Chiro: Curriculum Theory – Part 2: Social Efficiency Ideology

Here you go, if you’re interested, the second part of notes of Michael Stephen Chiro’s book titled Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns (2013, SAGE). Covering Pages 57-98 (roughly, mind you, my study notes, take ’em or don’t).

Social Efficiency Ideology

Human life consists in the performance of specific abilities. Education should prepare for life, so education should prepare for those specific abilities.

A Programmed Curriculum

–       consists of a carefully sequenced set of learning experiences, representing a behaviour to be learned.

–       ”Behavioral engineering”: shaping learners’ behavior through the use of rewards or reinforcements.

–       Learning consists of a change in behaviour.

–       learning takes place only as a result of learners’ practice of the behavior they are to learn = what one does that one learns.

–       Three stages of learning:

  • congitive stage
    • demonstration of a skill to be learned -> learner store in memory an image of the skill that is to be performed. Try to execute the skill by talking or reasoning.
  • associative stage
    • eliminating errors -> practice makes perfect
  • automatic stage
    • continuing practice makes the skill automatic.

–       Simple skills -> more complex skills

–       All aspects of learning can be dealt with by using this view of teaching and learning.

Behavioral engineering

–       Behvarioral engineers have 5 tasks while developing curriculum

1. Obtaining educational purposes for the curricula

  • what skills learners should acquire.
  • ”clients”: society, scholarly organizations, parents, teachers, publishers and businesses.

2. Analysis of their program’s educational purpose

  • finding ”the sequence” of stimulus-response.
    •  task analysis, activity analysis, learning hierarchy

3. Creation of the learning experiences

      • activities in which students engage that contain stimuli association with the responses students are to learn

4. Organize learning experiences

        • creating a linear sequence of experiences

5. Evaluative measures to each learning experience

        • feedback to the engineers
        • need for additional work for students or can a student proceed to the next set of experiences

Objectives and Standards

–       Curriculum workers must determine what the consumer market wants in terms of a finished product, and they must determine the most efficient way of producing that product.

The Nature of Knowledge

–       knowledge is a capability for action that can be taught to learners

–       subjective and objective reality


–       Learning = change in behavior

The Child

–       Children are not viewed as entities who of themselves have meaning.

–       Children have meaning because they can develop into adults and serve their society.

–       Children are the ones who do the work in school.


–       Teachers job: Make sure that learners appropriately work through curricula and acquire their ”terminal performances”. Also prepares the environment in which students learn. Supervising students’ work. ”Manager of an assembly line”.

–       The job of teaching = fit the student to the curriculum and fit the curriculum to the student.


There are three important consequences of this view of teaching:

  1. Teacher’s role as manager removes the teacher from having any input in determining the ends toward which the student’s work is being directed. Teachers shouldn’t question the ends or means. Teachers are instruments of ends other than their own.
    1. a.     Teachers implement curricula created by developers. Developers create curricula to fulfill client needs.
    2. Only curriculum developers design the curricula -> ”ULTIMATE PRODUCT
      1. Quality does not suffer from variations in teachers’ skills -> standardization of educational processes and products and an inhibition of classroom flexibility, responsiveness and innovation.
      2. Teaching is evaluated by student success NOT by how humane, creative, enlightening or insightful it might be. -> The better the results -> better salary.


–       Reasons

  • Educators are accountable for the clients – evaluation in every step of the way (curriculum developers, teachers, students etc)
  • Social Efficiency educators see themselves as part of mainstream Science -> need for reproducibility, validity, realibilty and proof. Evaluation helps them demontrate that these qualities exist and their work is scientific.
  • Student’s performance must be monitored in order to make sure he has reached the needed competence to reach next level.
  • Feedback helps learner to shape their behavior.
  • The role of standards – are teachers qualified, are students qualified to graduate and is a school certified as achieving or underachieving.

–       The Nature

  • pass/fail – form, not a ranking form.
  • More important if teacher/student passes (or fails) not how high they rank.

Concluding perspective

–       A great impact in American educational system (practicality).

–       Preparing people for (productive) adulthood within society.

–       Useful skills rather than filling minds with information.

Next… Part 3: Learner Centered Ideology. Don’t hold your breath 😉


3 thoughts on “Chiro: Curriculum Theory – Part 2: Social Efficiency Ideology

  1. […] In Part 3 of my study notes on Schiro’s Curriculum Theory – Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concers, are the notes for the introduction of Learner Centered Ideology. In Part 1 are the notes on Scholar Academic Ideology and in Part 2 Social Efficiency Ideology. […]

  2. […] Schiro compares these four ideologies. My previous posts on the book: Scholar Academic Ideology, Social Efficiency Ideology and Learner Centered […]

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