What is

Subject-Centered Curriculum Design

Subject-centered curriculum design is one of three curriculum development models that revolves around key facts and skills associated with a discipline. Subject-centered curriculum design is often used in large, introductory-level courses such as math or biology. Students are expected to internalize and comprehend the standardized curricula across their courses. In practice, a psychology professor who teaches using the subject-centered curriculum model may emphasize key players associated with social learning, such as Albert Bandura. Educators who use a subject-centered curriculum model typically balance lectures with peer discussions and case study assignments.

Subject-centered curriculum design refers to a curriculum development model that contrasts against learner-centered design and problem-centered design. Subject-centered curriculum design supports the acquisition of knowledge and skills related to the course material presented. Knowledge must be adequately demonstrated in order to proceed to upper-level courses. Proponents of this specific model state that the subject-centered curriculum model prepares students for specialized careers and helps hone soft skills required for the workplace including communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Critics of the subject-centered curriculum model state that more emphasis is placed on memorizing facts and less focus on social-emotional learning skills. Plus, some state that students cannot study using their preferred learning style.

Subject-centered curriculum design refers to absorbing and acquiring foundational knowledge needed to pursue further studies and/or upper-level courses. Key features of a subject-centered curriculum model include a) content emphasis (mastering knowledge and skills), b) subject specialization (enrolling in specialized learning experiences to fulfill a subject requirement), c) disciplinary focus (familiarizing oneself with methods used in a given discipline) and d) hierarchy of knowledge (reviewing fundamental topics before moving to advanced processes or systems associated with a field of study).