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Impact of Curriculum Definitions and Theories

Impact of Curriculum Definitions and Theories

This essay will examine several definitions of curriculum, relating one to Education and Childhood studies and the impact it has on learners. In addition, the essay sets out to explore curriculum in relation to delivery and

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Curriculum is often seen as the main concern in the educational field however, the type of curricula to offer to learners is crucial. The concept of curriculum is sometimes characterized as fragmentary, elusive and confusing. Teachers are concerned about the choices to make about the teaching content and methods of delivery. While, caregivers and parents are interested in knowing what is going to be taught to their children. Learners are equally concerned about the content they are going to receive in class. The concept of curriculum is as dynamic as the changes that occur in society. In its narrow sense, curriculum is viewed merely as a listing of subject to be taught in school. In a broader sense, it refers to the total learning experiences of individuals not only in schools but in society as well. Su, (2012) views ‘Curriculum’ as what teachers will teach and how well learners will learn, it also involves other issues like:  teaching the curriculum, testing the curriculum, administrative curriculum and the hidden curriculum. However, Kelly (1999, p.83), suggest that curriculum is negatively viewed as a “syllabus which may limit the planning of teachers to a consideration of the content or the body of knowledge they wish to transmit or a list of the subjects to be taught or both”. However, (Braslavsky, 2003) considers the curriculum as educational foundations and contents, their sequencing in relation to the amount of time available for the learning experiences, the characteristics of the teaching institutions, the characteristics of the learning experiences, from the point of view of methods to be used, the resources for learning and teaching (e.g. textbooks and new technologies), evaluation and teachers’ profiles.

“A curriculum is an intended programme of learning and has three elements: a set of curriculum standards which set out the expected student achievements (what they know, what they can do and what dispositions they have acquired) at set points of time, the student having taken part in a programme of learning; a set of pedagogical standards; and a set of summative assessment or evaluation standards” (Scott,2016 p.4).

Having explored some definitions of curriculum, Scott’s definition best fits the curriculum delivered on the Education and Childhood Studies programme. The curriculum covers several courses that ensures learners have an informed knowledge of the course to prepare them for the next step in their career. The curriculum covers a range of courses indicate; The curriculum has an intended programme of learning which learners are expected to complete at the end of the course. For each of the modules, the learning outcome is clearly outline which guides teachers to effectively plan and deliver contents to ensure learners makes progress, paying attention to teaching and learning strategies which will facilitate learner’s engagement and participation. Progress is usually monitored throughout lessons in form of formative assessment ensuring learners know what they do and what dispositions they have acquired. Furthermore, at the end of each module a set of summative assessment are used to evaluate learner’s achievement and progress. The curriculum delivered in the Skills Company on the Access for Higher Education, is a tailored towards the learner gaining a qualification towards a place to study in a university of the learners choice provided learners achieve the required grades.

Ornstein and Hunkins (2009, p.15) contend that curriculum development encompasses how a ‘curriculum is planned, implemented and evaluated, as well as what people, processes and procedures are involved…’

When the phase in life is reached where education begins in earnest, it is vital that the curriculum is integrated, that there is no separation of theory and practice. By this Plato seems to mean that learning the theory of something is by itself of little value unless the student knows how to make it work.

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