MODULE 1 CURRICULUM and INSTRUCTION INTRODUCTION Curriculum is defined as a plan for providing sets of learning opportunities for persons to be educated (Saylor et al. 1981). They point out further that the term plan should be viewed as an intention rather than a blueprint, that planning opportunities for learning requires making choices, and that plans have no impact until they are set in motion. In this context, learning opportunities remain only opportunities until learners become engaged with the opportunities. Instruction is defined as the actual engagements of learners with planned learning opportunities; thus, instruction can be thought of as the implementation of the curriculum plan (Saylor et al., 1981). They emphasize that the terms curriculum and instruction are interlocked. Thus, without a curriculum plan there can be no effective instruction, and without instruction the curriculum has no meaning. General Objective To know the different definitions of curriculum and instruction and their relationships. Specific Objectives. After studying this module, you should be able to: 1. Define the terms curriculum and instruction. 2. Understand the relationship between curriculum and instruction. 3. Differentiate the four models of curriculum-instruction relationship. 4. Answer the given questions at the end of this module. Definitions of Curriculum The term curriculum comes from the Latin root, “currere,” which means “to run”. In educational usage, the “course of the race,” with time came to stand for the “course of study”. Nowadays, curriculum could have different meanings for different people depending on how it is used (Palma, 1992). Over the years, definitions of curriculum have included the following: 1. It is the cumulative tradition of organized knowledge 2 2. It is the modes of thought 3. It is a race experience 4. It is a guided experience 5. It is a planned learning environment 6. It is a cognitive/affective content and process 7. It is an instructional plan 8. It is an instructional ends or outcomes 9. It is a technological system of production 10. It is the formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciations, and values under the auspices of that school. 11. It is the program of studies, the program of experiences, the program of services, and the hidden curriculum, and 12. It is the sum of all learning content, experiences and resources that are purposely selected, organized and implemented by the school in pursuit of its peculiar mandate as a distinct institution of learning and human development. Despite the variety of definitions of curriculum gathered by the author, there is at least a common denominator in these definitions that is, the curriculum exists for the learner providing him with education experiences in order to effectively pursue the general aims the schools are to pursue. Additionally, the curriculum must possess specific criteria in order to effectively assist the educator to meet the requirements for teaching and learning. It depends on the school of thought one embraces. It is readily seen that curriculum is an indispensable ingredient in the school. Without this curriculum, there is no school. What the constitution is to state, the curriculum is to an educational institution. A good curriculum must satisfy certain criteria, namely: (a) it is continuously evolving (b) is based on the needs of the people (c) is democratically conceived (d) is the result of long term efforts (e) is a complex of details (f) provides for a logical sequence of subject matter (g) complements and cooperates with other programs in the community (h) has educational quality, and (i) has administrative flexibility Definitions of Instruction 3 (a) An instruction is a form of communicated information that is both command and explanation for how an action, behavior, method, or task is to begun, completed, conducted, or executed. (b) The teaching and training activities of an institution, whether offered for credit or not and whether offered through regular departments or special divisions. Departmental or unfunded research is considered a part of Instruction. (c) A planned process that facilitates learning. (d) The delivery of information to enable learning. The process by which knowledge and skills are transferred to students. Instruction applies to both training and education. (e) Something written in a programming language that tells the computer to do a single small computation step. (f) The methods and processes by which pupil’s behavior are changed. (g) Instruction includes the activities dealing with the teaching of pupils. Teaching may be provided for pupils in a school classroom, in another location such as in a home or hospital, and other learning situations such as those involving co-curricular activities; it may also be provided through some other approved medium such as television, radio, telephone, and correspondence. (h) Arranging conditions and contingent relationships by using materials or media whereby learning occurs according to plan. (i) An instruction is to do something. Nature of Possible Relationships The definitions for curriculum and instruction suggest that a relationship should exist between “what is taught” and “how is taught”. To suggest that these entities have no relationship defies common sense. That leaves two possibilities: curriculum and instruction could either be disjoint entities with some interrelated functions or not disjoint, sharing several functions. Each possibility is described here. Curriculum and instruction can be thought of as separate, but interrelated, entities. This means that although curricular functions are separate from those for instruction, the effects of decisions in one entity affect decisions in the other. A number of models have been proposed that show curriculum interrelated with instruction. Furthermore, curriculum and instruction are systematically related; curriculum system decisions feed into an instructional system as shown in Figure 1. 4 Structuring criteria Curriculum Curriculum (structured series of Learning Development Instructional outcomes intended learning system system outcomes) Selection criteria Instrumental content Teaching Source behavior (available teachable cultural content) reporters Figure 1. A model showing the relationship between curriculum and instruction in a technical approach. Frequently, in this model the curriculum and instructional functions are handled by different sets of people. Curriculum developers select and sequence (or structure) content from the available teachable cultural content in the form of intended learning outcomes, two actions that are clearly curricular functions. Based on their repertories of teaching strategies, instructional planners/teachers deliver instruction that enables students to attain actual learning outcomes. As part of this process, teachers choose additional content from the same source (shown in Figure 1 as instrumental content) that helps students learn the intended outcomes. For example, teachers who provide vocabulary development instruction often use similes or metaphors as instrumental content to help students learn meanings of new words. In this model, curriculum clearly guides instruction. Although an evaluation system is not shown in Figure 1, Johnson’s model requires that observable evidence be gathered in the instructional system. These empirical results are fed back into the curriculum system, setting up potential changes in the curriculum and completing the cycle. Curriculum functions are separate from, but related to, instructional functions. In this approach the planner-teacher begins by identifying a general area for study, clearly a curricular function. Then the teacher guides the initial shared experience and assists students in interactions among themselves with the content and teacher. 5 These interactions make the area of study meaningful through a series of instructional functions such as sharing experiences, observation, recording expressions, questioning, analyzing, and hypothesizing. In the diagram, these interactions are noted by double-headed arrow suggesting two-way activity between students and teacher. The planner-teacher may also provide further input and foster closure. Beyond the first step in this particular mode, curriculum and instruction are not easy distinguished. The Relationship between Curriculum and Instruction As we have learned, curriculum is a plan (a set of learning content and experiences that are selected, planned, organized and implemented) while instruction is implementation of the plan. These two are separate concept but dependent upon each other. Curriculum as defined by Oliver is that which is taught. Is a program, plan, content and learning experiences. It could also be conceived as the “what?” Instruction could be viewed as the means used to teach that which is taught. Instruction may be characterized as methodology, the teaching act, implementing and presentation. Therefore, instruction is defined as the interaction between a teaching agent and one or more individuals intending to learn. Moreover, instruction is concerned with the organization of the learners, the learning environment, and the experiences of learning in order to achieve the stated goals of school. According to Pratt (1994), it refers to curriculum content and teaching strategies. He emphasized twelve principles of effective instruction, these are: time on task, motivation, mastery learning, high expectations, reading and study skills, planned lessons, an orderly environment, instructional variety, cooperative learning, computer-assisted instruction, school ethos, and parent involvement. Similarly, Dole et al. (1991) stressed that instruction can be characterized as a process in which teachers attempt to make learning sensible and students attempt to make sense of learning. In brief, instruction has two aspects: teaching and learning. Teaching is the process of stimulating, directing, guiding and encouraging learning activity. This process encompasses eight (8) elements or so-called 8M’s of teaching (Milieu, Matter, Material, Method, Media, Motivation, Mastery, and Measurement). Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and values. On the other hand, instruction is the creation and implementation of purposely developed plans for the teaching of curriculum content. It is what teachers often concisely refer to as “planning” and “teaching.” The relationship between curriculum and instruction is so intimate that “curriculum and instruction” is frequently spoken as if it were one word, “curstruction” or “instriculum”. With curriculum being the content of what is taught along with an 6 overall process of how that content is to be taught, and instruction being the more detailed plans and the way those plans are implemented in order to teach the curriculum content, it becomes easy to understand that the two must be compatible in order to maximize student learning. The case of multiage illustrates this close tie that exists between curriculum and instruction. Currently, the most common classroom structure in American elementary schools is the single-grade classroom. This structure is meant to make instruction more efficient, allowing students of the same age to move through curriculum content at the same pace. In these classrooms, the most prevalent teaching method is whole-class direct instruction. Because of the dominance of this structure nation-wide, commercially available curriculum and state learning standards are designed to be implemented in this type of learning environment. Some educators in their efforts to improve education have switched from a single-grade classroom structure to a multiage one. The multiage structure purposely places students of different ages together in the same classroom while supporting an individualized continuous progress instructional model. While changing the structure of the classroom, multiage educators also change the instructional methods they use in order to better much the needs of their diverse group of students. They have found that “curriculum designed for use in single-grade classroom is not always adaptable to environments in which whole-class direct instruction pacing are needs that are central to multiage practices.” The instructional methods used by these teachers necessitate that curriculum be organized in a compatible manner. The relationship between curriculum and instruction are like Siamese. One cannot survive without the other. Both curriculum and instruction require decision making. There are four models under this. Oliver identified four models of curriculum-instruction relationship: 1. Dualistic Model 2. Interlocking Model 3. Concentric Model 4. Cyclical Model 1. Dualistic Model This type of model has two entities – curriculum is on one side and instruction on the other. They do not meet. Yet, they are like Siamese twins whereby one cannot function without the other. What takes place in the classroom under the direction of the teacher seems to have little relationship with what the master plan says should go in the classroom. The planners ignore the instruction which should go hand in hand with the curriculum. With this 7 model, the curriculum or instruction may change without significantly affecting one another. They function independently. Curriculum Instruction 2. Interlocking Model As the name implies, curriculum and instruction depend on each other. Since the system is interlocking each other therefore, there is a relationship. It depicts an integrated relationship between each. Hence, the separation of the two may bring harm to each other. Curriculum Instruction Instruction Curriculum 3. Concentric Model This model reveals varying degree of independence, interlocking from complete detachment to interlocking relationship. In this model, instruction is with curriculum as such as a subsystem. Curriculum Instruction Instruction Curriculum 4. Cyclical Model 8 This model is a simplified model which stresses the essential element of feedback. Curriculum and instruction are separate entities with a continuing circular relationship. The idea is that curriculum makes a continuous impact on instruction and, vice versa. The implication is that instructional decisions are made after curricular decisions which in turn are modified after instructional decisions are implemented and evaluated. Though the diagram below show curriculum and instruction as separate, they should not be perceived that way- they should be seen as parts of a sphere. Curriculum Instruction CONCLUSION Curriculum gives meaning and directions to all educational efforts. It is a plan for providing sets of learning opportunities for individuals to be educated while instruction is the implementation of the plan. The relationship between curriculum and instruction are like Siamese. One cannot survive without the other. Both curriculum and instruction require decision making. Questions to Answer 1. What is curriculum?, Instruction? 2. If you are to compare the curriculum, what is it like? Why? 3. Differentiate the four models of curriculum-instruction relationship. 4. In your own understanding, illustrate the relationship that exists between curriculum and instruction.
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