January 17, 2008

THE MEANING OF CURRICULUM

From: http://www.vucapinheiro.com/vucapage/meaning.htm
The concept of curriculum can be perceived as a connective link between teacher and student, organized in such a way to achieve goals previously set by the teacher, the learning organization or by the curriculum specialists.

The above definition, of course, does not cover all the meanings of curriculum, especialy when we think of them in a variety of contexts and situations where different goals and objectives need to be persued.

Then, in some situations the curriculum is used to correctly diagnose learning problems and restore connections between the teacher and the learner, while in other situations it can be conceived as a framework that provides external settings for the learning process.

However, the definitions above do not translate all the aspects involving curriculum and its interaction with the teaching and learning community.

I advocate the definition of curriculum that suports a complex network of physical, social and intellectual conditions that shape and reinforce the behavior of individuals, and takes in consideration the individual's perceptions and interpretations of the environment in order to reinforce the learning objectives and to facilitate the evaluation procedures.

Considering this point of view, the process of decision-making in updating the curriculum will be supported by a platform of shared values, images and beliefs, that will be crutial in the organization process of the intended and planned learning.

The expressed, implied, and emergent dimensions of curriculum need to work together in order to provide the curriculum specialists with the unstated and unplanned activities, unintended learning occured in class, learner's perceptions of certain conditions, positive and negative effects on the learner, gaps between learners, uniqueness of individual learners, and so many other clues, in order to incorporate changes in the curriculum that will reduce failures.

This continuing adjusting process is needed if we remember that alterations in a learning environment are experimental in nature.
By Vuca Pinheiro

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