10 Definitions of Curriculum from Different Authors

10 Definitions of Curriculum from Different Authors
10 Definitions of Curriculum from Different Authors

10 Definitions of Curriculum from Different Authors

Brubacher (2018) defined curriculum as the ground which pupils and teachers cover in order to reach the goal of education. In other words, it can be regarded as a total experience with which the school deals with educating young people. That is all the experiences both curricular and co-curricular which children pass through to become what is known as an educated person. It has been noted that the definition of curriculum changes from time-to-time and it also changes due to social conditions, conception of knowledge, the learner and, indeed, education.

According to Stotsky (2012), curriculum is a plan of action that is aimed at achieving desired goals and objectives. It is a set of learning activities meant to make the learner attain goals as prescribed by the educational system.

Curriculum as viewed by Alebiosu (2005) is an instrument that dictates the affairs of every educational system. It is the vehicle through which knowledge and other learning activities are disseminated.

Izuagba (2009) defined curriculum as: The planned and guided learning experiences and intended learning outcomes, formulated through the systematic reconstruction of knowledge and experience under the auspices of the school for the learner’s continuous and willful growth and personal social competence.

Adekole and Ajeyalemi (1994) in Ivowi (2009), defined curriculum as a systematic organization of a set of intentions about learning experiences for certain learners in certain justifiable arrangement of sequence and resources.

10 Definitions of Curriculum from Different Authors

A curriculum is a “plan or program of all experiences which the learner encounters under the direction of a school” (Tanner 1995).

According to Gatawa (1990), it is “the totality of the experiences of children for which schools are responsible”.

According to Obanya (2004), curriculum is the total package of what is to be taught or learnt. He describes it as a process of translating national educational objectives into ‘within-school do-ables’.

Offorma (2005) sees curriculum as the planned learning experiences offered to the learner in the school. In this study, it refers to vocational and technical subjects outlined in the National Curriculum for Secondary Schools manual as part of subjects for secondary education.

Wheeler (1969) defined it as the planned experiences offered to the learner under the guidance of the school.

Fafumera (2019) saw it as the whole of the educative process, that is, the total environment in which education takes place. In other words, the total environment in which education takes place; that is, the child, and the teacher the subject, the content, the method, the physical and psychological environment.

Murray (1993). Curriculum is defined as all the planned learning opportunities offered to learners by the educational institution and the experiences learners encounter when the curriculum is implemented.

According to Kelly (2003), “Curriculum is all the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried out in groups or individually, inside or outside the school”. In other words, curriculum specifies in advance what we are seeking to achieve and how we are to go about it.

Offorma (2005) sees curriculum as a planned leaning experience offered to a learner in school, adding that it is a program of studies made up of three components program of studies, program of activities and programme of guidance. Hence the meaning of the term curriculum has also been changed to meet the needs of education of different courses of studies.

Blenkin (2012) defined curriculum as a body of knowledge contents and or subjects. That is, curriculum is the process by which knowledge and skills are transmitted or delivered to learners by the most effective methods that can be devised.

Curriculum is an organized plan of course outlined with the objectives and learning experience to be used for achievement of these objectives. In a wider perspective, it is a way of preparing individuals to become productive citizens and useful member of the society to which they belong. Thus, curriculum is a tool of education to educate and humanize the whole man. Modern interpretation sees the curriculum as all the knowledge and experience got by a child in and out of the school walls, either on the time table or outside it i.e. the experiences the learner has regardless of when or how they take place (Akinsola and Abe, 2006).

10 Definitions of Curriculum from Different Authors

Jeffs and Smith (2010) argued that the notion of curriculum provides a central dividing line between formal and informal education. Recognizing the fact that some informal educators adopted curriculum theory and practice as a desire to be clear about content, and the approaches to the curriculum which focus on objectives and detailed programmes appear to be compatible with all round development of the learner.

Considering curriculum as the course of experiences that form human beings into persons, Kelly (2008) affirmed curriculum as those things which students learn because of the way in which the work of the school is planned and organized but which are not in themselves overtly included in the planning or even in the consciousness of those responsible for the school arrangements.

A curriculum can be called a plan for learning, which contains assumptions about the purpose of education in our society. It also has a definite structure through which the vision of the planners can be translated into learning experiences for the learner. Hence any curriculum comprises two major dimensions: a vision and a structure (Wiles and Bondi, 1988).

Doll (1986), defined the curriculum of a school as the formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciations, and values under the auspices of that school.

A curriculum can be defined as a plan for action or a written document that includes strategies for achieving desired goals or ends. (Tyler, 1949).

Curriculum, or course, design is largely a “how-to-do-it” activity that involves the integration of knowledge from many of the areas in the field of Applied Linguistics, such as language acquisition research, teaching methodology, assessment, language description and materials production. (Macalister, 2010)

Curriculum is a social artefact. It is configured according to elements of a cultural heritage that are deemed worthy of transmitting or communicating to a new generation of learners. (Hamilton, 1999)

Curriculum is a construct or concept, a verbalization of an extremely complex idea or set of ideas. (Olivia, 2012)

Curriculum indicated a plan to educate students, which means the curriculum is a part of the curriculum and the assessment scope contains curriculum components. (Zais, 1993)

Curriculum is an essentially practical activity to improve the quality of language teaching through the use of systematic planning, development, and review practices in all aspects of a language program. It provides many practical problems in language program which identifies the development and renewal by reflecting on theories and developments of the elements, including needs analysis, planning goals and objectives, testing, materials development, language teaching, and evaluation. (Richards, 2001).

Bestor (1956):  The curriculum must consist essentially of disciplined study in five great areas: 1) command of mother tongue and the systematic study of grammar, literature, and writing.  2) mathematics, 3) sciences, 4) history, 5) foreign language.

According to Stotsky (2012), curriculum is a plan of action that is aimed at achieving desired goals and objectives. It is a set of learning activities meant to make the learner attain goals as prescribed by the educational system.

Albert Oliver (1977): curriculum is “the educational program of the school” and divided into four basic elements: 1) program of studies, 2) program of experiences, 3) program of service, 4) hidden curriculum.

Othanel Smith (1957): A sequence of potential experiences is set up in the school for the purpose of disciplining children and youth in group ways of thinking and acting. This set of experiences is referred to as the curriculum.

Schubert (1987) defines curriculum as the contents of a subject, concepts and tasks to be acquired, planned activities, the desired learning outcomes and experiences, product of culture and an agenda to reform society.

Pratt (1980) defines curriculum as a written document that systematically describes goals planned, objectives, content, learning activities, evaluation procedures and so forth.

Goodlad and Su (1992) define curriculum as a plan that consists of learning opportunities for a specific time frame and place, a tool that aims to bring about behaviour changes in students as a result of planned activities and includes all learning experiences received by students with the guidance of the school.

Cronbleth (1992) defines curriculum as answering three questions: what knowledge, skills and values are most worthwhile? Why are they most worthwhile? How should the young acquire them?

Grundy (1987) defines curriculum as a programme of activities (by teachers and pupils) designed so that pupils will attain so far as possible certain educational and other schooling ends or objectives.

According to Esu and Emah (2014) curriculum consists of knowledge, skills, values, activities and many more, which students learn through various school subjects.

Curriculum could also be defined as the document, plan or blue print for instructional guide, which is used for teaching and learning to bring about positive and desirable learner behavioural change (Offorma, 2014).

In the view of Akudolu (2011), curriculum covers educational goals, the content or fact to be learnt, the learning experiences, outcome of learning encounters and the learning environment.

 Curriculum is also referred to as a systematic and organized body of knowledge through which the goals of education can be achieved for the fulfillment of the needs and aspirations of any given society (Igbokwe, 2009).

Curriculum is also viewed as experiences children have under the guidance of the teacher (Caswell and Campbell, 1935)

Hass (1987) provides a broader definition, stating that a curriculum includes “all of the experiences that individual learners have in a program of education whose purpose is to achieve broad goals and related specific objectives, which is planned in terms of a framework of theory and research or past and present professional practice”.

Bell (1971): the offering of socially valued knowledge, skills, and attitudes made available to students through a variety of arrangements during the time they are at school, college, or university.

Bobbit (1918):  Curriculum is that series of things which children and youth must do and experience by way of developing abilities to do the things well that make up the affairs of adult life; and to be in all respects what adults should be.

Caswell and Campbell (1935):  curriculum is composed of all of the experiences children have under the guidance of the teacher.”

Daniel Tanner and Laurel N. Tanner (1988) “that reconstruction of knowledge and experience systematically developed under the auspices of the school (or university), to enable the learner to increase his or her control of knowledge and experience.”

David G. Armstrong (1989):  “is a master plan for selecting content and organizing learning experiences for the purpose of changing and developing learners’ behaviors and insights.”

Decker Walker (1990): A curriculum consists of those matter: A.  that teachers and students attend to together, B.  that students, teachers, and others concerned generally recognize as important to study and learn, as indicated particularly by using them as a basis for judging the success of both school and scholar, C.  the manner in which these matters are organized in relationship to one another, in relationship to the other elements in the immediate educational situation and in time and space.

Duncan and Frymier (1967):  a set of events, proposed, occurring, or having occurred, which has the potential for reconstructing human experience.

Goodman (1963): A set of abstractions from actual industries, arts, professions, and civic activities, and these abstractions are brought into the school-box and taught.

Harnack (1968) The curriculum embodies all the teaching-learning experiences guided and directed by the school.

Hass (1980): The curriculum is all of the experiences that individual learners have in a program of education whose purpose is to achieve broad goals and related specific objectives, which is planned in terms of a framework of theory and research or past and present professional practice.

Hilda Taba (1962): “All curricula, no matter what their particular design, are composed of certain elements.  A curriculum usually contains a statement of aims and of specific objectives; it indicates some selection and organization of content; it either implies or manifests certain patterns of learning and teaching, whether because the objectives demand them or because the content organization requires them.  Finally, it includes a program of evaluation of the outcomes.”

Hollis L. Caswell and Doak S. Campbell:  “all the experiences children have under the guidance of teachers.”

Johnson (1967): Curriculum is a structural series of intended learning outcomes.  Curriculum prescribes (or at least anticipates) the results of instruction.  It does not prescribe the means…  To be used in achieving the results.

Jon Wiles and Joseph Bondi (1989):  curriculum is a goal or set of values, which are activated through a development process culminating in classroom experiences for students.  The degree to which those experiences are a true representation of the envisioned goal or goals is a direct function of the effectiveness of the curriculum development efforts.

Krug (1957):  Curriculum consists of all the means of instruction used by the school to provide opportunities for student learning experiences leading to desired learning outcomes.

Musgrave (1968):  the contrived activity and experience- organized, focused, systematic- that life, unaided, would not provide.

Peter F. Oliva (1989): “the program, a plan, content, and learning experiences.”

Ralph Tyler (1957):  The curriculum is all of the learning of students which is planned by and directed by the school to attain its educational goals.

Robert Hutchins (1936):  The curriculum should consist of permanent studies-rules of grammar, reading, rhetoric and logic, and mathematics (for the elementary and secondary school), and the greatest books of the western world (beginning at the secondary level of schooling).

Ronald C. Doll (1988):  “the formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciations, and values under the auspices of that school.”

Ronald Doll (1970):  The curriculum is now generally considered to be all of the experiences that learners have under the auspices of the school.

Shaver and Berlak (1968):  situations or activities arranged and brought into play by the teacher to effect student learning.

Smith and Orlovsky (1978): the content pupils are expected to learn.

According to Kelly (1999), 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”. In other words, simply convey subject knowledge is insufficient to be an effective curriculum. It should offer much more than a statement about the knowledge-content in order to be a productive curriculum.

But in the Hong Kong Yearbook published in the year of 2006, curriculum is more positive in nature, which could achieve the objective of motivating learning, enhancing knowledge and abilities and developing positive values or even attitudes.

These elements could help achieve whole-person development of students. These two ideas are polarized, yet they are not contradicted with each other in a sense that they just view curriculum in either macro or micro level. For the first one proposed by Kelly ( 1999), possibly he comments it in micro level.

Indiana Department of Education (2010). Curriculum means the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives.

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