Curriculums are designed to guide a child’s intendedprogress in their learning. Regions, schools and teachers refer to thesecurriculums to structure and justify the learning that takes place. Curriculummodels are structured to increase knowledge, skills and complexity as a childprogresses in their learning. The philosophy that underpins the structure of acurriculum is demonstrated in the way the curriculum itself is structured.
Twogeneral styles of curriculum structure exist – linear described as stages inknowledge and experience ( Kinchin & Cabot, 2010) and spiral ( described as’spaces for experimentation in thinking and being’ (Gude, 2012, p78). Both arestructured to outline where a child should be on their learning journey,however their structure reflects the different epistemological beliefs heldabout children’s learning. Kinchin & Cabot, put forward that a linearapproach is identifiable by its singular progression through stages ofknowledge and experience (2010). Outcomes within a linear curriculum are taughtin isolation and are focused upon knowledge acquisition rather than conceptualunderstanding, such as in a spiral curriculum structure. Linear teaching isvisualized as teaching within a silo mentality, with little or no reference toother subject areas (Rose, 2015).
Similarly, a linear curriculum does notdevelop connections with other discipline area outcomes, but are singular intheir intent (Doll 1995). Whereas a spiral curriculum structure, because of itsconceptual base and continually revisiting of those concepts allows forchildren to make connections across discipline areas. At the foundation of a spiral curriculum is the beliefthat an active and engaged student is at the centre of the learning process.Timperley, Kaser & Halbert, argue that within a spiral of inquiry modellearners and their families are involved throughout the learning process, thelearners develop their learning agency (2014).
As they progress through their learning aspiral curriculum gives students the opportunity to consider concepts throughmultiple perspectives (Kitsantas & Miller, 2015). These multiple lenses addto the student’s depth and dimensional understanding of the concepts. Thespiral design of a curriculum into a spiral, gives students an opportunity tocontinually build upon their prior learning (Resurrecion & Adanoza, 2015;Jamie et al, 2016). These associations become the building blocks upon whichstudents construct their own meaning.