A curriculum guide is a teaching aide rather than a complete course of study in itself and may include the following:
Introduction-subject, grade level, user information, etc.
Instructional goals and objectives
Activities-learning experiences that might/should be used by the teacher with students should be suggested; these should include both individual and group learning activities
Evaluation techniques-suggestions on how to evaluate student learning; might include sample test items, open ended items, performance tasks, portfolio suggestions
Resources-people, books, media, software packages, any variety of learning materials and resources which could be used to assist with the learning activities
Basic Curriculum Design Concepts & Curriculum Definitions
Scope is the extent and depth of content coverage, i.e., the coherence of the curriculum that can be achieved by studying a set of fundamental ideas over six or seven years of content. It includes how much material to cover related to a given topic and how much to expect of learners as a result of instruction.
Sequence is the presentation of the material in a logical order. Sequences expresses the belief that students should be taught beginning with concrete ideas and moving toward the abstract as they advance through the grade levels. Yet, some instructional experiences do not depend on mastery of prerequisite materials. The sequence could be determined…
By increasing complexity (as in science),
By logic (social studies local environment to world),
Psychologically (as in vocational ed. that begins with immediate interests and proceeds to more remote ones).
Articulation is the relationship between two or more elements of curriculum that is simultaneous rather than sequential. It is a correlation of the experiences a learner has in one subject area with another.
Example: Studying political and social history of the civil war in U.S. history while reviewing American Literature of the same period in English class.
Coordination is the belief that fundamental ideas are studied over many years rather than many days or weeks. Also, the curriculum should provide application of knowledge so that it is relevant to the students' lives. Example: In science, it refers to studying the four basic disciplines each year and ensuring for continuity.
Continuity is also called “vertical articulation.” It involves the relation of subsequent learning with its predecessor, providing for the necessary prerequisites, and the attempt to avoid interference with a learner's progress.
Example: an elementary program that flows logically into a secondary program.
The term curriculum derives from the Latin word currere, meaning the course to be run.
Curriculum may be narrowly thought of as the plan for teaching subjects such as mathematics, history, language arts or science. Curriculum may be considered in the broader sense as all the social and emotional experiences a child has in school, as well as the academic learning experiences.
Curriculum is influenced by history and social and political concerns. The three R's have been the curricular backbone for over one hundred years and will continue on. Technology has now become a driving force in education. Special interest groups now influence school boards at the local and state levels to include drugs and AIDS education programs to the curricula of many schools.
Textbooks are a great determiner on school curricula as authors and editors decide what to include or exclude in their text. Their motivation is not education, but to earn the largest profits so they create textbooks that will appeal to the broadest possible market and offend no one.
Many teachers tend to avoid making decisions about the curriculum they teach. They give up their power and follow orders generally given by textbooks. Teachers also tend to think the “correct” curriculum is the one found in textbooks because it is written by “experts”.
Teachers now have to adhere to state and national curriculum guidelines. These include Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks for Science and Mathematics and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and National Business Education Association (NBEA).
Horizontal curriculum - Basic curriculum taught within a year or a semester.
Vertical curriculum - Curriculum taught from year to year.
Spiral curriculum - Certain concepts and skills are taught every year, but in an upward spiral of difficulty. (Example: In math, each year begins with a review of skills from previous years, and then new skills and concepts are introduced. For this reason, the topics of math units are likely to be similar from year to year, but the way these topics are addressed and the complexity of the concepts vary greatly.
Intended curriculum is the explicit and approved one and is usually written in the form of curriculum guides or lesson plans.
Hidden curriculum is not written anywhere but is still pervasive. It varies from teacher to teacher, depending on individual values and interests. Teachers can teach the same lesson plans but teach very different lessons depending on their values, subject knowledge and interests.
Null curriculum is whatever the teacher deletes or omits because of lack of time, interest or knowledge.
Delivered curriculum may differ greatly from the intended, planned curriculum. Each teacher plans different lessons and delivers the intended curriculum in a unique way.
Experienced curriculum is what the children receive and differs with each child due to differences in aptitude, interests, and preexisting knowledge.
Ralph Tyler (1949) Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction, stressed four basic questions for teachers to use when developing curriculum that is still appropriate today:
What shall we teach?
How shall we teach it?
How can we organize it?
How can we evaluate it?
With the publication of Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction,
Ralph W. Tyler could not have suspected that his little book of only eighty-three pages would make such an indelible mark on the field of curriculum theorizing, as well as on teaching practices in the American public schools. In 1949, Tyler probably could not have predicted that in time he would become the most prominent name in curriculum studies in the United States, either. Yet, this is exactly the course his career would take through the mid-twentieth century. For more information go to: http://members.tripod.com/portfolio9030/ralph_tyler.htm
Elliot Eisner (1985) describes five different curriculum orientations. Personal values, experiences, and beliefs about what is important in the world contribute greatly to the type of orientation held. A teacher's curriculum orientation is related to her/his philosophy of education, ad they both relate to the goals of education, relative importance of subject matter, and how teachers and students should interact. The five orientations are:
1. Academic rationalism where educators argue that the goal of education is to teach the basic fields of study and academic disciplines that have traditionally been known as a liberal education. The role of the teacher is to help students acquire the content, concepts, and ideas of the classic academic disciplines.
2. Cognitive processes where teachers would not agree that there is one established content for courses. The major goal of the teacher is to teacher the students to learn how to learn by generating problematic situations for students to investigate and solve.
3. Personal relevance is where the curriculum builds on the students' interests. This view is held by educators who believe that learning is a developmental process and students learn best from inside out. The teacher's role is to construct educational situations that are based on students' present experiences, interests, and needs.
4. Social perspective attempts to develop a critical consciousness among children of the major issues of society. The curriculum focuses on controversial social issues and is designed to encourage students to take an active role in improving the society in which they live. The teacher's role is to make students aware of the important social issues of their time and culture and to encourage them to debate alternatives, make informed judgments, and act on them.
5. Technological orientation stresses a scientific approach using measurable goals and objectives. The teacher's role is to plan the curriculum in a sequential and orderly manner by specifying a list of sequential objectives with tests that demonstrate the students' mastery of each objective.
Eisner, E. (1985). Educational imagination (2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan.
Tyler, Ralph (1949) Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Your curriculum assignment will be posted to our discussion list and due by the date indicated on the schedule.