Curriculum Development and Change


There seems to be a lot of controversy and uncertainty as to ¡¥what is the curriculum?¡¦ As such, there is a distributing lack of consensus on an all-embracing definition of this comprehensive concept. This is, in part, due to the various interpretations, meanings, emphasis and approaches that the scholars of curriculum studies embark upon. This, in turn, leaves the education practitioners and the general public in the dark as to what constitutes that which should be considered as ¡¥good curriculum practice¡¦ in educational institutions.

This exposition seeks to highlight and evaluate the key concepts of the curriculum and some of the factors that have marked influence on curriculum planning, curriculum development and change. The impact that learning environments, learning theories, culture, ideologies and knowledge have on the curriculum will be briefly brought to the fore.

The term curriculum is derived from a Latin word ¡¥curere¡¦ meaning the ¡¥racecourse¡¦. Implicit in the meaning is, as cited by Fraser, W.J. et al (1990:81). The fact that the curriculum is ¡¥a relatively fixed track or terrain (learning content) which must be covered (mastered) by the participant (learner) in order to reach the winning-post (learning result).¡¦

Based on this literal meaning, attempts to clarify what the curriculum is have led to the following definitions:
„X A programme of study
„X Course content
„X Planned learning experiences
„X Intended learning outcomes
„X A plan for instruction

According to Graham-Jolly, M. (2000:3), these definitions are narrow interpretations of the curriculum since

¡Kthe term is often used to refer to the formal academic programme provided by a school, as reflected in subjects on the timetable,,,it might also be used to refer to a particular course of instruction or syllabus.

The focus here is, in the main, on didactic activities as they occur within the classroom situation.

The latest trend, however, places emphasis on a broader and more inclusive interpretation of the concept, which takes into cognisance the social, political, economic and historical contexts within which the curriculum is designed, developed and implemented.

Lubisi, C et al (...

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...dequately addressed in an essay of this nature. I also found out that some elements that influence the curriculum are so interrelated and it was not always easy to discuss each one separately.


„X Fraser, WJ. (1990). ¡¥Didactics¡¦, South Africa: Butterworths
„X Gatawa, B.S.M. (1990) ¡¥The Politics of the Curriculum¡¦, Zimbabwe: Jongwe Press.
„X Graham-Jolly, M. (200) ¡¥The Curriculum: Theory and Practice¡¦ London: Paul Chapman
„X King, M. (1991) ¡¥The Politics of Curriculum, Structure and Processes¡¦, Pietermaritzburg : Centaur Publishers
„X Lemmer, E. (1999) ¡¥Contemporary Education¡¦ Sandton: Heinemann
„X Lubisi, C. et al (1998). ¡¥Thinking about Curriculum¡¦ Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
„X Ozmon, H.A. and Craver, S. M. (1986). ¡¥Philosophical Foundations of Education¡¦. Ohio: Merrill
„X Taylor, P. and Richards, C. M. (1987). ¡¥Curriculum Studies¡¦ Berkshire: Nelson
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