Curriculum: Definition and Purpose
Posted by Hope Scott on Sunday, January 23, 2011 Under: curriculum management
How do you define curriculum? Curriculum is what teachers need to teach and what students need to learn to master a course. The curriculum must include all that students need to be able to do and understand prior to going to the next level or grade. It also must prepare students for assessments to be administered throughout the course and at the end of the course.
What do you see as the purpose of curriculum? The purpose of curriculum is to prepares students. If teachers did not have well thought out and planned curriculums, students would not be prepared for the next level. I teach Web Design classes. I expect my students to have learned (and still remember) basic computer skills prior to taking my class. I teach my class as if they have had MSWord, MSPublisher, Excel, and other basic word processing programs. The curriculum in BCIS (renamed this year to BIM) should prepare students to created any type of document or spreadsheet. My course builds upon that knowledge and takes students to the next level.
Given state requirements, how can curriculum best be designed and managed to reflect the goals of an individual school and the needs of its students? The state and NCLB expect students to have a progression from one point to the next. Anything that is stale and stagnant is usually stink or dead. So the goal of education and curriculum is to have students grow towards goals beyond the walls of lower education, to higher education and beyond. Curriculum has to be designed to match the needs of the students in individual schools. No school is made up of students who think and learn the same way. We have to take many things into consideration when creating curriculum, including special needs of not just special education students but of gifted students. We have to look at the demographics of our student bodies, its strengths and weaknesses. We also have to look at the economics of our schools. For instance, schools in a wealthier district can afford to provide special incentives and programs their student body. They can afford to have tutors and smaller class sizes to ensure success for all.