The suggested instructional program aims at adding first aid education to the curriculum of Saudi Arabia schools. The rationale behind choosing this aspect is that school teachers’ and students’ current level of knowledge in the defined sphere is insufficient. As a result, both groups of individuals participating in the educational process cannot offer timely help to one another in case of an emergency. The process of designing a new instructional program should be viewed in regard to the alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The most important issue is to explain the necessity of introducing a new subject in the curriculum and overcome the resistance of schools to engage in the process.
Aspects Related to Curriculum Alignment
The design of a new instructional program is quite simple but, at the same time, complex enough to provide substantial positive change. It is recommended that first aid lessons be added in Saudi Arabia schools’ curriculum as a mandatory subject. In the current situation, it seems viable to view the curriculum as an “innovative pedagogical experiment” (Scott, 2016, p. 25). Social change is considered as one of the core factors impacting the need to adjust the curriculum. Scholars emphasize that governmental interventions in the curriculum do not always bring the expected positive results (Wyse, Hayward, & Pandya, 2016).
On the contrary, the initiatives suggested by those professionals who know how schools function from the inside can make a beneficial contribution to the enhancement of the school program. Therefore, to introduce the new subject to the curriculum, it is necessary to justify the needs for this innovation and work on attaining the set goals in collaboration with other school teachers.
Issues Associated with Instruction
School climate is highly important when talking about introducing change. According to DeWitt and Slade (2014), a sustainable and positive school environment promotes students; learning and development. Thus, the first aspect teachers should be instructed on is the necessity to cultivate a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. Miller and Macpherson (2019) report that without proper instruction and collaboration, teachers are not likely to support innovations.
Hence, it will be useful to present the project to educators and invite them in the process of creating the curriculum as well as instruction methods. By doing so, it will become possible to mitigate the potential risks of resistance to change. Two more approaches related to instruction may be recommended in this case. Firstly, it is a beneficial idea to work on the curriculum in teams, which will simplify the understanding of the process (Burrell, Cavanagh, Young, & Carter, 2015). Secondly, one may resort to curriculum visualization and mapping to explain the instructions easily (Schutte, Line, & McCullick, 2018). Hence, the explanation of curriculum innovations will not present considerable difficulties if the mentioned procedures are undertaken.
Another significant element of the successful implementation of the new subject is evaluation. Assessment theories involved in this process may incorporate the instructional system design, a systematic curriculum review, and critical instrumentalism. The instructional system design aims at judging the scope, coherence, and clarity of the project (Brant, Chapman, & Isaacs, 2016). The systematic review allows supervising the implementation of the innovation at every stage (Kirwin, Miller, & DiVall, 2019). Critical instrumentalism allows identifying whether the new subject prepares students to challenging situations sufficiently (Scott, 2016). Each of these assessment theories may be employed to measure the effectiveness of the project.
Academic rationalism is one the most foundational curriculum theories, focusing on essentialism. It suggests that it is the function of an educational institution to foster intellectual growth through emphasis on the most viable and worthy subjects. Doing this helps to strongly focus the student education, providing time and resources for extracurriculars or practical education. Therefore, the common practice in modern schools of expanding the curriculum, weakens and dilutes the absorption of information. Academic rationalism suggests that schools should offer basic studies of essential subjects that will stimulate students to pursue their interests in academia.
Furthermore, academic rationalists suggest that schools should focus on developing critical reasoning which guides action rather than simply providing information and products of work as is commonly done in modern day (Eisner, 2002). This fundamental approach to curriculum design can be effective at fostering independent thought and skill development while ensuring that the content provided by the curriculum is both essential and more likely to be remembered by the child.
This leads into the curriculum theory of the development of cognitive processes. It emphasizes that the function of the school is to help children understand how to learn and to provide opportunities to develop and utilize their intellectual capabilities.
This is a progressivism approach that focuses on the learner methodology of thinking about content, for which the curriculum is the source. This theory divides the mind into independent faculties or aptitudes such as the capability to speculate, infer, or solve problems among others. Some subject matter content can be crucial in developing certain faculties while others are strengthened through practice (Eisner, 2002). It essentially contributes to the transferability of knowledge, as modern education not only provides the material and teaches it, but helps students to become effective lifelong learners.
The justification of the project’s implementation is connected with the fact that first aid knowledge and skills among school teachers and students are too low to be regarded as satisfactory. According to research, the majority of school teachers do not know how to give first aid when they face the need for it (Al Gharsan & Alarfaj, 2019). Meanwhile, Saudi Arabic schools are under threat of natural and human-made disasters on a daily basis. When a student suffers from an injury or natural cataclysms, the teacher or peers should offer first aid immediately to be able to control the situation until the ambulance arrives. However, currently, the level of first aid knowledge among the target population is rather low (Al Gharsan & Alarfaj, 2019). Thus, it is crucial to address students’ needs in this respect via the following approaches:
- A mandatory first aid course will be useful for students because they will learn how to give first aid and how to behave in emergency situations;
- Adding a new subject to the curriculum will offer diversification and also will increase students’ interest in medicine;
- Action research theory will allow training students and supervising their skills simultaneously (Wood & Butt, 2014). As a result, the researcher will not have to divide the project into many lengthy periods.
The suggested project is based on the need to introduce first aid as a mandatory subject in Saudi Arabia schools. The main reason for this proposal is the poor level of first aid knowledge among teachers and students. With the proper instruction and assessment techniques, it will become possible to implement the necessary change. The proposal will be useful both to students and teachers since it will eliminate the incidence of injuries at school and will promote faster recovery.
Al Gharsan, M., & Alarfaj, I. (2019). Knowledge and practice of secondary school teachers about first aid. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 8(5), 1587-1593.
Brant, J., Chapman, A., & Isaacs, T. (2016). International instructional systems: Social studies. The Curriculum Journal, 27(1), 62-79.
Burrell, A. R., Cavanagh, M., Young, S., & Carter, H. (2015). Team-based curriculum design as an agent of change. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(8), 753-766.
DeWitt, P. & Slade, S. (2014). School climate change: How do I build a positive environment for learning? Alexandria, VA: ASCD|Arias.
Eisner, E. (2002). The educational imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programs (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
Kirwin, J., Miller, D. M., & DiVall, M. (2019). Lessons learned from evaluating a process for systematic curriculum review. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 83(1), 18-22.
Miller, K., & Macpherson, R. (2019). Curriculum reform and teacher agency: How national policy translates to the classroom. Impact, 6, 9-11.
Schutte, K., Line, D., & McCullick, C. (2018). Using curriculum mapping and visualization to maximize effective change. Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 8(2), 81-93.
Scott, D. (2016). New perspectives on curriculum, learning and assessment. London, UK: Springer.
Wood, P., & Butt, G. (2014). Exploring the use of complexity theory and action research as frameworks for curriculum change. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 46(5), 676-696.
Wyse, D., Hayward, L., & Pandya, J. (2016). Introduction. In D. Wyse, L. Hayward, & J. Pandya (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (Vol. 1) (pp. 1-26). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.