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Activity Based Curriculum, The role of Activity in Curriculum

The Activity Based Curriculum has also been given the name of a project curriculum
or an experience curriculum but the name activity is a fundamental conception.
Activity based instruction is the form of learning where the learner is actively engaged in a task. The
focus is on making the abstract concrete and on learning by doing. It can be teacher-driven - with
direction from an instructor - or learner-driven with the learner having freedom to explore.
With younger children there will definitely be lots of recognizable physical activity - perhaps physically
manipulating coins to learn money, or moving the hands on a paper clock to learn time. With older
children there will still be active problem solving occurring - even if it is with pen and paper more than
blocks and counters. Even students in tertiary studies can experience active learning.

When curricular material is translated in terms of activity. it is known as activity
curriculum. Learning of the prescribed material takes place through activities.
Activity is used as a media or means for imparting knowledge and skills.
Activity based curriculum approach is the greatest motivation, provides freedom of
expression to child 'himself fully. But activity should not be considered as synonym
for play. It is rather a play way of learning things. The emphasis is on the way and
then the activity becomes educative. Activity should not merely be considered as
physical activity.
By activity we mean physical as well as intellectual activity. The educator (teacher)
should engage students in activities in such a way that while manual skills are
gained there should be mental satisfaction found in the work. The students should
not be passive listeners, they should be active participants in the process of
learning. True learning is experiencing. While activity is the process then experience
becomes the product of activity. Activity results in experience. In fact activity and
experience cannot be separated-from each other. A purposeful activity must end in
gainful experience. The school must, therefore, plan its activities in such a way that
students gain mastery on various experiences. Such type of projects should be
completed under a problematic situation in a natural setting.
Activities which can be given in classroom situation:
The activities listed below can easily be provided in one form or the other:
(i) Oral activities: such as inviting questions and answers, narrating experiences
and participating in general class discussions.
(ii) Written experiences: such as selecting and copying relevant material from
books and journals, seeking information, making summaries, writing short book
review, taking notes and drawing diagrams.

(iii) Visual activities: such as reading and interpreting charts, diagrams and
graphs, studying apparatuses, specimens and pictures, seeing films and film strips,
and gathering information from bulletin boards.
(iv) Practical activities: such as setting up experiments both in the laboratory and
at science fairs and exhibitions, constructing and improvising apparatus, preparing
charts and diagrams and finding matter for the bulletin boards.
1. Relationship between theory and practical work.
2. The influence of the laboratory experiments on memory and acquisition of
scientific knowledge.
1. Activity based instruction appeals to those who enjoy learning through doing. However, not all
learners are active learners. Some learners are more reflective and like to observe, while others
enjoy theorizing and thinking about concepts without any practical work.But it does work for those
who are actively inclined.
2. Activity based learning can be fun and motivate those students who are used to everything
being entertaining, exciting, instantly gratifying and easy and who would otherwise be lost
because of their poor attitude.
3. Activity based learning does give the child scope for independent learning and exploring
something on their own without direction from a teacher.
1. Activity is just part of learning. Without reflecting on the activity; thinking about it in certain
ways to make a theory; testing that theory again etc. the active learning will have very little
lasting value. There will be activity but nothing particular gained from it. Active learning should be
balanced with other less concrete experiences.
2. Young learners can totally loose the point of the exercise and not gain anything from it. For
example, using paints to make a chart to supposedly learn about graphing can degenerate to a
painting exercise where the child simply think they are making a picture. The exercise is too much
like play and the child does not realise they are meant to be doing something totally different.
3. Active learning can become very trivial for advanced learners. When a concept is understood
and the learner is ready to move on it would be very tedious and time consuming to do some
practical activity based around the concept. Comprehension of the concept can be tested in more
efficient ways and the learner spared the hassle associated with lengthly practical exercises.
4. Focusing on activity to make learning fun can actually hamper those students who would make
good progress without it. Those more able learners can also come to believe that all learning
should be fun and be hampered in their attitude for tackling more difficult advanced matter that
does not so easily render itself to being made into an "activity".

5. Much advanced matter (in sciences and maths especially) is abstract and doesn't not lend itself
to activity. The learner may be limited in their learning pathway because of being directed towards
more practical elements of knowledge and applications of theories rather than the development of
raw theories in themselves.

Teacher Centered Curriculum, The Role of Teachers & Curriculum

In teacher centered curriculum design, the teacher is the center of interest. This
types of curriculum emphases the involvement of the teacher in the curriculum
development. Teacher plays an important role in the development of the student.
He participates in a number of activities at a classroom level. For instance, they
select teaching materials, teaching strategies, use of audio-visual aids and so on
So, teacher should take interest in any combination of curriculum development
decision making role at the school level. Following are the roles of teacher in
curriculum development
1. Implementers of developed curriculum
2. Adapters
3. Developers
4. Researches
1. Implementers
As an "Implementer" or receiver, the teacher role is to apply the developed
curriculum elsewhere. In this role the teacher has the minimum of responsibility and
involvement in the curriculum development phase of the curriculum process,
though he has a significant role in the application phase of this process.
2. Adapters
As an adopters, the role of the teacher is just the same as an implementer, this is
somewhat conceptual term which indicates that the teacher become ready to
accept the curriculum in order to implement it.
3. Developers
As a developer, the teacher role is to take part in the curriculum development
process. In Pakistan, some respective teachers are being invited to attend various
meetings held by the higher authorities in order to make contributions in curriculum
development or curriculum evaluation process.
4. Researchers
Curriculum is a dynamic process, keeping in view the characteristics, there is a need
to conduct research in order to bring about desirable changes in the curriculum.
Teachers in the most of the countries are taking part in various types of researchers
in curriculum development process. These are

1. To review the curriculum

2. To evaluate the curriculum
Finally the role of teachers and curriculum development are linked with one another.
1. As the curriculum is designed by the teacher, it become easy to achieve the
desired goals.
2. Subject matter become psychologically sound due to its relevance with the
interests, needs and level of the children.
3. Content/Subject matter is logically arranged. ~ Irrelevant material/ Subject
matter is avoided.
4. Teachers feel comfortable and confident in the classroom activities.
5. Democracy is encouraged.
6. Co-operation is developed.
7. Society/Community is also involved (directly or indirectly) in the development of
8. No objection is raised by the teacher in connection with the availability of sources
and resources.
9. When education is teacher-centered, the classroom remains orderly. Students are
quiet, and the teacher retains full control of the classroom and its activities.
10. Because students learn on their own, they learn to be independent and make
their own decisions.
11. Because the teacher directs all classroom activities, they dont have to worry
that students will miss an important topic.
Following limitations may hinder the process.
1. A change in the attitude on the part of learners, teachers and community is
difficult to develop.
2. Lack of sources and resources.
3. Hindrance due to rigid administration, planning and management.
4. It will become difficult to maintain a common standard in various institutions.
5. The existing curriculum for the teaching training institutions is not suitable for the
teacher centered approach.
6. A drastic change in the examination system/evaluation will be required.

7. When students work alone, they dont learn to collaborate with other students,
and communication skills may suffer.
8. Teacher-centered instruction can get boring for students. Their minds may
wander, and they may miss important facts.
9. Teacher-centered instruction doesnt allow students to express themselves, ask
questions and direct their own learning.
Student or Learner Centered Curriculum
Learner Centered curriculum the center of interest is the learner. The students are
given more importance in this type of curriculum design. Most of the education
experts and educational psychologists are in favor of this learner centered
curriculum. First of all Rousseau emphasized that education should be according to
the interests of the child. He should be provided a free and democratic environment.
The interest of the child should be a base for the curriculum design. Learner
centered design emphasizes individual development and their approach to
organizing the curriculum merges from the needs, interests and purposes of
students. Deweys contribution in this respect is an important one. He organized so
many child centered activity programmes. These programmes were based on the
scientific study of child's mental, physical, social and spiritual characteristics and
Principles of Students Centered Curriculum
The following are the principles of learner centered curriculum.

Freedom to develop naturally.

The teacher role is that of a guide
Interest is the motive of all work
Scientific study of pupil development
Cooperation between the school and home to meet the needs of child-life

Characteristics of Learner Centered Curriculum

Following are some basic characteristics of students centered curriculum
1. This type of curriculum gives importance to learner and considers child as the
center of interest which is the most natural approach.
2. The interest of the child is the most important factor in the process of teaching
and learning. This factor is highly emphasized in this type-of curriculum.
3. In this curriculum the teachers role is not that of a task-master but that of a
guide. In this curriculum. the child is treated as, plant, the teacher as gardener and
the school as a garden. Thus, and child grows and develops in a natural
4. Students centered curriculum gives several options (special activities, exploratory
courses and other experiences) to the students. The options are based on
knowledge of learner characteristics.

5. Students are actively involved in planning and evaluation of the options in

general and for themselves in particular.
6. Learner centered curriculum points out that the more experience in life a child
has the more eager he will to learn.


talk more and involve themselves in discussion.

share their ideas
learn from each other
are more involved
feel more secure and less anxious

6. Student learn subject in a meaningful, realistic way.

7. Students learn important communicative and collaborative skills through

group work.
8. Students learn to direct their own learning, ask questions and complete tasks
9. Students are more interested in learning activities when they can interact
with one another and participate actively.

It takes more time

Not suitable for large classes
Not enough learning materials
Student Feel nervous, embarrassed, or tongue-tied
Speak English and make a lot of mistakes
Speak in their native language, not in English
Students sometimes not enjoy working together.

8. Because students are talking, classrooms are often busy, noisy and chaotic.
9. Teachers must attempt to manage all students activities at once, which can
be difficult when students are working on different stages of the same

Because the teacher doesnt deliver instruction to all students at once,

some students may miss important facts.


Some students prefer to work alone, so group work can become


Subject or Content Centered Curriculum

In subject curriculum each subject is taught as a separate unit. In this pattern of
curriculum organization a student may take four or five different subjects each
taught by a different teacher and at a separate period of the school day.
Any relationship which may exist between two or more subjects is left unnoticed by
a teacher who always try to think about his own courses. The vast increase in
content of all areas of life has introduced the necessity of specialization in an
educational programme. Thus we find it necessary to train teachers relatively in
small areas of human knowledge but they remain ignorant in other areas. The
subject curriculum has also led to the acceptance of subject matter as the main
goal to be achieved in education. This has caused great emphasis to be given to
such tasks as definition, classification and memorization. Application, analysis and
problem solving have been largely neglected.
Characteristics of Subject Centered Curriculum
Following are the characteristics of Subject Centered Curriculum

Learning subject matter is an end in itself.

There is a predetermined uniform standard of knowledge.
Practice in skills is emphasized.
Emphasis is placed upon acquiring information for future use.
Progress is measured by how much of the subject a pupil has learnt.
Each subject is distinct entity (unit) with a logical organization of its own.
Subject matter is selected by adults previous to the teaching, learning

1. This type of curriculum is more appropriate for intellectual development. An
individual learner to think as the physicist, botanist, and geologist and so on. If he
cannot learn so to think, the fault is to be found in instruction and not in the
curriculum pattern.
2. It provides maximum security for both the teacher and the student. The teacher
knows what is expected of him to teach. The students also know what is expected of
them i.e. how much they have to cover. This provides them with a constant source
of security.
3. It assumes a logically sound framework for the organization of subject matter
used. of cause and effect principle in science and the chronological order of the
historical events (may not be psychologically sound) but they assumed an order and
are consistent to learning experiences, which might otherwise be disorder.

4. Its evaluation is very easy. Achievement based testing is the only type of
evaluation needed for the mastery of the subject matter.
5. It has a bright future. Subject approach is useful for specialization in any branch
of knowledge. The continued increase in the store of human knowledge will cause
specialization to become more effective.
1. (Separation) Subject-centered curriculum prevents students from understanding
the wider context of what they're learning. In the traditional method of learning,
students learn math in one period, reading in another, science in another and social
studies in yet another, separate class. Every subject is taught as though it exists in
and of itself without regard for how one subject impacts another subject.
2. (Lack of Integration) A traditional subject-centered curriculum so focuses on
each subject in an individual context, students don't understand how one subject
impacts another subject or how each works together. Learning is fragmented into
little boxes instead of flowing together toward deeper comprehension of subject
matter as a whole. Students are not taught to use different aspects of their
knowledge in an integrated fashion.
3. (Passivity) In the traditional or subject-centered curriculum, students are
discouraged from entertaining a different point of view than what textbook or
teacher presents. The subject matter has already been chosen by experts in the
different subjects, by school boards and by teachers and deemed of value for
students to learn.
4. (Authority) The traditional subject-centered curriculum depends upon a system
of authority. Students are not part of the authority hierarchy. Their needs are
considered only in conjunction with type and difficulty level of the material. Subjectcentered learning does not offer a wide range of options that take into account ethic
background, family situations that impact learning or different learning styles of