What is curriculum?
• Curriculum is said to be a very ill-defined term
• 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
Elements of a curriculum
Curriculum and Instruction
• "Curriculum is 'a system of planned actions
for instruction' and instruction is the 'system
for putting the plans into action.”
• "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,
• "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
• Formal, informal and
• 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?
• 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
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?
Basic questions underlying
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
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