Thursday, November 30, 2023

20 Definitions of Curriculum by Authors

The 20 definitions of curriculum presented in this article provide a broad overview of the different ways in which curriculum can be conceptualized and understood.

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The concept of curriculum has been the subject of much discussion and debate in the field of education. Curriculum is a dynamic and complex concept that encompasses various dimensions and implications. The term curriculum refers to the content, design, delivery, and evaluation of educational programs. This article explores the 20 definitions of curriculum by various authors. The definitions highlight the diversity and complexity of the concept and provide a framework for understanding its various dimensions and implications.

Curriculum as a Process (Ralph Tyler)

Ralph Tyler, an American educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a systematic process for designing, delivering, and evaluating educational programs. Tyler’s definition of curriculum is based on four fundamental questions: What are the educational objectives of the program? How can the objectives be organized into a logical sequence? What educational experiences can be provided to help achieve the objectives? How can the program be evaluated to determine its effectiveness in achieving the objectives?

Curriculum as a Praxis (Paulo Freire)

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of praxis, which is a combination of action and reflection. According to Freire, education should be a transformative process that empowers learners to take action to address social and political problems. The curriculum should be designed to promote critical thinking and social awareness, and to challenge the dominant cultural norms and values.

Curriculum as a Dialogue (Mikhail Bakhtin)

Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian literary theorist, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of dialogue in the learning process. According to Bakhtin, the curriculum should be designed to promote dialogic interaction between teachers and learners, where learners actively participate in the construction of knowledge. The curriculum should be flexible and open to different perspectives and interpretations.

Curriculum as a Way of Life (John Dewey)

John Dewey, an American philosopher and educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of education as a way of life. According to Dewey, the curriculum should be designed to promote personal growth and social responsibility. The curriculum should be based on the interests and experiences of the learners, and should be integrated with real-life experiences.

Curriculum as a Cultural Transmission (George Counts)

George Counts, an American educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of cultural transmission in the learning process. According to Counts, the curriculum should be designed to transmit the cultural heritage and values of a society from one generation to the next. The curriculum should promote cultural understanding and appreciation, and should be inclusive of diverse perspectives and experiences.

Curriculum as a Social Reconstruction (Theodore Brameld)

Theodore Brameld, an American philosopher and educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of social reconstruction in the learning process. According to Brameld, the curriculum should be designed to promote social justice, equity, and democracy. The curriculum should be based on critical inquiry and analysis, and should challenge the dominant cultural norms and values.

Curriculum as a Reflective Inquiry (Donald Schön)

Donald Schön, an American philosopher and educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of reflective inquiry in the learning process. According to Schön, the curriculum should be designed to promote reflective practice and learning. The curriculum should be based on real-life experiences and problems, and should encourage learners to reflect on their experiences and develop new insights and understanding.

Curriculum as a Negotiated Experience (William Pinar)

William Pinar, an American curriculum theorist, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of negotiated experience in the learning process. According to Pinar, the curriculum should be designed as a negotiated experience between teachers and learners, where learners are actively engaged in the process of designing and evaluating the curriculum. The curriculum should be based on the interests and experiences of the learners, and should promote critical thinking and reflection.

Curriculum as a Planned Experience (Hilda Taba)

Hilda Taba, an Estonian-American educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a planned experience in the learning process. According to Taba, the curriculum should be designed as a planned experience that is based on a systematic process of analysis and organization. The curriculum should be based on the needs and interests of the learners, and should promote conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills.

Curriculum as a Personal Journey (William Doll)

William Doll, an American curriculum theorist, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a personal journey in the learning process. According to Doll, the curriculum should be designed to promote personal growth and development. The curriculum should be based on the interests and experiences of the learners, and should encourage learners to explore their own identity and values.

Curriculum as a Historical Consciousness (Jerome Bruner)

Jerome Bruner, an American psychologist and educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of historical consciousness in the learning process. According to Bruner, the curriculum should be designed to promote historical understanding and cultural awareness. The curriculum should be based on a systematic process of analysis and organization, and should encourage learners to explore the historical and cultural dimensions of knowledge.

Curriculum as a Critical Inquiry (Henry Giroux)

Henry Giroux, an American cultural critic and educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of critical inquiry in the learning process. According to Giroux, the curriculum should be designed to promote critical thinking and social action. The curriculum should be based on a critical analysis of the dominant cultural norms and values, and should encourage learners to challenge the status quo and advocate for social justice and equity.

Curriculum as a Process of Bildung (Kieran Egan)

Kieran Egan, a Canadian philosopher and educator, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a process of Bildung in the learning process. According to Egan, the curriculum should be designed to promote personal growth and cultural development. The curriculum should be based on a systematic process of analysis and organization, and should encourage learners to explore their own identity and cultural heritage.

Curriculum as a Social Action (Jean Anyon)

Jean Anyon, an American education researcher, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of social action in the learning process. According to Anyon, the curriculum should be designed to promote social change and empowerment. The curriculum should be based on a critical analysis of social structures and power relations, and should encourage learners to engage in social action and advocacy.

Curriculum as a Multicultural and Multilingual Experience (James Banks)

James Banks, an American education scholar, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a multicultural and multilingual experience in the learning process. According to Banks, the curriculum should be designed to promote cultural diversity and understanding. The curriculum should be based on a systematic process of analysis and organization, and should incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences.

Curriculum as a Praxis (Paulo Freire)

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of praxis in the learning process. According to Freire, the curriculum should be designed as a process of reflection and action. The curriculum should be based on a critical analysis of social structures and power relations, and should encourage learners to engage in social action and advocacy.

Curriculum as a Democratic Practice (Michael Apple)

Michael Apple, an American education scholar, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of democratic practice in the learning process. According to Apple, the curriculum should be designed to promote democracy and social justice. The curriculum should be based on a critical analysis of social structures and power relations, and should encourage learners to engage in democratic practice and advocacy.

Curriculum as a Knowledge Structure (David Ausubel)

David Ausubel, an American psychologist, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a knowledge structure in the learning process. According to Ausubel, the curriculum should be designed as a structure of meaningful concepts and ideas. The curriculum should be based on a systematic process of organization and categorization, and should encourage learners to construct meaningful relationships and connections between different ideas and concepts.

Curriculum as a Constructive Process (Lev Vygotsky)

Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a constructive process in the learning process. According to Vygotsky, the curriculum should be designed to promote cognitive development and learning. The curriculum should be based on a systematic process of scaffolding and support, and should encourage learners to construct their own understanding and knowledge through active participation and collaboration.

Curriculum as a Transformational Experience (Jack Mezirow)

Jack Mezirow, an American education scholar, proposed a definition of curriculum that emphasizes the importance of a transformational experience in the learning process. According to Mezirow, the curriculum should be designed to promote transformative learning and personal growth. The curriculum should be based on a critical analysis of one’s own beliefs and assumptions, and should encourage learners to engage in a process of self-reflection and personal transformation.

In conclusion, the definition of curriculum has evolved over time, and various scholars and researchers have proposed different perspectives and approaches to curriculum design and implementation. The 20 definitions of curriculum presented in this article provide a broad overview of the different ways in which curriculum can be conceptualized and understood. The key takeaway from these definitions is that the curriculum should be designed to promote meaningful learning experiences that are based on a systematic process of analysis, organization, and reflection. The curriculum should also be responsive to the needs and interests of learners, and should be designed to promote social justice, cultural diversity, and personal growth. Ultimately, the goal of curriculum is to promote effective teaching and learning and to prepare learners for success in the 21st century.

Bibliography

  • Bruner, J. (1960). The Process of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. New York: Macmillan.
  • Egan, K. (1997). The Educated Mind: How Cognitive Tools Shape our Understanding. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.
  • Giroux, H. (1983). Theory and Resistance in Education: A Pedagogy for the Opposition. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey.
  • Schön, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books.
  • Tyler, R. (1949). Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

You may read this article by Mizan too: 20 Definitions by Authors and Explanation of Each Concept 

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