Critical Reflection of Curriculum Design

Nowadays, there is no doubt that the world is changing at such a speed that no human can fully comprehend. Educators have to adapt quickly in order to craft academic curricula that fit the requirements of the contemporary environment. The sixth chapter of Curriculum: Foundations, principles, and issues by Ornstein and Honkins focuses on the skillset needed to design a curriculum, which optimized the learning experience and follows a clear vision. This reflection examines the content of the chapter in detail to dissect the complexities behind the process of creating a curriculum.

Firstly, it is important to recognize that the way teachers contemplate learning, education, and curriculum has a profound impact on the priorities they might have in curriculum design. The perception one has of such complex concepts is entirely subjective due to the influence of various realms of believing and feeling. Ornstein and Honkins (2018) argue that the educational fabric the society shares today is created through the connection of three primary conceptions. They include the idea of socialization, Plato’s academic idea, and Rousseau’s development idea. While each idea has “significant flaws that must be recognized,” a great educational environment functions off the combination of all the three (Ornstein & Honkins, 2018, p. 178). Avoiding hyper-socialization, which leads to indoctrination, can be offset only be recognizing individual uniqueness. Similarly, without adopting the base concept of academics, the notion of uniqueness can quickly turn into intellectual elitism.

The next key point the authors make is in regards to the interrelation between the main components of a curriculum. The chapter recognizes that the very nature of curriculum design is defined by “four basic parts (objectives, content, learning experiences, and evaluation)” (Ornstein & Honkins, 2018, p. 179). However, simply combining them is not possible as curriculum creation depends upon the complexities of the influence an individual’s disposition, political stance, or class might have (Strauss, 2021). Thus, it is crucial to consider essential political, cultural, economic, and social implications when designing a curriculum.

Curriculum design fails to generate results if it neglects the various views of society and the individual learner. Ornstein and Honkins (2018) note that any educational action is impossible if one’s beliefs and values are not recognized. For curriculum designers, it is crucial to clarify curriculum’s sources, which might include but are not limited to “science, society, eternal truths, and divine will,” as well as moral doctrine, knowledge, and the learner (Ornstein & Honkins, 2018, p. 180). Each source is interconnected with contemporary approaches to knowledge attainment and information processing.

When discussing the coordination between a curriculum’s basic components, it is crucial to consider curriculum design’s two primary dimensions: horizontal and vertical. While the horizontal structure blends curriculum components, vertical organization refers to the process of sequencing the elements. According to Ornstein and Honkins (2018), “the socioeconomic, political, and cultural factors” have to be considered before making decisions regarding vertical and horizontal organization (p. 184). No aspect of curriculum design should be separate from societal influences, so that educators ensure diversity remains a priority.

Lastly, the authors note the importance of design dimension considerations. They include “scope, sequence, continuity, integration, articulation,” (Ornstein & Honkins, 2018, p. 184). Furthermore, according to the text of the chapter, balance is another important aspect, which helps students “acquire and use knowledge in ways that advance their personal, social, and intellectual goals” (Ornstein & Honkins, 2018, p. 187). Each of these considerations is crucial to apply to whatever design an educator chooses.

In conclusion, the planet became a balloon, which continues to grow bigger in size as human knowledge expands, new technologies emerge, and the population grows. For educators, it is exceptionally important to recognize that the current times are dynamic. Thus, in the 21st century, a teacher had to adapt quickly in order to ensure students receive the most up-to-date information using the most efficient pathways of learning. Therefore, crafting a perfect curriculum is a challenge, both conceptually and in practice.


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

Strauss, V. (2021). The rapid creation of possibly the coolest new high school in America. The Washington Post, Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Critical Reflection of Curriculum Design." July 25, 2023.