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Curriculum Leadership and Development

Curriculum Leadership and Development

Curriculum development is a process that entails identifying goals for learning, selecting content to meet the plans, and arranging activities to help learners achieve the goals (Osher et al., 2020). Pieters et al. (2019) agree that the influence of social forces and learning styles on curriculum leadership can be seen in the selection of content, the arrangement of activities, and how goals are set. Educational theorists have long debated the role of social forces and human development in curriculum leadership (Pieters et al., 2019). Human development theorists focus on the individual learner, while social force theorists examine the larger society. The learning styles and the influence of social forces, human development theories, and curriculum leaders impact how content is selected for a given course. It shapes how activities are set up to help learners meet their goals for learning.

Social forces

The society in which people live affects curriculum development and leadership in many ways. Social forces such as the economy, politics, technology, and social attitudes influence curriculum leaders to take specific educational objectives, goals for learning, and content selection (Uljens, 2018). For instance, the economy may affect the curriculum leader’s position toward a conservative approach to learning, while social attitudes may lead them to take a more liberal stance. When members of society are struggling with poverty and unemployment, curriculum leaders may view education as valuable to economic development. Curriculum leadership will opt for an emphasis on job training and industry-specific skills. When society is experiencing political tensions or social unrest, curriculum leaders focus more on developing students’ ability to engage in civic action. Curriculum leadership will want to prepare students for increased engagement with their community to participate actively in democracy.

Social forces also entail the impact of globalization on the curriculum. Students must be familiar with different cultures with the increased movement of people and goods worldwide. It can be done by studying other countries’ history, literature, and arts. Curriculum leaders also need to consider how environmental forces are shaping education. For example, curriculum leaders must include ecological science in the school’s biology course in response to global warming.

Human development

Theories of human behavior and growth have long been applied to education. The work that Piaget did on cognitive development is used by many educators when creating curricula for students of different ages or grade levels. Learning theories are also helpful in curriculum development and leadership (Osher et al., 2020). For example, when an adult is enrolled in a graduate program, they will take appropriate courses to their level of knowledge. Curriculum leaders must plan their curricula to follow the natural human developmental process by which people progress from one stage to another (Brody, 2018). Besides, in response to the digital age, many schools are moving to a one-to-one technology model in which each student has their device. Curriculum leaders must consider how this will impact students’ development and create curricula that utilize the new technology.

Human development also impacts how curriculum leaders are trained. Colleges and universities offer online programs to reach a broader range of students who may not attend school full-time or at all due to family obligations, work schedules, or other constraints on their time (Pieters et al., 2019). Human development theories influence curriculum leadership by focusing on learners’ thinking and learning. Learning styles are the preferred approaches to learning, thinking processes, and problem-solving that can influence curriculum leaders’ decisions about how students should be taught to learn successfully (Yang & Li, 2019). The most common approach is the VARK model, which classifies learners into four categories: visual learners, who learn best by seeing things; auditory learners, who prefer listening; reading/writing learners, who learn best through words; and kinesthetic learners, who like physical activity. Curriculum leaders are influenced by the learning styles of their students when they design curricula that will be most effective for each group.

Curriculum leadership also influences human development because it impacts how teachers are trained to teach students in different grades (Malik & Bhatti, 2020). For example, a teacher who trains to teach kindergarten students may not be as effective when teaching high school students because they have never been trained in the specific course material taught at that grade level.

Learning styles

Learning styles are the preferred approaches to learning, thinking processes, and problem-solving that can influence curriculum leaders’ decision process about how students should be taught for them to learn successfully (Gonzalez et al., 2018). The method of curriculum leadership, decision-making, and policy development is complex and can be influenced by the learning styles of those involved. For instance, some students learn best in mathematics by seeing the numbers and working through them, whereas others learn better when they physically move objects around. Sometimes, curriculum leaders can adapt to different learning styles so all students can understand the material. However, it is sometimes impossible to accommodate everyone’s style, so teachers must find a middle ground that works well with most of their students.


Curriculum leaders must adapt their curricula to match the natural developmental process of learners for them to learn successfully. They must also consider how new technology will impact students’ ability to reach their full potential and consider how teachers are trained before designing curricula for different grade levels. Finally, they must be aware of the different learning styles of their students to make decisions that will benefit the most significant percentage of learners possible.


Brody, D. (2018). Constructing Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessing Young Children in Israel’s Mosaic of Cultures. In International Handbook of Early Childhood Education (pp. 1191-1210). Springer, Dordrecht.

Gonzalez, C. M., Garba, R. J., Liguori, A., Marantz, P. R., McKee, M. D., & Lipson, M. L. (2018). How to make or break implicit bias instruction: implications for curriculum development. Academic medicine: Association of American Medical Colleges journal, 93(11), S74.

Malik, A., & Bhatti, T. F. (2020). Curriculum Development and Implementation: Factors Contributing Towards Curriculum Development in a Private University. Psychology and Education Journal, 57(9), 1162-1167.

Osher, D., Cantor, P., Berg, J., Steyer, L., & Rose, T. (2020). Drivers of human development: How relationships and context shape learning and development1. Applied Developmental Science, 24(1), 6-36.

Pieters, J., Voogt, J., & Pareja Roblin, N. (2019). Collaborative curriculum design for sustainable innovation and teacher learning (p. 424). Springer Nature.

Uljens, M. (2018). Understanding Educational Leadership and Curriculum Reform: Beyond Global Economism and Neo-Conservative Nationalism. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 2(2-3), 196-213.

Yang, W., & Li, H. (2019). Changing culture, changing curriculum: a case study of early childhood curriculum innovations in two Chinese kindergartens. The Curriculum Journal, 30(3), 279-297.

Yang, W., & Li, H. (2019). Changing culture, changing curriculum: a case study of early childhood curriculum innovations in two Chinese kindergartens. The Curriculum Journal, 30(3), 279-297.


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Curriculum Leadership and Development

Curriculum Leadership and Development

Analyze social forces, human development, and learning styles and how they relate to curriculum development and leadership.

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