INTRODUCTION TO CURRICULUM STUDIES IN AGRICULTURE
1.1 What is a Curriculum?
A curriculum is the set of courses and lessons used by teachers or trainers to educate learners. The curriculum materials include the syllabus, pupils’ textbook and teacher’s handbook or manual. The JHS Integrated Science syllabus developed by Ministry of Education will be the main curriculum material to be studied. Let us then look at the what the syllabus is.
1.2 What is a Syllabus?
There many definitions. However, note that syllabus refers to the outline or description of the main contents of a subject matter that is taught in a subject. In other words, a syllabus is a summary of a course of study or programme of the main topics for a subject to be taught in the school. It could be described as the main contents of a subject matter that is taught in a subject. We could look at it as the summary of a course of study including the topics, objectives, methods, time allocation for each topic, references and evaluation criteria
1.2.1 Elements in Curriculum (Syllabus)
The elements of curriculum (syllabus) include the following:
The preamble: It is the introductory aspect of the syllabus and consists of rationale for teaching the subject, general aims, scope of content, pre-requisite skills and allied subjects, organization of the syllabus, time allocation, suggestions for teaching the syllabus, profile dimensions, definition of profile dimensions, forms of assessment, grading procedure and guidelines for continuous assessment.
Rationale for teaching the subject. This section states the outline of the underlying reason or philosophy for teaching the subject.
General aims. This lists the general purposes that the syllabus will achieve. The aims of the syllabus reveal the purpose and reasons for teaching the subject.
Scope of content. This is the extent to which the contents of the syllabus address the depth and breadth of the content of the syllabus; the balance between cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning domains, the needs of the subject, learners and society.
Pre-requisite skill. Here the various skills and subjects that learners have to acquire or study before they can effectively learn the subject are indicated. In other words, an outline of various skills that students have to acquire or study agriculture effectively.
Organization of the syllabus. This shows structure of the syllabus. The structure of the syllabus is such that its contents are arranged to ensure solid continuity in learning and a number of years each topic is divided. The arrangement of topics and tasks are often organized in sequence from simple to complex topics and taking into consideration the needs, interest and maturity of students into consideration
Time allocation. This part shows the number of periods (and their duration) that may be used in each week in teaching the topics in the syllabus
Suggestions for teaching the syllabus. Recommendations for the strategies, techniques and methods that may be used in teaching the subject are made.
Profile dimension. A dimension is a learning behaviour that the teacher makes effort to help the learner to acquire.
Forms of assessment This shows how pupils should be assessed. The type of assessment to use, the type of tests to use, number of examination papers and distribution of examination marks over the various dimensions are indicated here.
Grading procedure. This part shows the way tests that are done by learners should be graded. The letter grade system and the numerical grade system are indicated
Guidelines for continuous assessment. How continuous assessment would be use to assess the learners are indicated
The body:The body of the syllabus show how the units are broken down into specific objective, content, teaching and learning activities and evaluation. The unit shows the divisions of the major topic of the section in the syllabus. Specific objectives show the objective that should be achieved at the end of teaching a topic in a unit. The content is the body of knowledge or information that would be dealt with in teaching the topics in a unit. Teaching and learning activities show the various exercise and activities used to evaluate the topics of each unit. Suggestions are made for the teacher to use to effectively evaluate topics in the units.
1.3 Curriculum Studies
1.3.1 The Meaning of Curriculum Studies
Curriculum studies is about the study of the methods and systems used by teachers to build knowledge in learners. We study curriculum to assist students to learn how to design, develop, and improve the set of courses and lessons (curriculum) to educate learners. An important component of the curriculum study is pedagogy (instruction).
Curriculum studies is also concerned with addressing issues of equity, access, and voice in the teaching of courses.
The curriculum studies for agriculture will focus on the JHS Integrated Science syllabus material. You will be taught the systems, agriculture as a system, the linkages between agriculture and different sciences and applied science subjects and projecting gender roles, and issues relating to equity and inclusivity in curriculum delivery. The assignment and references provided will help you to study the curriculum in agriculture.