The concept of curriculum is of utmost importance to the modern education system. Although it is generally understood as subjects taught at different levels of education, a curriculum can be viewed as “experiences that individuals require for full participation in society” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017, p. 19). Several definitions exist in the literature, with many classifying the term as a plan for achieving educational goals while others view curriculum as a separate field of study (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017, p. 27). Today, educators should have extensive knowledge of the curriculum and its development and design to guide students’ education and support their overall development effectively.
In chapter 1, the authors discuss different approaches to curriculum, its foundations and domains, design, and the roles different stakeholders, including teachers and students, play within it. Ornstein and Hunkins (2017, p. 20) briefly outline behavioral, managerial, systems, academic, humanistic, and postmodern approaches to curriculum. Although separate educational organizations may favor different methods of curriculum design, it can be argued that elements of distinct approaches can help enhance a curriculum. Thus, the behavioral approach promotes efficiency by aligning all educational content and activities with specified goals and objectives, while the managerial focuses on implementing various policies and directives (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017, p. 20–22).
In contrast to its predecessors, humanistic and postmodern approaches consider the interest of the children and the parents and the impact of social, economic, and political institutions on social life and education (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017, p. 25–26). Careful integration of different elements of the discussed approaches can considerably improve a curriculum and students’ learning outcomes. Therefore, it is important to study the field of curriculum and different approaches to provide schools with the most efficient programs.
Although approaches to the curriculum can inform the content, it is primarily based on the concepts of foundations and domains. Curriculum foundations are external elements that affect what students learn, while curriculum domains are internal limitations to the content that help shape what is intentionally taught to the students (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2017, p. 30). It can be asserted that both the foundations and domains of curriculum depend on people who develop and design them and the government requirements.
Thus, Uwak (2018, p. 40) notes that curriculum foundations can be philosophical, historical, psychological, and social and reflect the curriculum workers’ experiences, knowledge, and culture. Despite these foundations being discussed from the point of view of historical perspective, it can be argued that they still are of great significance in the education system. Notably, education programs in Islamic countries are guided by Islam and its teachings (Khatab et al., 2020, p. 306). Overall, curriculum foundations have a significant impact on curriculum content and can define the curriculum domains.
Furthermore, teachers and students can affect the curriculum offered to them. Ornstein and Hunkins (2017, p. 38) state that students’ feedback should be incorporated into the curriculum in a limited form. However, it is essential not to allow excessive interference from students and parents as their influence may not benefit the set learning objectives. There are varying views on teacher involvement in curriculum design. However, teachers play the primary role in the curriculum implementation, and their particular methods and approaches to teaching can substantially change the curriculum. Thus, students and teachers can shape the curriculum, contributing to it being unique and addressing the learning needs of a particular set of students.
In summary, curriculum, as a plan for achieving the set educational goals and objectives and experiences necessary for successful participation in social life, presents a vital concept for the education system. There are numerous approaches to curriculum, with its content being developed by externally defined foundations and internally driven domains. Nevertheless, different curricula can be changed via constructive input from teachers and students if they find the program ineffective.
Khatab, H., Ali, M., Seif ElDeen, A., & Dahshan, A. (2020). The effectiveness of an English language program to develop al-azhar secondary school students’ environmental literacy in light of holy Quran and sunnah. Journal of Environmental Studies and Researches, 10(2), 305-322. Web.
Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2017). Curriculum: Foundations, principles, and issues (7th ed.). Pearson.
Uwak, S. O. (2018). Curriculum definition: A misleading philosophy. International Journal of Advancement in Development Studies, 13(2), 27–34.