UNIT 1Definition and Concepts of Curriculum Studies in Technical Skills.

The knowledge on definitions and concepts of curriculum studies in Technical Skills.



UNIT 1                WEEK: ONE                     LESSON 1

Definition and Concepts of Curriculum Studies in Technical Skills.

SUBTOPIC: Definitions and Concepts of Curriculum

OUTCOME: The student teacher should be able to:

  1. State at least 2 definitions of Curriculum
  2. Classify definitions of Curriculum into Narrow, Broad and Midway
  3. State at least 3 characteristics of good curriculum definition


  1. Discussion on the origin of the concept “Curriculum”.
  2. Brainstorm on the common definitions of curriculum.
  3. Explaining that curriculum definitions can be classified into 3 and give examples.
  4. Discuss on the characteristics of a good curriculum definition.



Unit 1                          Lesson 1

Topic: Definitions and Concepts of Curriculum Studies in Technical Skills

Sub Topics: 1. Conceptual Definitions of Curriculum

                       2. Characteristics of good Curriculum Definition


Curriculum is often one of the main concerns in the educational field. A simple definition of curriculum is that it is an umbrella term referring to a course of study. “Curriculum” seems to be considered greatly as what teachers are going to teach and, in other words, what learners are going to learn. In fact, it is also closely related to how well the learners learn and it includes a lot of issues, for example, teaching curriculum, learning curriculum, testing curriculum, administrative curriculum and the hidden curriculum.

Meaning of Curriculum

Curriculum is literally translated from the Latin word – Curricere/Currere – which means – ‘A Race Course’ or ‘Run way’. In simplest terms the Race refers students’ experiences and activities and the Course means curriculum

In Education, the term curriculum is referred to ‘Work field of student’ or simply – a course of study

Definitions of Curriculum

  • “Curriculum is a tool in the hands of artist (teacher) to mould his material (pupil) according to his ideal (objectives) in this studio (school)”. – Cunningham
  • “Curriculum should be conceived as an epitome of the rounded whole of the knowledge and experience of the human race”. – Frobel’s
  • “Curriculum includes all those activities which are utilized by a school to attain the aims of education” – Munroe’s
  • “Curriculum is that which is taught to the students. It is more than reading and writing. It includes practices, activities, industry, vocation and acquiring knowledge”. – Horne’s

These are just but a few. There are multiples of definitions of the word curriculum and the following reasons have been assigned

  • It is difficult and problematic to give a concise and precise definition because of the different angles each of the authorities sees it.
  • The word curriculum means things to the many stakeholders in the education system
  • Stakeholders in the education system view each usage and meaning of the word is embedded within a particular ideology or set of beliefs about education and the world of work.

 Concept of Curriculum

The concept of curriculum is as dynamic as the changes that occur in the society.  Conceptually, definitions of curriculum have grouped into three, narrow, broad and midway definitions.

Narrow Definitions of Curriculum

            A good example of a narrow definition of curriculum is given by Webster’s New International Dictionary as follows:

“A course, especially, a specified course of study, as in a school, a college,

as one leading to degree”. “The whole body of courses offered in an educational institution, or a department thereof”

In the narrow sense, McNiel (1995) describes the curriculum as a course of study to be taught to students in an educational institution. That is list of subjects to be taught in school. A common feature of such narrow definitions is the fact it tends to limit curriculum to academic work in the form of taught courses. The program of studies, highlights of the academic work, the visible aspects schoolwork.

Stenhouse (1975) on his part, points out that a narrow definition of curriculum equates it with a written prescription of what it is intended should happen in the schools. The narrow definition lays down the ground to covered and to some extent, the method to be used for each subject within each class in each schools’ year.

Broad Definitions of Curriculum

An extremely broad concept of curriculum may like,

“Curriculum is what goes on in schools and other training institutions”

Mathews, 1989)

“All the experiences that learners have in the course of the living”

The broad sense of curriculum refers to the total learning experiences of individuals not only in schools but in societies as well.  Such definition like that of Mathews does not differentiates between but covers education and other experiences (non-educative and mis-educative). The broad definition of curriculum has the tendency to bring unintended negative outcomes of schooling and training.

The Midway Definitions of Curriculum

Examples of such definitions are

“All planned learnings for which the school is responsible”

“All the experiences that learners have under the guidance of the school” (Kerr, 1068)

“…. A series of planned events that are intended to have educational consequences for one or more students” (Eisner, 1994)

The midway definitions of curriculum shift the focus from course work or overall experiences of learners. The midway definitions, therefore suggests that the term curriculum can be stretched to the personal experiences and activities of learners. The midway definitions appear to reflect the educational state of affairs more accurately than the previous definitions.


Characteristics of a good Curriculum Definition

There are a variety of definitions in relation to the term “curriculum.” The indecisive nature of the term is owing to divided perceptions of stakeholders, e.g. students, educators, researchers, administrators, evaluators with their own agenda of emphasis in educational discourse. The void of uniformity reflects the complex nature of the concept of “curriculum” in its own right. A good curriculum definition should exhibit the following features of the curriculum. The definition should:

  1. comprise of educational experiences of schools (teaching and learning experiences) in the widest possible sense.
  2. indicate a plan of action, that is a plan which guides instruction.
  3. provide guidance to learners in their educational endeavours.
  4. indicate that the curriculum is a school or institutionally based phenomenon.
  5. indicate that within the school setup, the curriculum takes place largely in groups.
  6. permit individual learners to engage in self instruction
  7. indicate that the curriculum is carried out both inside and outside the school.
  8. indicate the curriculum consist of connected series of sections or operations.

The Characteristics of a Good Curriculum are as follows:

  1. It should foster the growth of development of attitude and skills required for maintaining a planned social order of democratic type. To put more concretely, it should contribute towards democratic living.
  2. It should not be narrowly conceived but dynamic and forward looking, sample adequately both the scientific content and the abilities of the pupils to the developed, should cater to the right use of leisure later on and should be related to the environment in which the children live. Consequently, it will then become exiting, real and imaginative.
  3. It should aim at bringing about an intelligent and effective adjustment with the environment itself. Further, it should enable pupils to acquire relevant scientific information of subsequent use in the significant areas of human living.
  4. It should be psychologically sound. It should take into account the theories of learning relevant to science teaching. Further, children’s capacities and capabilities, if taken into account, will lead to the development of differentiated curriculum. Incorporating geographical difference in it will be another innovation.
  5. It should provide sufficient scope for the cultivation of skills, interest, attitudes and appreciations.
  6. It must be mostly based upon the first hand experiences of the learners from all the significant areas of human living. These experiences are characterized by newness, novelty, challenge, stimulation and creativity. Science Content receives increasing emphasis as the children move to the higher grades.
  7. The Curriculum should be continuously evolving. It should be evolved from one period to another, to the present. For a curriculum to be effective, it must have continuous monitoring and evaluation. It must adapt its educational activities and services to meet the needs of a modern and dynamic community.
  8. The Curriculum must be based on the needs of the people. A good curriculum must reflect the needs of the individual and the society as a whole. It should be in proper shape in order to meet the challenges of times and make education more responsive to the clientele it serves.
  9. The Curriculum is democratically conceived. A good curriculum is developed through the efforts of a group of individuals from different sectors in the society who are knowledgeable about the interests, needs and resources of the learner and the society as a whole. A curriculum is the product of many minds and energies.
  10. The Curriculum is the result of a long-term effort. A good curriculum is a product of long and tedious process. It takes a long period of time in the planning, management, evaluation and development of a good curriculum.
  11. The Curriculum is a complex of details. A good curriculum provides the proper instructional equipment and meeting places that are often most conducive to learning. It includes the student-teacher relationship, guidance and counseling program, health services, school and community projects, library and laboratories, and other school- related work experiences.
  12. The Curriculum provides for the logical sequence of subject matter. Learning is developmental. Classes and activities should be planned. A good curriculum provides continuity of experiences.
  13. The Curriculum complements and cooperates with other programs of the community. The curriculum is responsive to the needs of the community. The school offers its assistance in the improvement and realization of ongoing programs of the community. There is cooperative effort between the school and the community towards greater productivity.
  14. The Curriculum has educational quality. Quality education comes through the situation of the individuals intellectual and creative capacities for social welfare and development. The curriculum helps the learner to become the best that he can possibly be. The curriculum support system is secured to augment existing sources for its efficient and effective implementation.
  15. The Curriculum has administrative flexibility. A good curriculum must be ready to incorporate changes whenever necessary. The curriculum is open to revision and development to meet the demands of globalization and the digital age.
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