Curriculum from an Academic Point of View
Curriculum from an academic point of view is the vehicle by which learners are introduced to subject matter disciplines and to organized fields of study. The various academic subjects represent a range of approaches to truth and knowledge. Academicians define knowledge as justified belief, as opposed to ignorance, mere opinions, or guesses (McNiel, 1996). An academic curriculum is very hard to create. Many believe that the development of a rational mind is the primary goal, but they do not always agree on how best to achieve this goal. There are different levels of curriculum, and who decides what should be taught is determined by many different levels and statuses of people. Today there are many conflicts over the debate of the curriculum reforms, especially in history and Social Studies classes. History is a broad topic with endless amounts of information and many times it’s hard to decide what information should be in the curriculum. To best determine a conclusion or solution to the debates, one has to have a better understanding of what curriculum is. “Curriculum is intended to make a man or woman, more sensitive, more compassionate, more responsible, more useful, and happier.
Curriculum preserves and transmits values and culture, largely as defined by the conservative, most comfortable social classes which tend to have the greatest investment and interest in maintaining stability...the study of curriculum is intertwined with the study of society" (Levenburg , 2000, par.¶ 2).
Curriculum is affected a great deal by society. Some believe that curriculum is changing rapidly to satisfy the needs of the gifted or the slow learners, while at the same time many others believe that schools are teaching the same thing in the same way as they always have been. There are different levels of curriculum. The first is ideal curriculum. Curriculum recommendations are proposed by specialized committees concerning specific desired directions in the curriculum (McNiel, 1996). The impact of ideal curriculum depends on whether the ideas are adopted and implemented. The second level is formal curriculum. Formal curriculum is a collection of the ideal or, adaptations to the ideal, combined with other policies and guides sanctioned by the board as legal authority concerning what should be taught. The perceived curriculum is how the teacher interprets the curriculum to be. Operational curriculum is what actually goes on in the classroom. Many times the way a teacher instructs doesn’t exactly follow what the curriculum states. The last level of curriculum is the experimental curriculum.
Experimental curriculum is what the student thinks about the operational curriculum (McNiel, 1996). This curriculum is identified through student questionnaires, interviews, and inferences from observations of students (McNiel, 1996). The teachers have to follow curriculums and guidelines specified by many different levels of...