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An Understanding Of Curriculum Essay

2324 words - 9 pages

95066925An Understanding of CurriculumThe term 'curriculum' cannot be defined in a single phrase or with one clear definition. There are many meanings and different terms all offering a definition of curriculum. To clarify, this essay is discussing an educational curriculum which is understood to be "an official document that contains all the necessary information to run an education qualification, program or course" (Schugurensky, 2002, p3).A simple definition, as such presented, above does not explore the complexity of what a curriculum is, nor does it present the many influencing factors that surround defining what constitutes an educational curriculum. The exact definition of what the curriculum encompasses is also dependent on the stakeholders' perception. Stakeholders are people or organisations who have an interest in the curriculum's formation and deliver (Marsh, 2009), and includes Government departments, Board of Directors, principals, teachers, parents and students.What can be understood is that a curriculum is not a single document declaring teaching and learning aims or goals. In fact, many confuse the term with syllabus (i.e. that body of content which must be taught in order to fulfil specific learning objectives). There are many dimensions (or layers) offered as parts that make up a full and whole curriculum, but these are by no means fixed and exact components that complete a curriculum. A curriculum should be such that it offers students a complete and in-depth learning experience and, at the same time, is appropriate, rigorous and enriched (Skinner, 2008).Organisaiton for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (1998) offers five layers as suggested by Goodlad (1979):The ideal curriculum - as perceived by its author(s)The formal curriculum - the official curriculum approved by Ministry of Education (or similar body)The perceived curriculum - parents and teachers view on what should be taughtThe operational curriculum - what teachers actually teach in the classroomsThe experiential curriculum - what students experienceEbert II, Ebert and Bentley (2011) offer four specific curriculums:The explicit curriculum - what will be taught in the schoolThe implicit (or hidden) curriculum - what is learnt as a result from involvement within the school cultureThe null curriculum - what students are not taught or is excluded from topicsThe extra curriculum - what is learnt outside lessons that support the school experience (i.e. extracurricular activities)Yet Schugurensky (2002) suggests there are eight components to a complete curriculum:The prescribed (or intended) curriculum - official curriculum approved by Ministry of Education (or similar body)The taught curriculum - what teachers actually teach in the classroomsThe tested curriculum - the parts that are assessedThe reported curriculum - what learners report to know about a topicThe hidden curriculum - what is taught that is not written in the curriculumThe missing curriculum -...

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