Curriculum Implementation: Modernist and Postmodernist Approaches

Topic: Curriculums
Words: 582 Pages: 2

Chapter eight discusses curriculum implementation, including its nature, change process, modernist and postmodernist approaches and models, and the key players involved. Implementing a new curriculum calls for a change of people’s habits and views in addition to the program (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 257). However, the process must add value to the learning community and have an established purpose of moving the school into improvement. The text analyses effective communication and support from curriculum designers as crucial in implementing the change. The authors outlined five guidelines that ensure successful curriculum implementation, including technically sound innovations, changing traditional structure, manageability and feasibility for the average teacher, organic approach rather than bureaucratic, and a definitive plan (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 262). In addition, curriculum designers must choose between modernist and postmodernist approaches to implementation.

Change managers can use either or both of the methods to achieve the desired curriculum expectations. Modernist approaches are based on precise procedures and ground rules, whereas postmodernist ones are complex and involve some level of uncertainty (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 263-264). Regardless of the approach in use, the four possible types of change are planned change – which is the ideal one, coercive, interaction, and random change. Implementers who use either modernist, postmodernist, or both models must recognize that people resist change and hence, should understand their reasons for resistance (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 267). Some of these reasons include the lack of benefits, ownership, collaboration, and support, increased burdens, norm incongruence, differential knowledge, and boring innovations.

The modernist approach of implementing curriculum change includes four main models. These are overcoming resistance to change (ORC), organizational development (OD), systems, and concerns-based adoption (CBA) models (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 278). The ORC technique addresses people’s doubts and fears, instilling commitment and a feeling of ownership to prevent change resistance. The OD model focuses on teamwork, group and intergroup processes, action research, organizational culture and ongoing dynamics, collaboration, and facilitation by management. CBA is similar to OD, but it assumes that individuals initiate change, and it only deals with the implementation stage. The systems model is the foundation of both CBA and OD techniques; they treat individuals as part of the school, employing the concept of systems thinking. All these models follow specific ground rules and procedures.

Postmodernist models are implemented in chaos, complexity, and uncertainty. These include curriculum-in-the-making, complexity theories influenced techniques, and myriad approach models (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 278). According to these models, the curriculum is never completed but always in the making, with each person generating a unique method of development and implementation. In addition, there is no way to distill complex relations into simple incidents. Another key point in the text explores the key players in the curriculum implementation process. These are “students, teachers, administrators, consultants, state employees, university professors, parents, lay citizens, and political officials” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2018, p. 277). Successful implementation must engage all the stakeholders of the process and the school community.

An analysis of curriculum implementation by Dr. AB Gupta stresses some of the issues discussed in chapter eight of the textbook. For instance, he insists that the process should begin with an orientation to educate key players on the need for change and the new curriculum (NCTEL, 2016). He further explores factors that affect implementation, including resources, stakeholders’ involvement, leadership, organizational culture, and alignment with the overall industry (NCTEL, 2016). In conclusion, the chapter discusses an important stage in curriculum development, which is implementing.


NCTEL. (2016). Curriculum implementation by Dr. AB Gupta [Video]. YouTube. 

Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2018). Curriculum: Foundations, principles, and issues 7th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.

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