Curriculum: The Runway For Teachers
“Curriculum is a tool in the hands of the artist (teacher) to mould his material (pupils) according to his ideal (objectives) in his studio (school).”- Cunningham
Every teacher has a 3-fold assignment i.e. what to teach, how to teach and how to execute or assess what has been taught. Education has certain aims and objectives. We have to provide children with useful and worthwhile experiences which would help fulfilling these objectives. What type of learning experiences are to be selected and how such experiences can be provided, are to be carefully planned. These “planned experiences” are known as curriculum.
Thus, curriculum refers to the well planned and organised learning experiences provided by an educational institution to bring about desired changes in the learner. It can also be defined as a runway to reach a certain goal.
Previously, the major aim of education was “acquisition of knowledge or a fund of information” and as such curriculum was regarded as synonymous with subjects of instruction. But now the aims and objectives of education have undergone certain changes.
Education in the modern world
Education today aims at an integrated development of the child. Apart from acquiring some knowledge or skill, the child has to develop certain interest, sense of appreciation, attitude and personality trait. The development of abilities in all the three domains — Cognitive, Psychomotor and Affective — are to be brought about.
As such the curriculum cannot be thought as merely the courses of study; but it is the sum-total of all the experiences that a pupil gets through the manifold activities those go on in the school, classroom, laboratory, workshop, projects, life situations and other items that provide effective teaching, should be listed in the curriculum.
What makes a good curriculum?
A syllabus shows the different specific areas which have been specified to be taught in a particular class. To fulfil certain objectives, some subjects and topics are selected. Therefore, the branches or topics are so selected that it can constitute the syllabus for that class. Without a syllabus, the teacher will teach topics from anywhere and may also teach topics which have no relation to the objectives. But a mere list of topics does not constitute a curriculum; it should combine other details also. The same topic may be taught in various classes and as such the scope for each class must be specified. Moreover, we expect the teacher to make the teaching lively, interesting and effective, but much is left to the teacher to devise and improvise. So the curriculum should furnish a comprehensive picture of its contents.
It should also provide the guidelines and limits to help the teacher to do his task effectively.
So, curriculum is the heart of the process of education. Clear understanding helps learners to apply the learned facts in their practical life situations. One must “Pull the husk to draw the seed.”
Factors to consider while designing a curriculum…
The world is fast changing. With the growth of science, technology and with the tremendous explosion of knowledge, the needs of the child and of the country are continually changing. Hence education must meet the new needs and new challenges. Thus, aims and objectives undergo changes from time to time. Consequently, curriculum needs continuous revision to suit to the needs of the changing society.
For preparing a suitable curriculum for our schools, we must follow certain principles such as:
- Principle of being child-centred
- Being community-centred
- Activity based (Learning by doing)
- Life centred
- Correlation of subjects
- Effective use of leisure and recreation
Other considerations are:
- The curriculum should lay emphasise on “learning to live rather than living to learn.”
- The curriculum should aim at moral and spiritual development of the child.
- The curriculum must be based on 21st century skills like collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, problem solving etc.
- The contents must be chosen with specific life skills like self-awareness, decision making, coping with stress, managing emotions etc.
- The content must have global awareness and be technology driven.
- The curriculum should be utility based, functional and practicable.
It is better to learn less, with thoroughness, if that is balanced and progressive, but it is not worthy to learn more that turns the individual into an educated but uncivilized person.
Prasanti Shadangi, M.Sc. (Life science), B.Ed. has14 years of experience in teaching domain. She is presently working as a Science Teacher at Jindal Vidya Mandir, JSW Township, Ballari District.