ICSD120307/220307 FW18

Winter 2018


Curriculum: organising the world for learning


Participants in the course will:

reflect critically on the nature of curriculum and the process of curriculum development;

evaluate approaches to the structure of the curriculum from a Christian perspective;

design a course that embodies a Christian curricular orientation and is consistent with the vision and goals of the developer’s school;

articulate a model for  course design that is faithful to a biblical worldview;

engage in dialogue with other educators to reflect communally on matters of mutual concern.


Curriculum is the selection and organisation of experience for pedagogical purposes. The criteria that determine what is selected and how it is organised articulate fundamental values about the nature of the world and our calling in it. This course will encourage critical evaluation of the criteria that are commonly employed and of how the curriculum can be shaped to better reflect a Christian worldview.  

Curriculum is conceived not as a static collection of materials, but as a dynamic plan that directs the learning process and governs the organically developing relationship between teachers and learners. Teachers are curriculum workers, charged with reflective responsibility as they conduct themselves in their profession. Whether adopting and adapting an externally prescribed curriculum or designing a curriculum from its inception, Christian teachers have a responsibility to ensure that the curriculum reflects a biblical worldview, in structure as well as in content, and that learners are invited to respond from their hearts in obedience to the call of God in Christ, Scripture and creation.


  1. Getting oriented: what do we understand by “curriculum”, what are some of the different approaches to curriculum structure and design; situational analysis of own school.
  2. Worldview: what is a Christian worldview, and how does it relate to curriculum development?
  3. Curriculum orientations and objectives: Eisner’s summary of orientations, Van Brummelen’s proposal for a Christian orientation, a consideration of the role of objectives in the process of curriculum planning.
  4. Knowledge, understanding, wisdom: a biblical view of knowledge, an integral curriculum model, a biblical view of wisdom, exploratory-understanding-level teaching and learning.
  5. Maps: mapping culture for the purposes of curriculum selection, and maps of how students learn, essential first steps before moving to that of organisation of educational experiences.
  6. Design: reflection on a number of approaches to curriculum design, and initial formulation of a model for a biblical approach to course planning.
  7. Meaning: the importance of teaching for meaning, recognising the coherence and interrelation of all things in Christ.
  8. Narrative: the role of story in the development of understanding; the teacher’s own curriculum narrative, connecting a student’s own story to the biblical story.
  9. Theory and practice: what role do theory and method play in the process of curriculum construction? How do teachers actually go about the task?
  10. Spirituality, justice and moral education: these topics are considered in the broader context of education for the formation of Christian character.
  11. The future: prognoses for curricular tasks in general, and in specific relation to the Christian school.


1.        Course blog                                                                30%

2.        Curriculum documentation and design project                        70%


Van Brummelen, H. (2002). Steppingstones to curriculum: a biblical path (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2004). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Bennett, B., & Rolheiser, C. (2001). Lesson design. Beyond Monet. Toronto, ON: Bookation, 116-139.

Bereiter, C. (2002). Learning to think differently about knowledge and mind. Education and mind in the knowledge age. Mahwah, NJ and London, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum, 174-210.

Bigge, M. L., & Shermis, S. S. (1999). How does exploratory-understanding-level teaching and learning proceed? Learning theories for teachers (6th ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 264-297.

Caine, R.N., and Caine, G. (1997). Teaching for meaning and the expansion of dynamical knowledge. Education on the edge of possibility, Ch. 6. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 116-125.

Clouser, R. A. (2005). A non-reductionist theory of reality. The myth of religious neutrality: an essay on the hidden role of religious belief in theories (rev. ed.). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 237-268.

Cook, Justin. (2011). “Awake. Love. Think. Speak.” A Narrative Foundation for Secondary School English Curriculum. Journal of Education & Christian Belief 15 (2), 109-124.

Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Narrative: your personal curriculum as a metaphor for curriculum and teaching. Teachers as curriculum planners. New York: Teachers College Press, 24-32.

Dougherty, E. (2012). Assignments matter: making the connections that help students meet standards. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 87-108.

Eisner, E. W. (2002). The centrality of curriculum and the function of standards. The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 148-177.

Glatthorn, A.A. & Jailall, J. (2000). Curriculum for the new millennium. In R. Brandt (ed.), Education in a new era. ASCD Yearbook. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 97-121.

Greene, A. E. (2003). Meaning restored to school studies. Reclaiming the future of Christian education. Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design, 165-177.

Groome, Thomas. (1991). An overview of Shared Christian Praxis. Sharing faith: a comprehensive approach to religious education and pastoral ministry. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 135-154.

Henderson, J. G., & Kesson, K. R. (2004). Curriculum wisdom in democratic societies. Curriculum wisdom: Educational decisions in democratic societies. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 1-24.

Huebner, D. E. (1999). Education and spirituality. In V. Hillis (Ed.), The lure of the transcendent: collected essays by Dwayne E. Huebner. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 401-416.

Kessler, Rachel. (2000). Meaning and purpose. The soul of education. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 58-72.

Lauritzen, C., & Jaeger, M. (1997). Narrative curriculum: the planning template. Integrating learning through story: the narrative curriculum. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers, 123-154.

McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2013). How do we design essential questions? Essential questions: opening doors to student understanding. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 28-41.

Marsh, C., & Willis, G. (2003). Curriculum planning in action. Curriculum: alternative approaches, ongoing issues (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill, 193-230.

Marshall, P. (1998). The wonder of learning. Heaven is not my home: learning to live in God's creation. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 51-69.

Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2004). Curriculum design. Curriculum: foundations, principles, and issues (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 235-270.

Posner, G. J., & Rudnitsky, A. N. (2001). Getting oriented. Course design: A guide to curriculum development for teachers (6th ed.). New York, NY: Addison Wesley Longman, 1-21.

Pratt, D. (1994). Curriculum and human well-being. Curriculum planning: a handbook for professionals. Forth Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College, 1-33.

Post, T. R., Ellis, A. K., Humphreys, A. H., & Buggey, L. J. (1997). How? A methodology of thematics. Interdisciplinary approaches to curriculum: themes for teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 25-42.

Print, M. (1993). Situational analysis. Curriculum development and design (2nd ed.). Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 109-120.

Purpel, D. E. & McLaurin, W. M., Jr. (2004). A curriculum for social justice and compassion. Reflections on the moral and spiritual crisis in education. New York, NY: P. Lang, 125-140.

Schmoker, M. (2011). How we teach. Focus: elevating the essentials to radically improve student learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 50-73.

Seerveld, C. (2000). Cultural objectives for the Christian teacher. In C. Bartholomew (Ed.), In the fields of the Lord: a Seerveld reader. Carlisle, UK/Toronto, ON: Piquant/Toronto Tuppence Press, 146-167.

Smith, D. I., & Carvill, B. (2000). Faith and method. In The gift of the stranger. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 149-169.

Stronks, G. G. & Blomberg, D. (Eds.). (1993). How do we think about curriculum. A vision with a task: Christian schooling for responsive discipleship. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 185-215.

Van Dyk, J. (1997). What learning objectives should I write in my lesson and unit plans? Letters to Lisa: conversations with a Christian teacher. Sioux Center, IA: Dordt Press, 13-24.

Walsh, P. (1993). Elementary maps for ordering cultural capital. Education and meaning: philosophy in practice. London: Cassell Educational, 118-144.

Wigginton, E. (1985). Making courses do double duty. Sometimes a shining moment: the Foxfire experience. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 386-411.

Wilson, G. (1996). The relationship of theory and practice in curriculum development. In D. Blomberg (Ed.), Humans being: essays dedicated to Stuart Fowler. Melbourne, Vic/Sydney NSW: Association for Christian Scholarship/National Institute for Christian Education, 355-394.

About the Instructor

Joonyong Um MEd, MDiv, PhD (Cand.)

I am pleased to learn in this course with you. I am a PhD candidate in Philosophy of Education, working on the implications of a theme of the Book of Job for the Christian schooling context in Korea. I live in Toronto and enjoy camping and reading books with my wife and two girls. My career began as a Gr. 10 English teacher in South Korea in 2000-2003. I was a youth pastor for Gr. 7-9 students in a Presbyterian church near Seoul in 2003-2009, when I was studying in a Presbyterian seminary, and was ordained in 2008. I was a curriculum researcher in the Christian School Education Research Center in Korea in 2006-2008. I completed the MEd (Curriculum and Instruction) at Calvin College in 2012, and was a student researcher in Christian higher education for Dr. David Smith of Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning. I co-authored ‘The scholarship of teaching and learning in a Christian context’ (Christian Higher Education 13.1) in 2013, based on my research.

I have been an instructor, session presenter, and translator in conferences and workshops for Christian teachers and parents, including the Christian Parenting Seminar for Korean-Canadian parents in Toronto in 2014 and 2015 (“A biblical perspective on public school education”); the Christian English Language Teachers Conference in Toronto in 2015 (“How can learning English help EFL students love strangers?”); a workshop for Korean-Canadian church teachers and ministers in Winnipeg in 2015 (“Youth ministry: Curriculum planning and small group management”); a Project-Based Learning Workshop for Christian Alternative School Teachers in Korea in 2016; the ICS Ways of Learning course in 2016; Korean Christian teachers’ groups in Ontario in 2016 and 2017; and a workshop at EDIFIDE 2017 (“Education as Emancipation: Helping International Students Thrive”). These papers and presentations were all born out of my final work for Dr. Blomberg’s courses.

I look forward to learning beside you!

About the Course Designer

Doug Blomberg PhD (Sydney), MEdSt, EdD (Monash), FACE

Doug is President Emeritus and Senior Member in Philosophy of Education at the Institute for Christian Studies. After completing a PhD focusing on the implications of a Christian theory of knowledge for school curriculum at the University of Sydney, Doug was called to Mount Evelyn Christian School in 1977, where he was a teacher, Senior High School Coordinator and later Vice Principal (Curriculum). He was also Principal of the (now National) Institute for Christian Education from its inception in 1978. In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Education for his ‘contribution to the theory and practice of Christian schooling’. In the following year he was part of a team researching the Christian school movement at Calvin College’s Center for Christian Scholarship. Doug has published many articles on Christian schools and other topics, as well as co-authoring and editing A Vision with a Task: Christian Schooling for Responsive Discipleship (Baker, 1993), Humans Being (NICE/ACS, 1996) and ReMINDing: Renewing the Mind in Learning (CSAC, 1998). In 2007, he published Wisdom and Curriculum: Christian Schooling after Postmodernity (Dordt Press).


Course Blog

Length:        Minimum 6,000 words (weekly postings of approximately 500 words )

Weighting:        30%

This assignment requires you to contribute actively to discussion through the course blog, which will be established once enrolments in the course have closed.

The Study Guide contains many places where you are asked to write responses to questions, to comment on readings, to evaluate your own understanding and behaviour, etc. Each week, you are required to post your reflections on these reflections – your ‘meta-reflections’ – to the blog. You may briefly summarise and then reflect critically on your own ideas and uncertainties, as these grow out of and extend the ideas you have already formulated and recorded in the Study Guide. You should raise specific questions and issues related to the topic that you feel are worthy of further investigation.

Just as important as posting your own reflections, you are invited to engage in dialogue with other participants in the course by responding with questions and comments on their postings.


Curriculum Design and Documentation

Length:                3,000-5,000 words

Weighting:                70%

This assignment comprises two complementary parts.

1. Documentation of a curriculum unit

Design a unit for a specified school level, topic and teaching period (no less than five hours and no more than a semester). Depending upon your teaching responsibilities and the conditions that obtain in your school, this can either be within one subject area or across subject boundaries. The documentation should make clear how the information you gain from the situational analysis conducted during the course has been used in the curriculum design process.

The curriculum design process should follow the model of curriculum development that you describe and justify in the second part of the assignment. You will need, therefore, to have conceived an initial outline of your model before commencing the design process. However, you should continue working on your curriculum development model concurrently with the curriculum design task, so that you can use your experience of curriculum design to test and refine your model.

2. A Christian approach to curriculum design

In the second part of the assignment you will present a model for the process of curriculum development that, in your view, will ensure that a distinctively Christian curriculum is the outcome. You will also need to give your reasons for believing this.

The essay should demonstrate that, in developing your model, you have interacted critically with the material presented in this course through the texts, readings and study guide. You will also be expected to show how your experience of the practice of curriculum design reflected in the first part of the assignment has contributed to the development of your model.