Concepts, Nature and Purposes of Curriculum The concept of curriculum is as dynamic as the changes that occur in society. In its narrowest sense, curriculum is viewed merely as a listing of subjects to be taught in school. In a broader sense, it refers to the total learning experiences of individuals not only in school but in society as well.
Different Points of View of Curriculum The different definitions of curriculum are influenced by modes of thoughts, pedagogies, political as well as cultural experiences.
1. Traditional Points of View of Curriculum “Curriculum is that body of subjects or subject matter prepared by the teachers for the students to learn”. It was synonymous to the “course of study” and “syllabus”
“permanent studies” where the rules of grammar, reading, rhetoric and logic and mathematics for basic education are emphasized (Robert M. Hutchins). Basic education should emphasize the 3 Rs and college education should be grounded on liberal education.
the mission of the school should be intellectual training, hence curriculum should focus on the fundamental intellectual disciplines of grammar, literature and writing. It should also include mathematics, science, history and foreign language (Arthur Bestor, an essentialist). discipline is the sole source of curriculum (Joseph Schwab). Thus in our education system, curriculum is divided into chunks of knowledge (English, Math, Science etc.). In college discipline may include humanities, sciences, languages and many more.
curriculum should consist entirely of knowledge which comes from various disciplines. Most of the traditional ideas view curriculum as written documents or a plan of action in accomplishing goals.
2. Progressive Points of View of Curriculum a listing of school subjects can only be called a curriculum if the written materials are actualized by the learner broadly speaking, curriculum is defined as the total learning experiences of the individual (This definition is anchored on Dewey’s definition of experience and education. He believed that reflective thinking is a means that unifies curricular elements. Though this is not derived from action but tested by application).
all experiences children have under the guidanceof teachers (Caswell and Campbell) a sequence of potential experiences set up in theschools for the purpose of disciplining children andyouth in group ways of thinking and acting (Smith,Stanley and Shores), all the experiences in the classroom which areplanned and enacted by the teacher and alsolearned by the students
the learning experiences and intendedoutcomes formulated through systematicreconstruction of knowledge and experiences,under the auspices of the school for the learner’scontinuous and willful growth in persona-socialcompetence; the cumulative tradition of organizedknowledge (Tanner D. & Tanner, L.)
Other definitions a plan for learning (Taba, H.); a course of study on a specific topic; includes all the learning experiences of the students as planned and directed by the school to attain its educational goals (Tyler) or for which the school assumes responsibilities (Popham and Baker)
that what is taught in schools; set of subjects, materials and performance objectives; everything that goes on within the school, including extra-class activities, guidance and interpersonal relationships in the school (Oliva)
a structured set of learning outcomes that come in the form of knowledge, skills and values; affected by important factors of program of philosophy, goals, objectives and evaluation