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In education, a curriculum (; plural: curricula or curriculums) is broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. The term often refers specifically to a planned sequence of instruction, or to a view of the student's experiences in terms of the educator's or school's instructional goals. In a 2003 study Reys, Reys, Lapan, Holliday and Wasman refer to curriculum as a set of learning goals articulated across grades that outline the intended mathematics content and process goals at particular points in time throughout the K–12 school program. Curriculum may incorporate the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives. Curriculum is split into several categories, the explicit, the implicit (including the hidden), the excluded and the extra-curricular.
Curricula may be tightly standardized, or may include a high level of instructor or learner autonomy. Many countries have national curricula in primary and secondary education, such as the United Kingdom's National Curriculum.
UNESCO's International Bureau of Education has the primary mission of studying curricula and their implementation worldwide.
- Step 1: Diagnosis of needs.
- Step 2: Formulation of objectives.
- Step 3: Selection of content.
- Step 4: Organization of content.
- Step 5: Selection of learning experiences.
- Step 6: Organization of learning experiences.
- Step 7: Determination of what to evaluate and of the ways and means of doing it.
- Kerr defines curriculum as, "All the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside of school."
- Braslavsky states that curriculum is an agreement among communities, educational professionals, and the State on what learners should take on during specific periods of their lives. Furthermore, the curriculum defines "why, what, when, where, how, and with whom to learn."
- Outlines the skills, performances, attitudes, and values pupils are expected to learn from schooling. It includes statements of desired pupil outcomes, descriptions of materials, and the planned sequence that will be used to help pupils attain the outcomes.
- The total learning experience provided by a school. It includes the content of courses (the syllabus), the methods employed (strategies), and other aspects, like norms and values, which relate to the way the school is organized.
- The aggregate of courses of study given in a learning environment. The courses are arranged in a sequence to make learning a subject easier. In schools, a curriculum spans several grades.
- Curriculum can refer to the entire program provided by a classroom, school, district, state, or country. A classroom is assigned sections of the curriculum as defined by the school.
- Through the readings of Smith, Dewey, and Kelly, four curriculums could be defined as:
- Explicit curriculum: subjects that will be taught, the identified "mission" of the school, and the knowledge and skills that the school expects successful students to acquire.
- Implicit curriculum: lessons that arise from the culture of the school and the behaviors, attitudes, and expectations that characterize that culture, the unintended curriculum.
- Hidden curriculum: things which students learn, ‘because of the way in which the work of the school is planned and organized but which are not in themselves overtly included in the planning or even in the consciousness of those responsible for the school arrangements (Kelly, 2009). The term itself is attributed to Philip W. Jackson and is not always meant to be a negative. Hidden curriculum, if its potential is realized, could benefit students and learners in all educational systems. Also, it does not just include the physical environment of the school, but the relationships formed or not formed between students and other students or even students and teachers (Jackson, 1986).
- Excluded curriculum: topics or perspectives that are specifically excluded from the curriculum.
- Extracurricular: May include school-sponsored programs, which are intended to supplement the academic aspect of the school experience, or community-based programs and activities. Examples of school-sponsored extracurricular programs include sports, academic clubs, and performing arts. Community-based programs and activities may take place at a school (after hours) but are not linked directly to the school. Community-based programs frequently expand on the curriculum that was introduced in the classroom. For instance, students may be introduced to environmental conservation in the classroom. This knowledge is further developed through a community-based program. Participants then act on what they know with a conservation project. Community-based extracurricular activities may include “environmental clubs, 4-H, boy/girl scouts, and religious groups” (Hancock, Dyk, & Jones, 2012).
- Bilbao, Purita P., Lucido, Paz I., Iringan, Tomasa C., and Javier, Rodrigo B. (2008). Curriculum Development. Quezon City: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.
Kelly, A.V. (2009). The Curriculum: theory and practice (6th ed.). ISBN .
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