There are numerous pedagogical and psychological concepts and theories that suggest diverse practices in the process of knowledge assimilation. Each curriculum tradition provides a unique method of acquiring skills and abilities, developing capabilities and needs, forming attitudes, and determining behavioral patterns. Regardless of their content and focus, all pedagogical concepts define the ultimate goal of learning as mastering the system of knowledge and practical preparedness necessary for successful functional activity. However, it is imperative to comprehend the training traditions’ essence, content, and features. It enables one to notice their strengths and weaknesses and organize the learning process effectively. In Perspectives on Four Curriculum Traditions, William Schubert identified four basic types of pedagogical concepts. It is crucial to comprehend these traditions as they are the core theoretical foundations of pedagogical technologies.
Schubert identifies four types of pedagogical models: social behaviorist, intellectual traditionalist, critical reconstructionist, and the experientialist. Behaviorism is a classic of pedagogy and psychology, an old and widely recognized school. Operant behavior is one of the initial concepts of this tradition (Schubert, 1996). It authorizes any pedagogical influence to be decomposed into a scheme in which the system and content are situated. From the behaviorist’s point of view, whatever occurs inside is not as meaningful as the behavior. Moreover, the process of learning consists of making certain connections between stimuli and reactions. The regulation of effect, repetition, and readiness is the fundamental laws of forming and consolidating the relationship between motivation and response. Thus, a social behaviorist studies the conduct of students and teachers to determine what requires to be accomplished to support everyone to learn sufficiently.
The traditional system is founded on the priority of knowledge in the learning process, developing the student’s personality. The primary role in the learning process is delivered to the educator, who has significant authority (Schubert, 1996). Moreover, the traditional model is based on informing education when the lecturer provides knowledge that should be accepted and mastered without any doubt. Individual characteristics, desires, and aspirations are not considered in curricula design. This model operates primary sources and knowledge to shape ideas, ignoring creativity and modern techniques. It guarantees the opportunity to discuss the material; however, students do not have the option to form their beliefs.
The experimentalist tradition embodies the idea of teaching topics in which students are curious. Learners have the opportunity to reflect on information and operate unknown details in practice. They can teach others, talk, and get into the process of education and exploring new specialties. Experientialist learning is the process of gaining data or acquiring a skill through direct, independent exploration of an object or task. Whether the experience was successful or not, the lessons learned can be retained in memory for years or even the rest of one’s life. Therefore, experientialist philosophy and methodology presumes teachers’ and students’ involvement in direct experience and purposeful reflection to increase or develop knowledge, skills, and values.
The critical reconstructionist tradition relies on an empirical model. It assumes consideration of the experiences and unique characteristics of the individual, such as race, faith, class, or gender. It promotes an awareness of each student’s individuality and the ability to select the proper strategies for learning (Schubert, 1996). The reconciliation should integrate various types of subjects to satisfy situational needs. On the one hand, is the content of multiple disciplines, and on the other is the experience of numerous people who share their subjective realities. It is not necessary to emphasize experience or discipline; these concepts can be combined.
I consider the social behaviorist tradition most attractive and logical. Its primary idea is that human behavior can be controlled. Moreover, it supposes that learning is conditioned by the stimuli which require favorable reinforcement. It is evident that selecting effective incentives and applying them accurately is necessary (Schubert, 1996). This treats the process of socialization and actual learning as testing of various approaches until a valid response is found. The behavioral model presumes a tangible impact on students and stimulates their interest and learning participation.
However, it is also crucial to state that any tradition independently is not the most reasonable choice for developing school curricula. It is possible to create a coherent curriculum that transcends the unfortunate dependence on primary sources by combining elements of each ideology and under well-trained instructors’ guidance. A basic tenet of traditional teaching and learning concepts is that the teacher actively imparts knowledge and the learner passively absorbs it. This state of affairs is the weakness of conventional notions of pedagogy. The individual who discovers prescriptively, linearly, systematically, and under external guidance gradually loses motivation and interest.
Traditional teaching was quite effective and produced a lot of valuable staff. However, the tendencies of modern social development challenge the relevance and rationality of this model. It is characterized by a systematic construction of training, clear logic of presentation of educational information, organizational orderliness, financial economy, and other valuable resources (Schubert, 1996). Nonetheless, curricula are standard, monotonous, and therefore ineffective. Moreover, little time is divided to developing students’ independence, and pupils remain passive and do not show initiative in cognitive activity. Thus, the traditional approach to learning is reasonable for a small number of students, so this model seems to be the least possible for practical use.
Consequently, Perspectives on Four Curriculum Traditions describes four types of pedagogical models, each with distinctive features. The traditional concept is the most outdated and, therefore, inappropriate for numerous students. It is challenging to identify precisely which tradition is the most appropriate for the learning process because each has positive and negative aspects. Only a combination of their elements and the proper implementation of individual methods can impact the curriculum pleasingly.
Schubert, W. H. (1996). Perspectives on Four Curriculum Traditions. Educational Horizons, 74(4), 169-76.