Nature of Curriculum

Different people perceive a school’s curriculum in different ways and sometimes in multiple ways depending upon the context in which the concept is used. To complicate matters further, someone may perceive the curriculum in a particular way and use the term ‘curriculum’ to describe what they mean, while another uses the same term but means something different.

For example, a teacher may refer to the school curriculum and really mean the intended or written curriculum, while a parent may refer to the school curriculum and mean the ‘entitlement’ curriculum or the *achieved’ curriculum.

Similarly a systemic curriculum developer may refer to the school curriculum and mean the ‘ideal’ or perhaps the intended curriculum. Consequently it is important for us to be clear what perception we have of curriculum when communicate with others. The most common perceptions of curriculum may be described as;

1. Ideological Curriculum:

The ideological curriculum is the ideal curriculum as construed by scholars and teachers, a curriculum of ideas intended to reflect funded knowledge,

2. Formal Curriculum:

The formal curriculum is that officially approved by state and local school boards.

3. Sanctioned Curriculum:

The sanctioned curriculum represents society’s interests.

4. Perceived curriculum:

The perceived curriculum is the curriculum of the mind, what teachers, parents, and others think the curriculum to be.

5. Operational Curriculum:

The operational curriculum is the observed curriculum of what actually goes on hour after hour in the classroom. Finally, the experiential curriculum is what the learners actually experience.

6. Intentional Curriculum:

The intentional curriculum is the set of learning that the school system consciously intends, in contradistinction to the hidden.curriculum, which by and large is not a product of conscious intention.

7. Recommended Curriculum;

The Recommended Curriculum is the curriculum that is recommended by individual scholars, professional associations, and reform commissions: it also encompasses the curriculum requirements of policy-making groups, such as federal and state governments.

8. Written Curriculum:

The Written Curriculum seems intended primarily to ensure that the educational goals of the system are being accomplished; it is a curriculum of control

Typically, the written curriculum is much more specific and comprehensive than the recommended curriculum, indicating a rationale that supports the curriculum, the general goals to be accomplished, the specific objectives to be mastered, and the sequence in which those objectives should be studied, and the kinds of learning activities that should be used.

9. Supported Curriculum:

The curriculum as reflected and shaped by the resources allocated delivers the curriculum. Four kinds of resources seem be to most critical here:

  • The time allocated to a given subject at a particular level of schooling (How much time should we allocate to social studies in Grade 5?)
  • The time allocated by the classroom teacher within that overall subject allocation to particular aspects of the curriculum (How much time shall I allocate to the first unit on the explorers?)
  • Personnel allocations as reflected in and resulting from class- size decisions (How many teachers of physical education do we need in the middle school if we let PE classes increase to an average of 35?)
  • The textbooks and other learning materials provided for use in the classroom.

10. Taught Curriculum:

The taught curriculum is ‘delivered curriculum’ a curriculum that an observer would see in action as the teacher taught.

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