What Is Curriculum?

Topics: Education, Curriculum, Definition Pages: 4 (1106 words) Published: October 20, 2012
What Is Curriculum?

Jason C. Heard
CIMA 0712 21975
Curriculum & Instruction Management

Nova Southeastern University
September 1, 2012
Defining curriculum can be a daunting task. John Portelli notes, “Those who look for the definition of curriculum are like a sincere but misguided centaur hunter, who even with a fully provisioned safari and a gun kept always at the ready, nonetheless will never require the services of a taxidermist” (as cited in Marsh, 2009). Currently, there are a plethora of definitions from various areas of academia. According to Portelli, “more than 120 definitions of the term appear in the professional literature devoted to curriculum, presumably because authors are concerned about either delimiting what the term means or establishing new meaning that have become associated with it” (as cited in Marsh, 2009). They range from basic definitions, “What we actually teach” (Schmoker, 2011) to more complex and multifaceted definitions. Leslie O. Wilson writes: Anything and everything that teaches a lesson, planned or otherwise. Humans are born learning, thus the learned curriculum actually encompasses a combination of all of the below – the hidden, null, written, political and societal etc... Since students learn all the time through exposure and modeled behaviors, this means that they learn important social and emotional lessons from everyone who inhabits a school – from the janitorial staff, the secretary, the cafeteria workers, their peers, as well as from the deportment, conduct and attitudes expressed and modeled by their teachers. (as cited in Wilson, 2005)

Although there are various definitions of the term, it must be recognized that curriculum encompasses more than a simple definition. In spite of its elusive character, it is the writer’s opinion that curriculum is the set of prescribed guidelines mandated by a school, college,...

References: Marsh, C. J. (2009). 1. In J. P. Portelli, Key Concepts for Understanding Curriculum (4th ed., p. 364). Retrieved from http://qzabansara.com/News/NF23256.pdf
Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2013). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues (6th ed.).
Schmoker, M. (2011, Nov.). Curriculum Now. Phi Delta Kappan, p. 70.
Stavrou, N. E. (2006, March-April). Reflecting on the Curriculum: The Case of the Cyprus Music Curriculum for Primary Education. Arts Education Policy Review.
Wilson, L. O. (2005). Leslie Owen Wilson’s Curriculum Index. Retrieved from http://www4.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/curtyp.htm
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