You are on page 1of 9


The official curriculum

Can be simply defined by the way curriculum itself has been traditionally understood:
as the course of study, body of courses, or program of training at a school or university.
However, this conception fails to address its analytical significance in the field of
curriculum studies, where attention is directed specifically at what is formally sanctioned
by schools or other institutions of learning through their explicit educational offerings. To
speak of the official curriculum is also to raise questions about the relationship between
knowledge and power, ideology and institutionthe politics of education and teaching,
and processes of standardization, legitimation, and accountability that come to define
what constitutes curriculum.
2. The Taught Curriculum
Curriculum in our schools provides students with learning experiences that are
engaging, relevant and challenging, in learning environments that are stimulating.
Students are encouraged to be curious, be inquisitive, to ask questions, explore and
interact with their local and global environments.
Our curriculum enables each student to develop in a manner and at a rate that is unique
to that student. Learning is differentiated through the use of a range of teaching and
learning strategies that cater for the different abilities, interests and learning styles of
students. Students are supported to become autonomous, independent learners.
In our schools inquiry is the leading pedagogical approach, which allows students to be
actively involved and take responsibility for their own learning.
Inquiry, interpreted in the broadest sense, is the process initiated by the students or the
teacher that moves the students from their current level of understanding to a deeper
level of understanding. This can include:

exploring, wondering and questioning

experimenting and playing with possibilities
making connections between previous learning and their current thinking
making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
collecting data and reporting findings
clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
deepening understanding through the application of a concept
making and testing theories
researching and seeking information
taking and defending a position
solving problems in a variety of ways
reflecting on their learning
Explicit teaching of knowledge and skills is used to support the inquiry process. Explicit
learning outcomes and the learning process are made transparent to the students.

The Taught Curriculum


Discussion between teacher and students. Teacher will know students need
Have many interaction and from that help students to increase their thinking skills
Can help teachers to improve style their teaching in classroom
Students can observe how their teachers teach in classroom

5) The structured curriculum which engage the students actively in their learning
6) Teachers involvement with students and develop their understanding to a deeper
level of understanding
7) Teachers decisions and reflection towards their student by solving problems in
variety of ways
8) Written curriculum, which improve the teachers style of delivering message of
9) it is the implementation of the written curriculum
10)anything that is being taught or an activity being done in the classroom
11) taught curriculum is demonstrated through a lecture, group work or laboratory
12)this curriculum contains different teaching styles and learning styles to address
the student's needs and interest
3. The Learned Curriculum
There you have it. I told you we could do it! But notice what is and is not a part of this
definition. Absent from this definition are how the learning relates to the intended
curriculum, attributing the learning to teachers or anything they said or assigned (part of
the enacted curriculum), or that students actually demonstrated the knowledge and
skills they acquired and/or a score/grade (the assessed curriculum). So, students might
acquire knowledge and skills as a part of the schooling process (i.e., learn), but it may
not be tied to any of the other three curricular components in framework. Let's examine
each one of these components and how they could or should relate to the learned

The Learned Curriculum

1) Changes in values, perceptions, and behaviour that occur as a result of school

Students invent strategies for managing ambiguity and reducing risk
Giving vague and limited answers to minimize the risk of making public mistakes
Sensitive to the accountability system at work in the classroom
Students understanding and the experience that they gain from the curriculum

6) Unspoken lessons ,values ,culture that students learn in school

7) Students school experience with their peers, teachers and others from different
groups, ideas and behaviours
8) Reinforcement of values and lessons in students
9) Students learning and outcomes which involved in the curriculum
10)indicates what students have learned
11)this curriculum can be measured through learning outcomes
12)students only learned what they think is important and will be coming out for the
13)the learning outcome is determined through the results of the test

4. The tested curriculum is the one embodied in tests developed by the state, school
system, and teachers. The term "test" is used broadly here to include standardized
tests, competency tests, and performance assessments.
The tested curriculum seems to have the strongest influence on the curriculum
actually taught. In an era of accountability, teachers are understandably
concerned about how their students perform on tests. Much classroom time is
spent on developing test-wiseness and on practicing questions similar to those
that will appear on district, state, and national tests. And in almost every class,
students ask the perennial question: "Will this be on the test?" There is a positive
side to this emphasis on tests, when they take the form of performance
assessments. Gooding (1994) determined that teachers using performance
assessments incorporated the use of research-based teaching behaviors more
frequently than those relying on traditional forms of evaluation. Note, however,

that a recent study concluded that students in states with mandatory high school
graduation tests achieved less on a test of academic performance than students
in states with lower-stakes test programs (Neill, 1998)
The Tested Curriculum

Teacher more understand students ability when answering exam questions

Teacher can see progress of students when answering questions
Evaluate the students based on their level
Help children to achieve their goals

5)Tests prepared by the teachers to assess their students performance

5) The standardized test which the teachers deliver during the curriculum
6) An important part of curriculum, which is tested using tests
7) Student is tested for the assessment of their own and the schools experience
14)a way to assess the student progress
15)it is a series of evaluation that is being done by the teacher to determine the
extent of teaching
16)it done through paper-pencil-tests, state test, district test
5. Mandated Curriculum
A number of weeks into the school year, teachers start to get into the rhythm of their
work. The initial units of study are complete, beginning-of-the-year assessment results
are coming in, and classroom dynamics are starting to take shape. Teachers are
figuring out who their students are, which ones will require a lot of support, which will
require extensions to keep them challenged and engaged. September is the longest
month of the year for teachers because they dont yet know who their students are.
Once you make it past the Columbus Day long weekend, you know what lies ahead;
you have your work cut out for you.
Around this time a perennial dilemma arises for some, as teachers begin to review
available data and look ahead at their instructional goals for the year. One wonders,
what kind of impact is the curriculum I teach having on my students, and could I improve
the effectiveness of my practice if I were not tied to teaching that curriculum?

Its also a dilemma for those in charge of approving curriculum. Ideally, you want a high
quality curriculum that engages students, that teachers approve of, and that has some
record of success. Then everybody is happy.
Frequently, it doesnt work out that way. There is someone among a teaching force that
feels as though he or she could better serve students without the mandated curriculum.
Its not always black and white; sometimes teachers just want some flexibility to stray
from the curriculum from time to time. Sometimes teachers have that flexibility and
other times they dont.
When I was presented with this dilemma once years ago, my principal gave me some
sensible advice. He said, Youre a young teacher, and pretty confident in your ability to
teach math. But I want you to teach this new curriculum with fidelity for two years.
Then, after youve got some experience under your belt and you know this curriculum
inside and out, we can sit down and talk about which lessons of yours youd like to
incorporate into the curriculum. It made sense. Looking back, I was naive to think I
could create better lessons and assessments on my own, and after teaching that
research-based curriculum for two years I was indeed completely sold. It was a great
curriculum program.
Not all of these ready-made curriculum programs are great. Im of the philosophy that
any team of eager, open-minded and competent teachers can turn even a weak
curriculum into a success. The dilemma arises when you have a highly competent,
experienced teacher and a curriculum that does not jive with that teachers style. It
cannot be denied that some teachers are just really good at doing things their own way,
and thats what makes their classes special. For them, a mandated curriculum feels like
a hindrance, and a roadblock to achieving ones true potential as a professional
educator. Some teachers became teachers so they could be innovative in the
classroom, and utilize their expertise, whether it might be teaching mathematics,
reading, writing, or any combination of content areas. This happens at all levels of
public education, but mandated curriculum programs are most often implemented at the
elementary school level without total teacher consensus, because elementary teachers
teach all content areas and have various levels of expertise in various content areas.
You cant please everyone all the time, so eventually a decision needs to be made on a
curriculum plan. The modern trend is toward research-based curriculum programs that
include scripted lessons, textbooks and online components. It takes the

creative component away from preparing to teach a lesson, but it then replaces it with
carefully crafted lesson review and rehearsal.
I once transitioned to a school that had no curriculum at all, just a closet full of outdated
texts and old math manipulatives. I saw it as an opportunity to be innovative and
introduce my own lesson ideas. I enjoyed the freedom, but I quickly realized my own
unvetted lessons sometimes failed and were not as ingenious or as engaging as I had
predicted. That meant going back to the drawing board and revising. For the first half
of that year I designed nearly all my lessons, and all my assessments. It was
exhausting, and left me coming home late every day, and working until late at night.
Most public school teachers can remember a time when they have burned themselves
out. I distinctly remember that feeling when it hit It was after 10PM, and I was not
close to being ready for the next day. I put my head down and I cried. I was a 65
middle school teacher with a beard, with my head on my desk and tears streaming
down my face. I was up after 10 for yet another night cranking out my next days
lesson. And Id be up at five in order to exercise, have breakfast and bust into my
classroom thirty minutes before my students arrived. I still had to photocopy things and
get all my manipulatives together. I had no planning period the next day, and Id be right
back at it again the next night, planning lessons for the next day. I was having trouble
staying afloat, as they say. This wasnt my first year teaching, either, but it was my first
year in a new district. It felt like my first year teaching all over again.
As the year progressed, I began incorporating lessons from the curriculum I had taught
in my previous district, and life quickly got more manageable. For me, a less
experienced teacher at the time, flying by the seat of my pants, having lessons on my
computer from a previous districts curriculum was a saving grace. But the teacher I
replaced had retired after teaching at the school for thirty years. Kids and staff loved
her, and they performed well on standardized math assessments. She had no problem
working without a mandated curriculum, and probably would not have enjoyed having to
abandon her tried-and-true lessons in order to adopt one.
Thats the dilemma. Some teachers really need that mandated curriculum, whether it is
because they are not strong in a specific content area, or because they are
inexperienced teachers and not prepared for the task of teaching an improvised
curriculum. Other teachers are highly capable of pulling it off, and have been pulling it

off for years. For one, having that researched based curriculum, and all its resources, is
almost necessary. For the other, it feels like an insult.
This may be the result of an unique disposition of the teaching profession in the United
States. New teachers in this country come into the profession with a diversity of
experience and a wide range of confidence and ultimately, competence. Some
elementary teachers were math majors and are very confident in their math instruction,
while others came into the profession to share their love of writing and would prefer not
to have to teach math at all. For consistency and equity in instruction, their district
would arguably be better off just asking both teachers to tackle a mandated curriculum
program rather than innovate their own instructional units and assessments.
If there was no shortage of confidence in content teaching, this would not be an issue.
Some elementary schools address this by allowing teachers to specialize in specific
content areas, similar to middle school. For example, one teacher might teach multiple
math classes and no literacy, while another teacher in the same grade level teaches
multiple literacy classes and no math. Im a proponent of this model, as it allows
teachers to become specialists in a content area over time, if they arent already.
Ultimately, the kids benefit from that by getting their instruction from a confident expert.
The problem with this model is that among elementary teachers, most are more
confident in literacy instruction than they are math. So if an entire school implements
this model, it is likely someone will be stuck teach only math when it might not be their

6. Hidden Curriculum

That which is implied by the very structure and nature of schools, much of what revolves
around daily or established routines.
Longstreet and Shane (1993) offer a commonly accepted definition for this term the
hidden curriculum, which refers to the kinds of learnings children derive from the very
nature and organizational design of the public school, as well as from the behaviors and
attitudes of teachers and administrators. 46
Examples of the hidden curriculum might include the messages and lessons derived
from the mere organization of schools the emphasis on: sequential room
arrangements; the cellular, timed segments of formal instruction; an annual schedule
that is still arranged to accommodate an agrarian age; disciplined messages where
concentration equates to student behaviors were they are sitting up straight and are
continually quiet; students getting in and standing in line silently; students quietly raising
their hands to be called on; the endless competition for grades, and so on. The hidden
curriculum may include both positive or negative messages, depending on the models
provided and the perspectives of the learner or the observer.

7.Null Curriculum
That which we do not teach, thus giving students the message that these elements are
not important in their educational experiences or in our society. Eisner offers some
major points as he concludes his discussion of the null curriculum. The major point I
have been trying to make thus far is that schools have consequences not only by virtue
of what they do teach, but also by virtue of what they neglect to teach. What students
cannot consider, what they dont processes they are unable to use, have consequences
for the kinds of lives they lead. 103
Eisner (1985, 1994) first described and defined aspects of this curriculum. He
states: There is something of a paradox involved in writing about a curriculum that does
not exist. Yet, if we are concerned with the consequences of school programs and the
role of curriculum in shaping those consequences, then it seems to me that we are well
advised to consider not only the explicit and implicit curricula of schools but also what
schools do not teach. It is my thesis that what schools do not teach may be as

important as what they do teach. I argue this position because ignorance is not simply a
neutral void; it has important effects on the kinds of options one is able to consider, the
alternatives that one can examine, and the perspectives from which one can view a
situation or problems. 97
From Eisners perspective the null curriculum is simply that which is not taught in
schools. Somehow, somewhere, some people are empowered to make conscious
decisions as to what is to be included and what is to be excluded from the overt (written)
curriculum. Since it is physically impossible to teach everything in schools, many topics
and subject areas must be intentionally excluded from the written curriculum. But
Eisners position on the null curriculum is that when certain subjects or topics are left
out of the overt curriculum, school personnel are sending messages to students that
certain content and processes are not important enough to study. Unfortunately, without
some level of awareness that there is also a well-defined implicit agenda in schools,
school personnel send this same type of message via the hidden curriculum. These are
important to consider when making choices. We teach about wars but not peace, we
teach about certain select cultures and histories but not about others. Both our choices
and our omissions send messages to students.