Define curriculum, and why it is important.

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lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Curriculum is the defined statement that maps out the interrelated elements of a group of related courses of study.  A curriculum is "prescriptive" and sets out the educational tasks and experiences of the grades children pass through. A curriculum details the classes and class work students will engage in and may be determined by an external authority like the Department of Education.

Elements central to the classroom and related to the curriculum are: the skills to be learned by the students, the activities and strategies to be employed in the learning of the skills, the materials that will be used to learn the skills, and the assessments that will be used to measure student learning to determine level of mastery.  The importance of a defined, documented curriculum is that it provides a balanced road map for the teacher and the students in a course.  If a teacher thinks about teaching a class without all four of the above elements, then student learning suffers.  For example, in a writing class, the teacher should have a list of specific writing skills he wants the students to learn and he should create small lessons to teach and allow for student practice.  He should consider which books, programs, or resources he will use to aid in student learning, and he should know what the final product will ideally look like.  For a teacher to just say, "I want students to write a personal narrative" isn't enough.  He must ask himself what smaller skills make up a successful narrative.  He should look for appropriate samples for the students to review.  He should create specific practice writing activities to address specific skills, and finally he should put those skills together in an assignment that will measure the student's ability to use those skills to write a successful essay. The rubric or scoring of that essay should be an evaluation of the skills taught.

I personally think that many times teachers get too caught up in the "what I want to teach" that they forget the reason for teaching is skills.  They say to themselves, "I really want to teach The Great Gatsby," but they don't ask themselves why they want to teach it or what the students will learn by having read it.  They should instead ask themselves what reading or writing skills they can teach using the novel as the material. The title of a novel, a time period in a history class, or topic in any class may be essential to the content of the class, but these are only individual aspects of fulfilling an entire curriculum.

gopikrishna's profile pic

gopikrishna | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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curriculum provides a framework for your child’s education; ensuring that

continuity can be provided across the country if children need

to move or change schools.

It allows for all children to have an equal opportunity to learn,

setting standards and common aims. At its core, it strives to

develop, in the children, a knowledge and understanding of

themselves and others. The curriculum aims to instil values to

help the children make good judgement throughout life by ensuring

they have a good sense of right and wrong.

The school aims to ensure the National Curriculum is accessible

for all children irrespective of gender, race, class, disability or

religious beliefs. The class teacher will identify any individual

needs the children may have that need to be addressed.

If a child has special needs, their needs will be met within the

class room situation by the class teacher. Appropriate resources

will be used and support given from the teacher or Teaching

Assistants to ensure the curriculum is accessible. The school

follows the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice.

Children for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL) will

be supported through work adapted to the individual child’s

needs.

We also recognise Gifted and Talented children and ensure that

they are encouraged and challenged through differentiated

work.

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