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Chapter 4

Definitions of Curriculum



Curriculum is all of the

experiences children
have under the guidance
of teachers.
Curriculum encompasses
all learning opportunities
provided by school.
Curriculum is a plan for
all experiences which
the learner encounters
in school.

Who owns the curriculum?

A teacher in a public school is an

employee of the district, which is an
educational entity of the state.
It is the state, the governor, the
legislature (the state dept. of
education or state board of
education) which has ultimate
responsibility over the curriculum.

CurriculumThomas Popkewitz

I view curriculum as a particular,

historically formed knowledge that inscribes
rules and standards by which we reason
about the world and our self as a
productive member of that world.
Curriculum is a disciplining technology that
directs how the individual is to act, feel,
talk, and see the world and the self. As
such, curriculum is a form of social

Curriculum and Power Relationships

Expert knowledge shapes our thinking

about much in our daily life.
We think of it as natural but it is
notit is built from expert systems of
We assume expert knowledge to be

Which do you know for sure is




The earth rotates around the

Its autumn in the northern


God loves you.


You are alive.

Curriculum Standards

Nothing newin 1909 E.L. Thorndike

developed handwriting standards
measuring students penmanship
Standards consider content and
performance and remove the need for
teachers to guess or make inferences about
what students need to know
Content standards specify what students
should know and be able to do
Performance standards specify the evidence
needed to demonstrate achievement

Standards and Curriculum

Although most educatorsargue that these

standards are not the curriculum, standards
do suggest the learning experience and
opportunities that students should have
under the guidance of the teachers.
for many teachers, the standards have
become the fusion of teachers public,
professional, and personal knowledge that
disciplines their choices and possibilities,
and must therefore be thought of as the
effects of power.

The Overt Curriculum

The overt curriculum is the open, or public,

dimension and includes current and
historical interpretations, learning
experiences, and learning outcomes.
Openly discussed, consciously planned,
usually written down, presented through
the instructional process
Textbooks, learning kits, lesson plans,
school plays etc.

Overt Curriculum

Provides students with science,

history, math, literature
Provides students with the knowledge
society wants them to havebeyond
the academics
Social Responsibilitythe overt
curriculum should be societys
messenger (Benjamin Franklin)

Societys Messsenger

In the 1600sfor religious purposes

Old Deluder Satan laws (1642)
In order to organize what students
should learn and teachers should
teach, The New England Primer was
published (1690)
In the late 1700s and 1800s,

The Hidden Curriculum

The processesthe noise by which the

overt curriculum is transmitted
they are also learning and modifying
attitudes, motives, and values in
relationship to the experiencesin the
The nonacademic outcomes of formal
education are sometimes of greater
consequencethan is learning the subject

Results of the Hidden Curriculum

Notions of truth, ways of thinking,

unstated implications
Appraisals of self-worth
Social Roles
Middle-Class Perspectives
Attitudes and Behavior Required for

I see myself


an A kind of person
a future leader in my field
a hard worker
a solid middle class member

The What Knowledge Debate

The Scopes trialbefore Scopes,

religious faith was the common, if not
universal, premise of American
thought; after Scopes, scientific
skepticism prevailed.
A Nation at Risk (1983) return to the

The Whose Knowledge Debate

our arguments over curriculum are

also our arguments over who we are
as Americans, including how we wish
to represent ourselves to our children
The Canondefining what is central
and what is marginal

Curriculum Organization

Societal levelpoliticians, special

committees, experts
Institutional levelset at the school,
district, collegeusually set along
subject matter disciplines
Instructional levelteacher planning
and teaching students
Ideological levellearning theorists
and subject matter specialists