Curriculum Definition

Topics: Education, Curriculum, School Pages: 3 (731 words) Published: October 31, 2014
“Curriculum is perceived as a plan or program for all the experiences that the learner encounters under the direction of the school” (Oliva and Gordon, 2013, p. 7). To the outside world, curriculum may be seen as the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, as educators, creating a working definition for curriculum requires a delicate balance of ideas. As a people and as a society, we are ever evolving. It is necessary then, that curriculum needs to evolve to meet the needs of the population it educates as well. English and Larson (1996) have observed three forms of curriculum present in schools: formal, informal, and hidden (Carrick, 2001 p. 24). Formal curriculum is the official planned experiences that are adopted by districts and are aligned to mandates like the Common Core Standards. They include both knowledge and skills that the school expects successful students to acquire. It can be observed and measured (Ebert, Ebert, and Bentley, 2013). Oliver (Oliva and Gordon, 2013, p. 7) would call this the program of studies. Informal curriculum exists in the underlying values reflected in the formal curriculum. It can be equated with Oliver’s concept of a program of experiences. Carrick (2014) maintains that it includes content that teachers add to the formal curriculum to promote deeper thinking. Overall content is “what” is taught formally but the underlying principles are the “how” and “why” of teaching and learning. Thus, curriculum is that which an individual learner experiences as a result of schooling (Oliva and Gordon 2013, p.4) The hidden curriculum is perhaps the most intriguing. It includes lessons that arise from the culture of the school and the behaviors, attitudes and expectations that characterize that culture (Ebert, Ebert, and Bentley, 2013) many of which may be unplanned. Teacher...

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