the exit outcomes (Overarching Learning Outcomes)
connecting with the different source of knowledge and skill and the need of the
learners to cope with the changing world.
Contrary to the constrained in opportunity notion, the OBE focuses on
expanded opportunity which means to provide with the schools and teachers to do
everything to culminate the outcomes. Spady and Marshall
has urged that flexibility in time for attaining the role
performances and delivery mode are the main characteristics of the OBE. This
principle has been clearly incorporated in the Curriculum Framework by
specifying that the learning process can be organised according to the need of
the learner and the context of the schools (Curriculum Council, 1998).
Furthermore, the Curriculum Framework has embraced through its underpinned
principles that the Overarching Learning Outcomes are the basis for adopting
various approaches to culminate them. Specifically Curriculum Framework
emphasizes that the use of technology and all possible resources can help bring
all learners within the circle of the success.
The high expectation principle of outcome-based education elicits three
major notions: raising standard of performance so that only high quality of
performance can be labelled as “completed”; using linear horizontal model
that eliminates bell shaped-thinking of student performance; and supporting
students continuously to culminate higher level of performance
(Spady, 1996, n.d.; Spady & Marshall, 1991)
. In the light of this principle, a question can be asked: How to
authenticate the performance of the learners. Obviously, the principle cannot be
addressed without OBE-compatible assessment procedure because it requires a
substance-defined standard upon which the assessment is based (Spady, 1996). In
this context, the Curriculum Council (1998) has hinted that school-based,
authentic, valid, educative, explicit, fair and comprehensive assessments are
recommended for probing higher level of performance (curriculum
council, 1998). According to the Department of Education
the purpose of the assessment is to support and enhance the
learning of students of different
settings—the assessment should be embedded in learning process by
replacing the notion of after-lesson, school and semester testing approach.
Embracing this notion, varieties of assessment approach have been suggested
through which teachers, students and parents can authenticate the learning
process. In essence, the Curriculum Council (1998) has recommended the
continuous, authentic and participatory assessment approach helps raise the
standard of learning and hence the culminating demonstrations.
The design down notion infers that all curricular and educational
activities should be designed back from the point where we expect the exit of
the learning programme. This principle inextricably connected with the first
principle of OBE that without the clear focus, it is not possible to develop the
curriculum (cf. design down)
. In relation to the Curriculum Framework, the exit outcomes (cf.
Overarching Learning Outcomes) are supposed to be the basis for devising the
Learning Area Outcomes. Admittedly, the design down notion follows in the
sequence of Overarching Statement, Overarching Learning Outcomes, Learning Area
Outcomes, Student Outcome Statements, lesson outcomes and learning activities
(Willis & Kissane, 1997)
discusses two basic misconceptions in explaining the principle
of design down such as to understand each and
every curricular and instructional activities in the frame of design down
and to interpret it as to develop
the [exit] outcomes from the long-standing curriculum structure. In this
context, the difficulties may lay on the implementation level in which the
teachers may design outcomes down form the prevailing curriculum structure.
However, the curriculum Framework
has portrayed such structural basis that schools and teachers are required to
devise their programme according to their context aligning with the target set
by the Curriculum Council (1998).
The appraisal of the Curriculum framework
gives a glimpse that it has substantially been guided by the principle of
success for all which is the main basis for assessing the direction of the
curriculum process. Consequently, the Curriculum Framework has significantly
embraced the notion of transformational OBE. On the one hand, the implementation
of Curriculum Framework seems easy for the teachers because the Curriculum
Framework has incorporated rich information of the scope and sequence of the
curriculum. On the other hand there may be a danger of neglecting Overarching
Learning Outcomes by focusing only the traditional subject areas (cf. Learning
Areas). The literature shows that it is not easy to implement the
transformational OBE in the first lot; instead it requires a planned and
hierarchical process following three levels as mentioned by Spady (1995).
Long-established subjects and Exit Outcomes
The translation of the
exit outcomes into the learning areas is a crucial process for a successful
implementation of transformational OBE. In relation to the Curriculum Framework,
it is imperative to discuss the relationship between the exit outcomes and
long-standing [subject-bound] curriculum structure. In order to discuss this
notion, I will take the example of the curriculum structure of Mathematics
Learning Area and sketch its relation with the traditional subject-bound
According to the
Curriculum Council (1998), the Overarching Learning Outcomes have been
formulated to guide all the programme of the schools of Western Australia.
Furthermore, such outcomes have been linked with the possible learning areas
focusing the substance, which students should learn to attain the role
performances (cf. Overarching Learning Outcomes). In the next step, the Learning
Area Outcomes have been determined to help learners attain the Overarching
Learning Outcomes. Specifically, taking the example of Mathematics Learning
Area, it can help delineate how the Curriculum Framework has restructured the
long-established content-based curriculum structure.
Mathematics, one of the
eight learning areas, comprises of nineteen learning area outcomes distributing
over seven clusters/strands such as appreciating mathematics, working
mathematically, number, measurement, chance and data, space and algebra
(Curriculum Council, 1998). Within each strand, the Curriculum Framework has
incorporated sub-strands, Student Outcome Statement from foundation to level 8,
and pointers. Specifically, the curriculum has aimed at enhancing mathematics
learning providing students with supportive but challenging mathematical
situations that contribute to the development of the learner. Furthermore, the
Curriculum Framework envisages such mathematical learning opportunity that
engage students in action and reflection, clarifies the purpose to motivate
them, acknowledges differences between learners, espouses collaborative and
supportive learning environment and helps establishing connections of their
With such curriculum structure, I
can compare my country’s curriculum framework in which mathematical contents
are the basis for teaching, learning and assessment. The subject-based
curriculum hardly considers context, learning process and authenticity of
assessment within the curriculum process. Willis and Kissane
, have suggested that the traditional subjects (cf. learning
areas) are restructured in the areas of knowledge contributing to the attainment
of the Overarching Learning Outcomes. Seamlessly, the progressive outcomes,
which help elaborate the explicit benchmark to map student progress, are the
restructured form of the traditional content.
In the context of outcome-based education the implementation starts from
bottom to up completing three zone of attainment: traditional, transitional and
. Spady (1994) further shades the light
on his hierarchical notion by labelling the traditional zone as the alignment to
the subject matter (cf. content discreet skills), the transitional zone as the
development of complex unstructured task performance, and the transformational
zone as the process of developing life-role performances. Needless to say, the
subject-bound curriculum is fixed within the traditional zone imparting content
concept and associated skills to the learners.
The Curriculum Framework’s emphasis is on interdisciplinary,
integrated and transdisciplinary learning areas focusing collaborative approach
of learning. Some problems such as integration among the subject areas can be a
difficult issue as many teachers have been developed for subject teaching
(Venville, Wallace, Rennie, & Malone, 2002)
. The case studies carried out by Department of Education
(Education Department of Western Australia) and Curtin University of Technology
(see, Venville, Wallace, Rennie, & Malone, 1999)
has revealed that only some areas could be integrated. The
strong belief held by the parents, teacher and other stakeholders is that the
integrated approach is a process of trivialising the academic standard.
two: Images within the Transformational OBE
The notion of transformational OBE has
been depicted as a model for system- level change. Spady and Marshall
infer that the transformational OBE is a
model for restructuring the whole educational system. Looking at the basic
preamble of the transformational OBE it seems a high-sounding reform-oriented
label in which varying and often contradictory ideas have been enveloped. In
this connection, it is essential to examine the transformational OBE according
to its underpinning principle. Furthermore, it is imperative to discuss the
nature of transformational OBE depicted by its proponents and opponents. In this
connection, I seek to excavate the meaning of transformational OBE as a label
and examine how the metonymical representation of the whole curriculum process
can obstruct the process of learning by masquerading by a single curriculum
Spady and Marshall
(1991) have proposed three basic premises such as all students can learn and
succeed; success breeds success; and school control the conditions of success (p
67). Such very common assertions seem to be incomplete to explain the complex,
non-linear and unstable educational phenomena. However, it gives a glimpse that
the concept of transformational OBE has been developed after the failure of
mastery and subject-based learning programs in the name of OBE
In order to appraise the
transformational OBE, it is essential to discuss its four basic principles
elucidated by Spady and Marshall (1991). Regarding the first principle, clarity
of focus on outcome of significance, Spady
and Spady and Marshall (1991) have suggested that it is
essential to identify the significance of settings, substance (learning areas)
and learner. On the contrary, Gandal
opposes the idea of transformational OBE opining that the basis
for the focus are academic standards which can only be guided according to the
pre-existed sources of knowledge—the subject areas such as Mathematics,
Science, Language Arts and so forth. In this context, I would like to raise some
basic questions: What is the basis for selecting the outcomes? Are the
proponents of transformational OBE using high-sounding words rather than making
any difference within the system? Who does determine the outcome of
significance? In searching answers
for these questions, I have not seen much difference between the proponents of
subject-bound curriculum and Spady
as he tacitly
assumes the supremacy of content by saying:
approach I advocate is not anti-content, anti-clarity or anti-rigour as some
allege. What it does do is dramatically expand the traditional paradigm of
learning and performance by using rigorous content in a variety of
interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary ways, … introducing the often-ignored challenges and
circumstances of authentic contexts into the demonstration of performances”.
The concept of design down from the ultimate outcomes has a very
important role in shaping the framework of transformational OBE.
This notion is not only useful in the context of transformational OBE but
also in each and every classroom context in which we select a theme (cf. topic)
and expand it in terms of objectives and activities. Spady
has unveiled the notion by saying that we need to design back
from the culminating demonstrations so that the long-standing curriculum can be
restructured according to the notion of transformational OBE. Despite its
practicalities in curriculum process, the notion of design down advocates a
controlled system, which neglects the ever-developing nature of the meaning of
Spady and Marshall’s (1991) emphasis of high expectations for all to
succeed is the third principle of transformational OBE, which embraces the
notion of success of all learners with a high standard. This principle’s focus
is on devising such outcomes, that represent a high level of challenge for each
student, and all students should accomplish them with a high standard.
Undoubtedly, this notion is very important in any educational system. However,
the organisational structure and input, which affect the learning process and
attainment level of the learning outcomes, should also be taken into
consideration while dealing with this principle. The proponents of
transformational OBE have emphasised that this principle can help those students
who were considered as the unsuccessful students in the past
(Willis & Kissane, 1997)
The fourth main principle of the transformational OBE is to provide
expanded opportunities for the success of learning.
According to Spady (1994) the expanded opportunity principle requires a
process of rethinking conventional assumptions about time, methods and
standards. In order to justify this principle, the proponents of
(e.g. Spady, 1994; Spady, 1996; Willis & Kissane, 1997)
have proposed five realties of the learners:
The learners’ rate of
learning is not the same as they may learn the different learning areas in
The ways learners (people)
learn vary extremely.
Few learners learn
perfectly at the first time.
The comparative notion of
standard infers to label only some learners are good at learning.
Opportunities for learning
success expand when learners are given a clear picture of the substance, ways
and means to achieve the specified standards.
Spady (1996) further
says that the depiction of heterogeneity among the learners and emphasis on
success for all are the guiding philosophies that help schools formulate the
programme according to the need of the learners. He further says that faster
learners need not to sit with and wait for the others who are still repeating
the same thing. I have not seen any point to refuse the notion of heterogeneity
in learning process. However, the opponents of transformational OBE say that it
does not help foster the creativity of gifted learners.
Instead, it helps turning three R’s into the three D’s: Deliberately
So far we discussed the basic principles used by the proponents
of transformational OBE. I seek to excavate the philosophical meaning by which
the transformational OBE has been underpinned. It reveals from the literature
that the proponents of transformational OBE have specifically envisaged a
product-oriented curriculum. Philosophically, any form of knowledge becomes
worthwhile within the frame of process learning (Bruner, cited in McKernan,
1993). According to McKernan
, philosophy of outcome-based education has reduced the
curriculum process by continuous destructing and constricting the meaning of
curriculum. Viewing form the perspective of Schwarz
, the words used by the proponents of transformational OBE has
revealed its limitation in addressing the educational phenomena. Furthermore,
Hargreaves (cited in Schwarz, 1994) explicates that the term restructuring means
to shape and mould learners rather than to expand their minds and capabilities.
William Spady has
frequently used such metaphors—exit outcomes, generalizable, discrete content
skills, competence, execution and so forth—that reduce the educational
practice and delimits the construction of curriculum process. To some extent, I
agree with Schwarz
that the curriculum model followed by the OBE has not elicited
different paradigmatic image from that of the CBO. Substantially, both follow
the management-oriented positivist-behaviourist paradigm.
The proponents of transformational OBE focuses that the time is variable
and the outcome is constant
. In my perspective, it is a sheer abuse
of the definitions of the terms variable and constant. On the one hand, if we
accept the time is variable, how many maximum years can be allowed to a learner
to complete the schooling of K-12? If a learner requires more years to culminate
the exit outcomes, how can we say the pre-determined outcomes are still the
outcomes of significance as the situation for which the outcome was envisaged
would have already been changed? On the other hand, Spady and Marshal’s (1991)
depiction of schools as unstable ever-changing entities probes a mismatch
between the notion of unstable schools
and the constant exit outcomes. It seems a Utopia that school is always moving
but its door is always fixed.
In the conclusion, I seek to ask
some questions, which can portray my appraisal of this label: What content
should we teach differently in the context of transformational OBE? Can they be
labelled as OBE-proponent for those who have been advocating integration in
various ways—content connection, process integration
(National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000)
, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach,
(Lake, 1994; Merrill, 2002)
? What is the basis of restructuring the subject areas? Does it
mean to eliminate the universal nature of education and to promote
According to Lakoff and Johnson
metonymical representation is simply a trope that is used to
depict a signified concept, object and so forth by its signifier. Metonymical
representation is very useful in conveying the meaning of signified by a part of
it. Its role is pervasive in our day-to-day communication and professional
discourse. However, while representing the whole concept by a part of it, there
is always a danger of being conveyed misleading concepts and communication.
Seamlessly, in the context of representing a whole curriculum process by a
single curriculum image, there is always a danger of being closed and less
effective curriculum metaphor in order to address the need of the learners for
their all-round development. Specifically, the part-whole metonymical
representation of curriculum process can lead to a closed image of curriculum.
In my perspective, not only
curriculum image is represented by the metonymical representation but also the
image of transformational OBE is also portrayed by the part-whole metonymy.
According to Spady (1995), the proponents and opponents of transformational OBE
have often represented [knowingly or unknowingly] the notion of transformational
OBE by a part of it. A question can be raised here: What happens if a curriculum
is represented only by transformational OBE-generated curriculum image while the
transformational OBE is depicted by a part-whole metonymy?
The curriculum, which is developed within the frame of
transformational OBE, embraces the metaphor of teaching as mechanizing the
learner and learning as culminating. Regarding the notion of its curriculum
image, a number of questions can be asked: What curriculum image does this
notion embrace? Is it rationalist? Behaviorist? Constructivist? Postmodernist?
Can it include as many as possible curriculum image?
What may be the effect on the teachers who have been subscribing a single
curriculum image? I would like to discuss these issues in the following
Despite the claim of various proponents of transformational OBE depicting
it as a liberating model of educational reform, the curriculum process depicted
by it falls within the modernist paradigm. However, there are some possibilities
of including multiple perspectives in interpreting and utilizing the learning
. Virtually, while the curriculum process is directed by a set of
outcomes, the notion of curriculum construction turns into an irony in the
context of transformational OBE. Furthermore, Brandt’s
notion of transformational OBE as a product-oriented thinking
creates a danger of depicting curriculum within the limited periphery of
pre-determined exit outcomes. This opinion discards the notion of Schubert
that the effectiveness of any curriculum lies in subsuming all
possible curriculum images. Furthermore, there should also be a place for such
curriculum that is being developed and constructed. The proponents of
transformational OBE pretend that the curriculum image embraced by the
transformational OBE as a complete one, which does not require the other
prevailing images of curriculum.
Despite the recommendation of student-centred approach for
teaching-learning process, the proponents of transformational OBE have not
considered the disadvantages of product-oriented approach in teaching and
learning programme. Furthermore, the transformational OBE persuades teachers to
subscribe the outcome-oriented teaching which simply a way of engineering
learners to a particular direction. In my perspective, this notion develops a
tendency of teaching as more structured, less creative and robotic activities.
The aesthetic, and artistic aspect of learning is less emphasised within the
. Consequently, the teachers may be less concerned about the
quality of learning rather than persuading the learners to culminate the
outcomes. In my perspective, teacher can develop a rich pedagogical
understanding by subscribing multiple and open-ended curriculum images rather
than subscribing the single and closed curriculum image.
In conclusion, the proponents of transformational OBE regard it as a
reform-oriented approach, which takes into account the basic principle of
success for all. The opponents of transformational OBE have criticized it for
being closed and product-oriented and paying less attention to the academic
standard. Such critics have appeared in the both paradigms: extremely modernist
and postmodernist. One of the important aspects of transformational OBE is to
propose to bring all students within the circle of success. On the contrary, it
has put much effort on the product-oriented system and depicted the exit
outcomes as fixed and rigid exit without espousing the integral perspective of
knowing as process and knowledge as product.
Part three: Curriculum as Intended
The outcome metaphor portrays a very important image of
curriculum. The common notion of outcome is to represent the curriculum process
in terms of pre-determined exit points, which becomes a basis for assessing
learners and the learning process. This metaphor has become pervasive after the
emergence of outcome-based education as a label of educational reform.
Notwithstanding its significant role in teaching and learning context, it has
been questioned from various angles. Keeping its importance in mind, firstly, I
seek to present the means-end dilemma of outcome metaphor; secondly, I deal with
the effectiveness of outcome metaphor; and thirdly, I excavate the meaning of
curricular ecology elucidate the inclusiveness of other curriculum image within
the outcome metaphor.
Historically, the outcome metaphor has been constructed on the background
of the activity metaphor
in which the latter has been considered as an incomplete
portrayal of the educational phenomena. Put simply, the weakness of activity
metaphor—to regard the day-to-day learning activities as the end of
educational process—has helped coin the new metaphorical image of curriculum
as intended learning outcomes. According to Andrich
, the educational outcomes are the manifestation of
human construct which he terms as the
hierarchical structure of the latent to overt construct. Specifically, this
elucidation hints that the outcome metaphor plays an important role in
day-to-day learning activities and the entire curriculum process. Schubert’s
(1986) emphasis on the specific learning outcomes has also been accepted by the
Board of Studies of New South Wales
(cited in Brady & Kennedy, 1999)
by defining outcomes as comprehensive, assessable and observable
benchmarks which help guide the educational programme.
When we consider the outcome
metaphor as a key curriculum image, we need to explain the curriculum process
through the hierarchy of outcomes. Such hierarchy has been formed from the top
to down sequence of exit, learning area, enabling, progressive outcomes and
daily lesson objectives. The day-to-day lesson objectives facilitate to
culminate the unit and/or topic outcomes and such outcomes help achieve the
learning area outcomes and so forth
. Schubert (1987) delineates the need of the behavioural
objective as day-to-day lesson outcomes by saying that they overcome the
vagueness of the general outcomes. Specifically, the behavioural objectives are
regarded as the means of monitoring the day-to-day learning process. However,
the scope of the behavioural objectives is limited because all human constructs
cannot be explained in terms of behavioural objectives
Regarding the means-end notion of the curriculum process, I have observed
the same dilemma in distinguishing the objectives and outcomes as did by
. Theoretically, the ends of the
curriculum are the exit outcomes, which guide the whole educational process (cf.
teaching, learning, credentialing, accreditation). Furthermore, the enabling,
progressive, lesson outcomes are the means for achieving the end of the
In my perspective, each curriculum has inherited some expected outcomes,
which may not be elucidated clearly. Many such outcomes (end) are constructed
through a series of classroom practice (means) and established them inherently
as the end. My portrayal of the reverse order of end-means notion may be more
natural because my process of construction of outcomes appears elsewhere except
in the frame of transformational OBE!
quest for searching of alternative practices in learning and teaching, many
educational reform initiatives have put emphasis on the improvement of learning
situation. The effectiveness of such reform programs relies on their portrayal
capacity of the day-to-day educational phenomena. With such notion, I seek to
discuss the conditions that make OBE-oriented outcome metaphor as a successful
and effective reform initiative.
Generally, outcome metaphor deals with
the intentionality of the curriculum; it is not curriculum itself
. Furthermore, this does not specify the
hierarchical structure of the outcomes as incorporated by the proponents of the
transformational OBE. However, it is regarded that the legitimate image of
outcome metaphor can be found in the frame of transformational OBE. The
effectiveness of the outcome metaphor depend upon the efficiency of the schools
in the sense that whether the schools are able to provide all possible support
to the learners in order to culminate the exit outcomes with the high standard.
Comparing this notion with my context, I have envisaged that the OBE can only be
successful if the schools become self-sufficient to decide about their
Needless to say, the support of community is very essential in
implementing the OBE. The political commitment is essentially important, as it
requires more money than does the traditional system
. Not only does OBE require many well-trained and experienced
teachers but also manageable student-teacher ratios. Furthermore, the teacher
education programme should also be restructured to produce the teachers who can
teach according to the notion of the OBE.
Spady and William
admit that the guiding principle of the OBE is to make the
learner as a competent future citizen. For this, they envisage that there should
not be failure in any part of the students; instead all students should be
successful with a high standard of culminations. For me, this is very
impractical in real world that all people cannot be successful with the same
[high] standard. There are strongly held belief that the OBE is effective in the
field of technical training rather than in academic education
The issue of the ownership of classroom in the frame of OBE is essential
to discuss. Specifically, the proponents of OBE propose the cooperative learning
as an OBE-compatible approach of learning. Generally, this approach depicts the
student-owned classroom. However, the ultimate ownership of the classroom lies
on the teacher, as he/she has to assess the learner on the basis of the exit
outcomes. From my experience, this (OBE and cooperating learning) is again a
mapping between different surfaces that may result a meaningless notion!
In the context of Eastwell’s
concern of OBE, some of his fact-based opinions such as
increasing teacher load and teacher perception of the notion of outcomes cannot
be ignored. His dissatisfaction over OBE indicates that it is essential to take
into account the effects of its practice. For me, any single perspective cannot
represent the whole educational phenomena. Instead, it is essential to espouse
an integral perspective by which we can address the multifaceted notion of
In conclusion, I would like to put the idea of Goff
who urges that the complex and chaotic systems are unpredictable
but can be determined within a set of
broad limitations. Comparing with the notion of fractals, educational
settings can be explained as ever changing, unstable and incomplete. However, they can be guided by some common elements. If we
regard the outcome metaphor, as a loose predictor of teaching/learning
activities, there can be a place for Doll’s
notion of four R’s of richness, recursion, relations and rigor
(p. 161) which can help the learner
develop multiple and integral perspective to view their future world.
The notion of ecological balance in curriculum process is a crucial issue
as in the biology in which the absence or presence of a type of organism or any
physical environment may disturb the balance
. In the context of curriculum process the ecological balance
infers that there exists an interconnected relationship between multiple aspects
of educational process, which insist on espousing interconnected relationship
among the diverse factors of schooling. According to Eisner
, the attention should be given to the five ecological dimensions
of schooling: the intentional, structural, curricular, pedagogical, and
evaluative. He further envisaged that eight factors make change in schools
difficult, including teacher isolation, persistence of school norms, inadequate
in-service education, and internalized teacher roles. The implication of
notion is to consider the aspects of unintentionality (cf.
intentionality) while planning for educational reform.
The implementation of OBE in educational setting requires a sound
understanding of curricular ecology. The cultural frame of the schooling
, cultural capital
, the socialization modes of the students and other many overt
and covert factors influence the process of curriculum. The notion of change
within the existing curriculum process is not to engineer learners towards
something that is implanted from the outside without considering interconnected
aspects of curriculum process; it is rather to reconceptualise (or to construct)
within the curricular ecology of the school. However, the notion of OBE as
explained by its proponents does not take account of the culture of schooling. I
agree with the notion of the proponents of transformational OBE of renovating
the traditional calendar-based schooling. however, my perspective is not to view the reform process
superficially without minutely analyzing the context and the need of schools.
Philosophically, the outcome metaphor does not prevent subscribing the
other curriculum image. In my experience, one cannot imagine the teaching lesson
without outcome(s). However, my perspective of outcome metaphor is to derive it
through the curriculum process making rich and comprehensive to liberate the
students from the traditional thinking. This comes from teachers’ personal
(Connelly & Clandinin, 1988)
notion of understanding of the inner landscape of teaching . In
William Spady’s outcome metaphor, there is a little role of experience
metaphor, which the curriculum theorists regard it as a useful metaphor for
developing a balanced curriculum process.
In Schubert’s (1987) perspective, the goal of schooling is to put the
learner within the interconnected network of the culture, society and other
overt and covert factors. Similarly, the role of educators is to deal with the
notion of schooling as a balanced and interconnected phenomenon. Looking from
the historical perspective, the curriculum is a treasure of various ideas,
knowledge and experiences of human endeavors and it has been continuously
.This perspective infers that outcome metaphor needs to subscribe
multiple curriculum image in order to be successful curriculum metaphor.
The proponents of OBE have not discussed the issues of nonschool
curricula, which play a crucial role for attaining the curricular aims of the
schools. According to Schubert
the areas of nonschool curricula such as home and families, peer
relationships, mass media, formal organizations, vocations, and avocations
affect [positively and negatively] to the process of learning. Taking this
(cited in Schubert, 1986)
points out that the curriculum process is depicted as a
continuous interaction between teacher, learner, subject matter and milieu.
Specifically, this helps to derive the notion of who do teach, who are taught,
which is taught, where is taught
. These perspectives help delineate the notion of schooling and
the curriculum, which clearly indicates that it is rich in continuous
construction, multiple and integral perspectives and process-oriented model.
Guided by the outcome metaphor, I still suspect whether the
product-oriented OBE helps develop an interactive [educative] relationship
between my students, the curricular ecology and me. The product-oriented OBE
(the ham sandwich) rather encourages me to conduct teaching-learning programme
on the basis of a structured process by following a strict scientific paradigm,
which does not help liberate the students to be passionate for in-depth
learning, inquisitive for knowing, enthusiastic towards the knowledge.
In conclusion, I prefer the process-oriented outcome-based education
rather than the product-oriented one. In my model, the exit outcomes are
developed during the process of schooling by espousing the culture of schooling
and the social reality. Put simply, in my perspective, the notion of
process-oriented model holds the practical belief that the future curriculum is
constructed on the background of the present curriculum process. One question
may be asked: What is the role of outcome metaphor? The answer is not so complex
as in the product-oriented model: Rather it is simple, as the outcome are
embedded in each and every part of the curriculum process embracing the notion
of knowing is a process and knowledge is a product.
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Posted on 20th November 2002.