Curriculum design

Topics: Curriculum, Education, Learning Pages: 18 (5408 words) Published: October 26, 2014

Background paper developed by
Dr. Brian MALE
Ms. Dakmara GEORGESCU1

Geneva, November 2011

The paper is meant to inform the curriculum process in Iraq by drawing attention on important aspects of current education and curriculum quality that underpin options considered in the process of developing the new Iraqi Curriculum Framework.


The purpose of this paper is to provide both specialists and non-specialists in the field of curriculum with some ideas to help them assess whether a school system curriculum is of good quality or not. The paper is not intended to be prescriptive in any way. Rather, it is intended to provide a conceptual framework within which to judge the quality of both existing and proposed curricula.

In the simplest terms, curriculum is a description of what, why and how students should learn. The curriculum is therefore not an end in itself. The objective of curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be successful in their lives. The ultimate indicators of curriculum success are the quality of the learning achieved by students and whether and how students use that learning for their personal development and to bring about positive social change.

Learning in schools occurs in a range of intended and unintended ways. Intended lea i g ofte efe ed to as the pla ed o fo al u i ulu
ost ofte
occurs in the classroom and other controlled settings. Its focus is the endorsed curriculum as planned and implemented by teachers. The outcomes of the formal curriculum are normally assessed by teachers and by the relevant authorities. Uninte ded lea i g the u pla ed o hidde u i ulu

a o u a
he e
– in the playground, in the corridors and in the classroom – and is largely u o t olled .
Fo the pu poses of this pape , u i ulu is defi ed as the i te ded u i ulu as prescribed by education authorities in its formal curriculum documentation. The paper identifies four areas to consider when evaluating curriculum quality, and discusses contemporary practices within each of these areas. The authors hope that one use of the paper might be to promote and encourage discussion of these practices, and to judge how practical they are in specific contexts. The four broad areas are:


The focus on learning and learners in the curriculum
The content and delivery of the curriculum
Documentation of the curriculum
Curriculum development processes, including monitoring and evaluation. 2


A good quality curriculum
Values all children as individuals
Is based on a clear understanding of modern, broadly accepted concepts / understandings about how children learn
Promotes teaching practices that reflect these concepts of learning Reflects that decisions and choices made during the curriculum development process are made in the interests of learners.
A curriculum that is based on this approach is ofte
e t ed o hild- e t ed .
What does this

efe ed to as learner-

ea i p a ti e? What does a hild- e t ed u i ulu

look like?

Inclusiveness. Firstly, the clearly stated broad aim of the curriculum will be to be inclusive – to assist every student, regardless of ability, gender or social and economic circumstances, to reach their individual potential as learners. Each student is different. Not all are academically gifted. Not all can be ranked first in assessments. But all students can be encouraged to do their best, and good u i ulu

ill take a ou t of ea h lea e s pe so al, so ial a d og iti e development in helping them achieve their potential.
Future-orientation. Secondly, the curriculum will be forward-looking and prepare learners for the future through the development of broad competencies. It will acknowledge that, while still important, the learning, retention and...
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