The concept, need of philosophical foundation and scope of the curriculum

Discuss the concept and scope of curriculum?

Discuss the concept and scope of the curriculum 

By: Meher Bano Harri

M.Sc. (Zoology), M.Ed. (Science, Education)  

 Course: Curriculum Development and Instructions

Important Note: This material is written for our academic notes which are published keeping in view the needs of other students.

This means that the content should be credited and the website referenced so that copyright principles are adhered to.

This material is by the curriculum of Allama Iqbal Open University Level M.Ed. So visit the University website for further study.

Full details of this content can be obtained by contacting us.

Our contact page

The following points are often important in the minds of the people regarding the educational objectives and studies which we have personally studied and re-arranged it keeping in view the educational objectives especially the need of a Master or graduate student. Be helpful the key points are as follows.

  1. Discuss the concept and scope of the curriculum
  2. Concept and scope of curriculum
  3. Concept nature and scope of curriculum
  4. Concept need and scope of curriculum development
  5. Concept and scope of curriculum
  6. Importance of curriculum
  7. Types of curriculum
  8. Discuss the concept and scope of the curriculum.
  9. Explain the need for philosophical foundations of the curriculum?

We will discuss the last point and question here, the concept, need for philosophical foundation, and scope of the curriculum.

Curriculum Scope and Concept

There are numerous use of the word’ curriculum’ The concise Oxford dictionary defines it as a course of study and note it derives from the Latin word for a chariot race course. For a definition of curriculum, people would say that the curriculum includes English, Mathematics, Social studies .science music, and art. However that that would certainly tell very little about the learning experiences you might be engaged in or what it is hoped you might achieve as a result of these experiences.

There exist now several definitions and curricula used by writers in the field.

  1. A) According to J.F.Kerr (1968)’” all the learning ethics is planned in guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or out the school

B )H.RUGG (1936) states that the curriculum is the entire program of schoolwork it is the essential means of education, thus it is too fold in nature being made up of the activity the things done, and structured the materials with which they are done

  1. c) M.JOHNSON (1967) curriculum is a structure series of indented learning outcomes curriculum prescribes the results of instruction it does not prescribe the means that is the activities of, the materials even the instructional contents, to be used in achieving results.
  2. D) G.A. Bean champ (1968, p.34) says:

(a curriculum is)…”a design of a social group for the educational experiences of their children in school. 

A close look at these four definitions will reveal that the focus of our study of the curriculum would be different in each case. If we accepted definition A, we might study the planning of learning as well as what takes place both inside and outside the school. Some writers use the word curriculum rather narrowly. Bruner (1960) refers to a subject that “the curriculum of a subject should be determined by the most fundamental understanding that can be achieved of the underlying principles that give the structure to that subject “. But the subject’s curriculum is often taken as the content of particular courses e.g. the history curriculum might be explained by reference to the topics covered.

Stenhouse (1975) refers to the which he brought in a bookshop in OSLO the curriculum for comprehensive in Norway. It is a 350-page book, “Master Plan  Grunnskolen “It includes statements of aims and specifies to be covered for every subject in each year of the school it also gives guidance on methods to be used in teaching.

The idea of curriculum as merely a set of written intentions overlooks those things which go on in school which are unplanned and unintended. The term “hidden curriculum “is often used to refer to some of the unintended consequences of the experiences students have in schools. A greater understanding of the operation of a hidden curriculum can help curriculum planners avoid some unintended outcomes.

Stenhouse 1975 elaborates on his definition, by saying;

“A curriculum is how the experiences of attempting to put education into practice are made publicly available. It involves both content and method and in its widest applications take account of the problem of implementation in the institutions of the educational system”.

 Thus, for curriculum evaluation, purposes, the most useful definition would include the experiences which learners had, regardless of whether they were planned or not. If, on the other hand, one was engaged in curriculum planning a definition that emphasized a design or plan for action be the most useful. That should serve to remind you to clarify the meaning of the curriculum before you see it and alert you to concede the meaning of the word which is implied by various writers in the field.

Walton 1976 proposed another way of organizing numerous definitions of curr the inoculum into a more manageable form he has devised a simple typology in to which all definitions of the curriculum will fit. He points out that definitions of curriculum have become more inclusive about areas covered, and that more references are made to the learner when considering the areas to be included.

At the other extreme, in the last box in the last column would be the type of curriculum related to environmental involvement which would be responsive to the needs of learners.

Commenting on his typology WALTON 1976 says,

“The curriculum types suggested in the foregoing typology themselves reflect a stance taken by their supporters related to several variables, viz., knowledge process and child .these variables themselves are subject to change. Figure I whilst indicating certain general interpretations that are associated with those boxes labeled criteria of selection .these interpretations tend to change over time as new knowledge and new insight appear”.    

The scope of the curriculum

There are several distant areas of study and action related to the curriculum. Terms such as curriculum foundations, curriculum design, curriculum construction, curriculum development, curriculum implementation, and curriculum innovation abound. 

Just as there is no precise, agreed definition of the term curriculum these terms are also used in various in various ways often rather loosely and interchangeably. The relationship b/w some of the concepts

Curriculum Development


Curriculum construction

       Which is based on?

Curriculum foundations  

  1. A) Curriculum development :

Curriculum development refers to the total process of designing, implementing, and evaluating a curriculum It includes decisions about who will be involved in curriculum construction and the procedures to be used.   Curriculum development includes the process of curriculum construction however it might also embrace decisions to set a parent meeting and attempt to carry out what skill beck refers to as a situational analysis including for example .an effort to systematically collect data about the population and area in which the school serves and analysis of the constraints and strength within the school itself.

  1. B) Curriculum construction:

This term has traditionally been used to cover all the processes involved in curriculum making. It is often used synonymously with the term curriculum development however it can be argued that while curriculum development refers to the entire process of designing and constructing a curriculum construction refers to a part of that process in which decisions are made about the elements of the curriculum designed. 

  1. c) Curriculum implementation:

Curriculum implementation is a term over which there is probably more agreement about its meaning than any other it means quite a literary implementation of the curriculum which has been produced through the processes of curriculum developmental construction whilst this stage is usually thought to follow curriculum development. It is sometimes the case that a curriculum is being developed and implemented almost concurrently thus an early draft of part of a programmer may be implemented. This provides the potential for collecting evaluation data to provide some evaluated due feedback to the curriculum developer which can guide the future.

  1. d) Curriculum design:

This term is applied to the arrangements of the elements of the is often used interchangeably with the term .curriculum organization the elements usually included in a curriculum are one. The aims and intentions are sometimes expressed as precise objectives for the subject matter or content. 

  1. e) Curriculum foundation:

Curriculum foundation generally refers to the basic forces or ideas which influence and shape the curriculum. It is usually considered that these include philosophical ideas about the nature of education and knowledge. The influence of society’s cultural views about the person and child and how he or she learns. The influence of these foundation areas is dealt with in more detail in this guide.

  1. f) The issues of curriculum change and innovation:

The term curriculum change and curriculum innovation are frequently used interchangeably however the two are not the same curriculum change refer to changes that occur in the curriculum throughout timesome time. They are frequent responses to certain social or economic changes which occur in society at large. Changes may occur in any of the elements of the curriculum that distinction b/w change and innovation is that change is not necessarily planned. It just happens, curriculum innovation refers to a very deliberate attempt to foster something new in the curriculum. By now many writers accept that an activity has to be judged by its innovations in its context.  


Explain the need for the philosophical foundations of the curriculum. 


Curriculum constitutes the means through which the objectives of knowledge, and the objectives of education are achieved. The term curriculum refers to the totality of activities and experiences planned by the school with the view to achieving the objectives of education. And justify the various curricular activities that are normally provided in the school. Curriculum planning should begin with a clarification of the objectives which it seeks to achieve the philosophy of education also helps by providing a better understanding of issues relating to knowledge which is a central concern of curriculum.

The philosophical foundations:

The following are the philosophical issues that can affect curriculum decisions related to

  1. a) The aims of education
  2. b) The structure of knowledge
  3. c) The worth and wholeness of knowledge
  4. a) The aims of Education:3

Eisner, e (1979) outlines five possible emphases in any curriculum. These are

  1. The development of cognition processes
  2. Academic rationalism
  3. Personal relevance
  4. Social adaptation and social reconstruction
  5. Curriculum as technology.

a)Each orientation assume a particular view of educational virtues and serves to legitimate certain practices rather than others in practice. This orientation is pointed out by Eisner(1979) are unlikely to occur in pure forms and secondly that their appropriateness to a particular group of students depends very much on their contexts.

  1. b) The structure of knowledge:

If one accepts the view that knowledge can exist independent of no worth then it is then logical to ask. What is the structure of that knowledge? In this regard, Schwab (1975) identifies three problems concerning the nature of the discipline of knowledge. These include

  1. The problem of determining the membership and organization of the disciplines of identifying the significantly different disciplines and of locating their relation to one another.
  2. The problem of substantive structures of each discipline by this Schwab means the conceptual structure of a discipline which tells us how to observe and interpret data.
  3. The problem of the syntactical issues of the disciplines by base h means how one perceives each particular discipline what criteria it uses for measuring the quality of data how strictly it applies cannons of evidence and generally determining the root or pathway by which the discipline moves from its raw data through the longer or shorter process of interpretation to its conclusion.

         Once you have identified which discipline or discipline forms of knowledge realism of meaning form the basis of the document and how they relate to each other if appropriate you should turn your attention to a closer examination of the views of the disciplines which are being emphasized in the documents.

       Hearst (1974) identified four criteria for the identification of a form of knowledge. These were:

  1. That it possessed distinctive central concepts
  2. That it utilizes a distinctive mode of inquiry
  3. That it had a clear logical structure
  4. That it has its tests for truth or methods of verification

Schwab(1975) used only two categories he refer to the substantive structure of the discipline and the syntactical structure. The syntactical substantive structures can be seen in the key concept and how it relates to each other while the syntactical structures can be seen as the processes of inquiry and the appropriate tests for truth.

       Two examples of objectives should demonstrate the differences in emphasis

  1. Substantive structure emphasis structure emphasized objectives:

You will be able to: explain

1) The perimeter of a square and the lamp of one of its sides.

2) To introduce you to interpolation (estimation of the value of an unobserved intermediate value in a known sequence) and extra pollution (estimation of the value of a variable outside of tabulated or observed range).

    In the first example emphasis is placed on the key concepts for example square parameter, circle, and diameter) and the relationships b/w them. While the second emphasis is on the process of recording and analyzing data and how it is used to make statements or hypotheses (through intra plat ion and extra polationhave ).


B). the worthwhileness of knowledge:3

Learning is a function of the interaction between the individual and those aspects of the environment with which they personal relevance during the inter-functional process new modes of physical behavior are generated, feelings are intensified or changed, and ways of explaining the experiences are formed

“Knowledge can be defined as the meanings which are generated as a result of interaction between the individual and some object, situation or idea”.

From this perspective, knowledge is seen to be essentially a personal phenomenon, an explanation at the cognitive level of the objectives, situations, and ideas encounter, and the inner and outer world. Such educational practices reflect a confusion b/w what Schwab ( refers to as” knowledge versus information” and Phoenix (1964) calls knowing versus knowledge.” Both these educational philosophers acknowledge the possibility of transmitted information but suggest that this is not the same thing as ensuring that learners possess knowledge that they can use.

Confusion about the relationship between stored information and operational knowledge is one of the many problems facing educational thinking and practices. Another tendency is to create a dictum b/w knowledge as an appreciable body of information to be learned and to promote one at the expenexpenseses of the other. In this unit, the assumption is made that both are not perspectives of the same concept, and the traditional perspectives, each focus on one aspect of the same concept.

Social knowledge represents shreds of sets of meanings used by society. These shared sets of meanings are solutions to recurring problems faced by members of society interacting in a particular environment. Each new member of society faces some recurring problems and in the process of searching for solutions encounters culturally defined meanings and artifacts. These may be adopted if they prove useful to individuals. Schutz and Lakhman (1973) do not an important role that the process of socialization. Every human being must experience a place in determining not only which solutions are available to the young but also what they will define as problems. Thus the social environment in which children children are reared has an important influence on how children interact within those environments and on the meanings they construct to explain their experiences yet the extent to which social knowledge is assimilated will depend ultimately on the extent to which that knowledge contributes to each child sense.

Assumptions about what sort of knowledge is most worthwhile in mainly reflected in the amount of choice allowed by the syllabus in Bernstein’s terms the strength and weakness of the framing.

The first adopts the view of a child’s interests are potentially educative and the teacher’s task is to locate the child’s interest and encourage them. The second adopts the view that a child’s interest must be aroused and used as a motivational device. Thus the teacher has to create interest to lead children to learn what someone else deems they ought to know.

1. Pupils interest is a basis for selecting objectives 

 the child-chosen curriculum according to Wilson p.s. (1971) to advocate learning in this way through interest is not to assist multitudinous and often nefarious interests which any particular child has in practice even a child himself has to choose which of his interests to follow at any particular time. Over and above such educational grounds for selections, however, teachers must consider whether or not a particular interest is undesirable or other grounds such as its being probably dangerous or being morally obnoxious.

  1. Pupils’ interest: The instrumental view:

Mid-winter, e.(1972) says that interest is about method why agreeing whole heartedly that a child must be interested to be educated. The reverse is not true otherwise a diet of television cereals might it will equally the teacher’s function not only to opt easily for what is interesting but to make a professional judgment about what is valuable and then by shrewd Deployment of methodology to make it interesting and tempting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *