What is curriculum?

• Curriculum is said to be a very ill-defined term (Huang, 1991). • It may carry different meanings when used by teachers, schools and academics. What makes the matter worse is that it is used interchangably with terms like syllabus, examination syllabus and instruction (Chang, 1998). • In this session, we would try to clarify what it is.

Syllabus and Curriculum
• "A syllabus is typically a list of content areas which are to be assessed.” (Print, 1993) • "A curriculum shows by what kind of educational activities the teacher will fulfill the requirements of the syllabus.... The curriculum is primarily concerned with method and therefore with education; it is made up of pedagogical directives, intended to provide assistance, advice, suggestions and information to assist the teachers in carrying out his task successfully.." (Dottrens, 1962).

• "The curriculum usually contains a statement of aims of specific objectives, it indicates some selection and organization of content, it either implies or manifest certain patterns of learning and teaching, whether because the objectives demand them or because the content organization require them. Finally it induces a program of evaluation of the outcomes." (Taba, 1952)

• "...learning takes place through the experiences the learner has ... 'learning experience' is not the same as the content with which a course deals... [The curriculum consists of] ... all of the learning of students which is planned by and directed by the school to attain its educational goals." (Tyler, 1949)

• "Some claim that a curriculum is the content or objectives for which schools hold students accountable. Others claim that a curriculum is the set of instructional strategies teaches plan to use." (Posner, 1995, p.5)

What are the major elements of curriculum?

Elements of a curriculum
Objectives Content Methods Evaluation

Curriculum Dimensions
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Platform Objectives Student entry behaviours Assessment tools & procedures Instructional materials Learning experiences Teaching strategies Content Time

Curriculum and Instruction
• "Curriculum is 'a system of planned actions for instruction' and instruction is the 'system for putting the plans into action.” (MacDonald, 1965) • "Basically the curriculum is what happens to children in school as a result of what teachers do." (Kansas, 1958)

• "By 'curriculum' we mean the planned experiences offered to the learner under the guidance of the school.” (Wheeler, 1967) • "Instruction is the delivery of information and activities learners' attainment of intended, specific learning goals. In other words, instruction is the conduct of activities that we focused on learners learning specific things." (Smith & Ragan, 1993, p.2)

• "A curriculum consists of all those learnings intended for a group of student or group of students." (Goodlad, 1963) • "When people speak of 'the school curriculum'... they include not only the available subject curricular but also all the other educational encounters -- relating to personal relationships, moral attitudes, social habits and so forth -offered by the school. In this sense, in fact, the curriculum is as wide as the entire set of chosen activities by which the school seeks to achieve its educating purposes..." (Becher & Maclure, 1978)

Which of the above definition is more appropriate?

• School curriculum and subject curriculum • Formal, informal and hidden curriculum • Learning experiences

• What is hidden curriculum? • Is there anything wrong with the term? • Have you considered the importance of informal and hidden curriculum? • Could you quote some examples of hidden curriculum in your school?

Hidden curriculum
• • • • • • • • • unstudied curriculum implicit curriculum invisible curriculum unwritten curriculum covert curriculum latent curriculum silent curriculum the by-products of schooling what schooling does to people

Major meanings of hidden curriculum
• The unofficial expectations, implicit but expected messages • unintended learning outcomes • implicit messages arising from the structure of schooling • created by the students
Portelli, 1993

School: edu. institution which provides educative experience
• • • • • • What knowledge is most worthwhile? Why is it worthwhile? How is it acquired or created? Where should it be taught? When should it be taught? For whom?
Schubert, 1986

Basic questions underlying curriculum work
1) Who should be educated? 2) What should be the goals of education? 3) What should be the content of education? 4) Should the content be organized as child-centered, society-centered, subject-centered, or some variations such as child-in-society? 5) How should objectives be formulated and evaluated? 6) Should there be multiple organizations and alternative forms of school programs?

7) What systems and materials need to be developed to achieve successful and efficient experiences for children? 8) Who should be responsible for designing and developing the curriculum? 9) Who should be responsible for instructional methodology? 10) Who should be responsible for evaluation?
Longstreet & Shane, 1993, p.41

“No single definition of curriculum is accepted among practitioners of the field.”
Longstreet & Shane, 1993, p.47

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