35 Current Definitions of Curriculum by Various Authors and Types

35 Current Definitions of Curriculum by Various Authors and Types

Current definitions Of Curriculum By Various Scholars

The curriculum word is of Latin language. It means ‘race course’. In education it means ‘work field of students’ or race course of the students. It consists of two words-race and course. The word ‘course’ mean curriculum and race refers student’s experiences and activities. A teacher performs his teaching activities in view of curriculum.

According to Marsh and Willis (2007, as cited in Marsh, 2010, p.93) define curriculum as “an interrelated set of plans and experiences which a student completes under the guidance of the school”.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, better known as ACARA (2010) describes the new Australian Curriculum as “a broad scope and sequence of core learning. Critical decisions about the total educational program and how it will be implemented and adapted to meet the needs and interests of students will be the responsibility of education authorities, schools, teachers, parents and students”.

  1. According To B. Rudy and And H. Henry “Curriculum in its broadest sense, includes the complete school environment, involving all the courses, activities, reading have been provided here to understand the nature and characteristics of curriculum.” Cunninghous Has Defined Curriculum Operatinally “It (curriculum) is a tool in the hands of the artist (teacher) to mould his material (pupil) according to his ideal (objective) in his studio (school).”
  2. According To Froebel “Curriculum should be conceived as an epitome of the rounded whole of the knowledge and experience of the human race.”According To Munroe “Curriculum includes all those activities which are utilises by the school to attain the aims of education.”
  3. According To Caswell “The curriculum is all that goes in the lives of children, their parents and teachers. The curriculum is made up of everything that surrounds the learner in all his working hours. In fact the curriculum has been described as the environment in motion.” The Secondary Education Commission “Curriculum does not mean the academic subject taught in the school but it includes total experience that a child receives at a school.
  4. John F.Kerr Has Defined Curriculum “All the learning which is planned or guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school, is known as curriculum.”
  5. According to Wortham (2006) that Curriculum is a planned set of course that is presented to teachers to arrange teaching and learning in certain level of ages.
  6. According to Nation & Macalister (2010) define Curriculum as a guidance in designing courses that consits of outer cyrcle namely Priciples, Environment, and needs that involve practical and theoretical considerations that will have a major effect in guiding the actual process of course production. Inner circle that consists of goals and its center, contents and sequences, format and presentation, and monitoring and assessment.
  7. According to Cattington (2010), curriculum (or curriculum standards) to refer to the standards, benchmarks, and outcomes that delineate the content to be taught and learned in science classrooms.
  8. According to Slattery (2006) Curriculum should be developed time by times to the postmodern curriculum that is radically eclectic, determined in the context of relatedness, recursive in its complexity, autobiographically intuitive, aesthetically inter-subjective, embodied, phenomenological, experiential, simultaneously quantum and cosmic, hopeful in its constructive dimension, radical in its deconstructive movement, liberating in its post structural intents, empowering in its spirituality, ironic in its kaleidoscopic sensibilities, and ultimately, a hermeneutic search for greater understanding that motivates and satisfies us on the journey.
  9. A. 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.
  10. 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
  11. B. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Caswell and Campbell (1935): curriculum is composed of all of the experiences children have under the guidance of the teacher.”
  15. 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.”
  16. 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.”
  17. 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.
  18. Duncan and Frymier (1967): a set of events, either proposed, occurring, or having occurred, which has the potential for reconstructing human experience.
  19. Goodman (1963): A set of abstractions from actual industries, arts, professions, and civic activities, and these abstraction are brought into the school-box and taught.
  20. Harnack (1968) The curriculum embodies all the teaching-learning experiences guided and directed by the school.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.”
  23. Hollis L. Caswell and Doak S. Campbell: “all the experiences children have under the guidance of teachers.”
  24. J. Galen Saylor, William M. Alexander, and Arthur J. Lewis (1974): “We define curriculum as a plan for providing sets of learning opportunities to achieve broad goals and related specific objectives for an identifiable population served by a single school center for persons to be educated.”
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
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Musgrave (1968):  the contrived activity and experience- organized, focused, and systematic- that life, unaided, would not provide.

  1. P. Phenix (1962): The curriculum should consist entirely of knowledge which comes from the disciplines… Education should be conceived as a guided recapitulation of the process of inquiry which gave rise to the fruitful bodies of organized knowledge comprising the established disciplines.
  2. Peter F. Oliva (1989): “the program, a plan, content, and learning experiences.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.”
  6. Ronald Doll (1970): The curriculum is now generally considered to be all of the experiences that learners have under the auspices of the school.
  7. Shaver and Berlak (1968): situations or activities arranged and brought into play by the teacher to effect student learning.
  8. In my own opinion, Curriculum is a set of rule that benefits students by providing them with practice in both content and social curriculum through the use of active learning, exploration of interests, civic responsibility, character building, and recognizing and helping the community.
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A hidden curriculum is a side effects of an education, “lessons which are learned but not openly intended” such as the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in the classroom and the social environment. Any learning experience may teach unintended lessons. The “Hidden Curriculum” is a term to used to describe the unwritten social rules and expectations of behavior that we all seem to know, but were never taught (Bieber, 1994).


The official curriculum can be simply defined by the way curriculum itself has been traditionally understood: as the course of study, body of courses, or program of training at a school or university. He defines the taught curriculum as the curriculum the teacher actually teaches in the classroom and the learned curriculum as the curriculum that students actually learn.

The next type of curriculum he mentions is the assessed curriculum. This includes what is assessed in the tests prepared by teachers and the government. The supported curriculum includes the textbooks and other resources that support the curriculum. As the last type of curriculum, he mentions the hidden curriculum which is the non-intended curriculum that students learn from their environment, or the policies of the school.



Official Curriculum Hidden Curriculum
Mostly deals with young children and adolescents Deals with people of all ages
Confers certification to the learning achieved May or may not award certification to the learning achieved
Takes place within educational institutions Can take place inside or outside educational institutions
In general, classrooms have the same teachers and the same students every day. Generally, the programs are usually drop-in. as a result attendance and leadership are not consistent.
In most cases, classroom activities go on for a number of days. In most cases the programs are required to bring to an end each day’s activity since a different group of participants could be in attendance the following day.
It can be assumed teachers or instructors have undergone a specified level of training in classroom management, educational philosophy, effective teaching strategies, and content. In contrast, informal curriculum providers have varied levels of experience and knowledge of teaching methods, group management, and expertise in content.
Teachers and instructors are required to meet certain educational standards. In addition, they must follow a particular curriculum. As a result, it is difficult for them to slot in nontraditional content. On the contrary, informal programs are more flexible as regards their content.
It is predictable and can be controlled One cannot predict or preemptively have power over this kind of curriculum. It is very idiosyncratic and unpredictable.
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In summary, the hidden curriculum cannot be used in isolation from the formal curriculum. Both complement each other and are essential for the academic, vocational and social development of learners.

The formal approach stresses academics within prescribed hours while the hidden curriculum emphasize students forming social transient relationships and the acquisition of societal norms, values and beliefs which in turn affects one desire to participate in deviant acts.


Bao, Dat. In Tomlinson, Brian. (2008) Ed. English Language Learning Material – A Critical Review.  London: Continuum International Publishing Group

Cattington, Limon E. (2010) (Ed). Handbook of Curriculum Development. New York: Nova Science Publisher Inc.

Lake , Vickie E. & Winterbottom, Christian. (2010). In Kattington, Limon E. 2010 (Ed). Handbook of Curriculum Development. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Nation, I.S.P. & Macalister, J. (2010). Language Curriculum and Design. New York: Taylor and Francis Group

Nichols, Shidaker, Johnson, & Singer. (2006). MANAGING CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT – A Practitioner’s Guide. Ohio: Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Slattery, Patrick. (2006). Curriculum Development in the Postmodern Era. New York: Roudledge Taylor and Francis Group

Wortham, (2006). Early Childhood Curriculum – Developmental Bases for Learning and Teaching. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Mr. Harrison

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