UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO CURRICULUM
Definitions of Curriculum
Curriculum refers to:
All the experiences a child has under the guidance of a school (Caswell and Campbell, 1935).
All the courses or subjects which the school offers -syllabus.
It is a plan or programme of all experiences, which the learner encounters under the direction of the school (Tanner & Tanner 2006).
The formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciation and values under the auspices of the school (Doll,1978).
Curriculum includes all the learner’s experience, in or outside school that are included in a programme which has been devised to help him to develop mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and morally.
Everything that goes on within the school; including extra-class activities, guidance and interpersonal relationships.
Curriculum is a comprehensive plan for an educational/ training programme/course to offer new/improved manpower to fulfil the rising needs of a dynamic society.
Curriculum is the reconstruction of knowledge and experience that enables the learner to grow in exercising intelligent control of subsequent knowledge and experience (Tanner and Tanner 2007).
Curriculum is a continuous reconstruction, moving from the child’s present experience out into that represented by the organized bodies of truth that we call studies (Dewey, 1902).
It is the plans made for guiding learning in the schools, usually represented in retrievable documents of several levels of generality, and the actualization of those plans in the classroom, as experienced by the learners and as recorded by an observer; those experiences take place in a learning environment that also influences what is learned.
(Glatthorn, Boschee & Whitehead, 2006)
Implications of the Definitions of Curriculum
The central focus of the curriculum is the student or learner.
In other words, when preparing the curriculum, one must bear in mind the characteristics and needs of the student or learner.
It covers both official and unofficial activities such as club meetings, sports and excursions.
Learning is not restricted to the classroom or the school premise. Growth can take anywhere.
Students develop skills and competencies through a variety of activities and experiences that may not necessarily be counted as constructive credit for graduation.
Planned activities and experiences always take place under the guidance of a teacher or a supervisor.
Major Characteristics of Curriculum
1. The curriculum comprises the educational experiences of schools. ie. a school-based phenomenon.
2. The curriculum is a plan for action. That is it outlines:
content to be taught
statement of goals and specific objectives
statement of purpose of creation of curriculum and how to use the curriculum and
an appraisal scheme
3. The curriculum provides guidance to learners
4. The curriculum permits individual learners to engage in self-instruction.
5. Within the school setup, the curriculum largely takes place in groups.
6. The curriculum is carried out both inside and outside the school.
7. It is formal or informal; written or not written.
8. It is not solely teacher determined. The teacher is not the sole source of information.
9. It includes other unplanned activities which are educative.
Components of the Curriculum
The curriculum is like a blueprint that leads the instructor/teacher and the learner to reach the desired objectives. In its broad sense, it consists of:
1. Curricular policies
2. Curricular goals
3. Fields of study
4. Programmes of study
5. Course of study
6. Unit of study
In the narrow sense, curriculum components that assist both instructors and learners to meet the desired learning outcomes are basically four. These are:
1. Curriculum Aims, Goals and Objectives
2. Curriculum Content or Subject Matter
3. Curriculum Experience
4. Curriculum Evaluation
Components of the Curriculum (Broad Sense) Curricular policies
A set of rules, criteria and guidelines intended to control curriculum development and implementation.
Curricular Goals General, long-term educational outcomes that the school system expects to achieve through its curriculum. That is, there are specific goals for each subject or course. Fields of study An organized and clearly demarcated set of learning experiences typically offered over a multiyear period. In other words it is a branch of knowledge.
Programme of study
The total set of learning experiences offered by the school for a particular group of learners, usually a multiyear period and typically encompasses several fields of study. The programme of study determines the:
subjects to study,
courses to study
credit hours per subject and
total credit hours.
Course of study
A course of study is a subset of both the programme of study and the field of study. It is a set of organized learning experiences, within a field of study offered over a specific period of time such as a year, a semester or quarter for which the student receives academic credit.
Unit of study
A unit of study is a subset of the course of study. It is an organized set of related learning experiences offered as part of a course of study. Lesson A lesson is a set of related learning experiences typically lasting for 20 to 60 minutes or more depending on the level of education and factors relative to the schools, focusing on a relatively small number of objectives.