Eight Types of Cirriculum

1. The recommended curriculum is the one developed by experts in the field. "Almost every discipline-based professional group has promulgated curriculum standards for its field," Glatthorn (2001a) writes. However, he adds, with a few exceptions this curriculum "has little impact on the written curriculum and perhaps less of an effect on the classroom teacher". Still, it's interesting to see what experts in the disciplines think are important understandings for students.

2. The written curriculum specifies what is to be taught and is produced by the state, the school system, the school, and the classroom teacher. The written curriculum, Glatthorn explains, is the document that results after a group of educators states, "We're going to develop a mathematics curriculum." District-level documents usually include a curriculum guide and a scope-and-sequence chart. The written curriculum also includes materials developed by classroom teachers. Many school systems make their curriculum documents available though databases and the Internet.

But the written curriculum only moderately influences the taught curriculum, according to Glatthorn. Most experienced teachers review the guide at the beginning of the year and then put it aside as they weigh other factors in deciding what to teach.

3. The supported curriculum is the one you'll find featured in textbooks, software, and multimedia materials. "The supported curriculum continues to exert a strong influence on the taught curriculum," writes Glatthorn in the Journal of Curriculum and Supervision (2001b, pp. 26–34). This is especially true for elementary teachers who teach four or five subjects, he notes. As a result, the textbook becomes their major source of content knowledge.

4. The tested curriculum is the curriculum addressed in state tests, school system tests, and teacher-made tests. The term "test" includes standardized tests, competency tests, and performance assessments. "Will this be on the test?" is a common refrain heard throughout schools.

In today's educational climate, the tested curriculum seems to have the strongest influence on teachers and students, observes Glatthorn (2001b). Teachers, concerned about how their students will perform on a test, devote time to helping students develop what Glatthorn calls "test-wiseness.

5. The taught curriculum is the curriculum that teachers actually deliver. It includes the lectures, the lessons, the projects, the performance assessment activities—everything that happens in the classroom to help students attain learning objectives.

If teachers are involved in helping create the written curriculum, those documents will become more of a resource to teachers than textbooks, even though the supported curriculum—the textbook—greatly influences the taught curriculum.

6. The learned curriculum is what students learn. Glatthorn calls this the "bottom-line" curriculum. "We want a close congruence between what's taught and what's learned," he told educators at ASCD's 55th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show (2000). Clearly, he states, this has to be the most important objective.

Still, "a significant gap exists between the taught and the learned. Students do not always learn what they are taught" (Glatthorn, 2001b, p. 26).

What accounts for that gap? According to Glatthorn, students may not find the curriculum meaningful and challenging, and teachers may not notice when students aren't engaged or motivated to learn.

7. The hidden curriculum is not found in textbooks or curriculum documents; it's what students learn from the school's culture and climate. The hidden curriculum, explains Glatthorn, includes such elements as the use of time, allocation of space, funding for programs and activities, and disciplinary policies and practices. "All those hidden messages that make a really strong impact on students," he says (2001b).

Glatthorn (2000) gave the following examples:

In one elementary school, art is taught 50 minutes a week. Children receive reading instruction for 200 minutes a week. What's the message? Art doesn't matter, reading does

Back in the 70s, a written curriculum on moral development was developed. This marvelous written curriculum presented moral dilemmas to the students. The curriculum was developed by experts in the field, and it really was a high-quality curriculum. They implemented it in some schools in New England and found, to their dismay, that those materials did not make a difference in the youngster's moral development. They asked themselves why, and they proceeded to find out that this was the case: The youngsters were talking about justice in the classroom in what were very unjust schools. The hidden curriculum sends a message of injustice and the classroom was "all talk" about justice. The point is that the hidden curriculum in many ways can make more of an impact upon the learned curriculum than we might expect.

8. The excluded curriculum is what has been left out of the learning program. As we noted at the beginning of this lesson, curriculum development demands choices. As a result, some topics are left out of the curriculum intentionally. Sometimes issues are excluded unintentionally. In either case, students may not be given opportunities to study some important topics because of their absence from the approved learning program. As Glatthorn writes (2001b), educators should examine the excluded curriculum and look for ways to "recapture content" important for students to learn and seek ways to "restore it" to the learning program.

Educator Heidi Hayes Jacobs agrees:

All decisions about curriculum should be made with the interest and the needs of the student in mind. Sometimes I actually think that doesn't happen. I think sometimes teachers make decisions about curriculum based on what they like to teach, some of their own interests. (Checkley, 1999)


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 Crafting Cirriculum: An Introduction
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  ASCD, (2000), Crafting Cirriculum: An Introduction, Retrieved on 2016-01-19
Folksonomies: education cirriculum