What is Curriculum? Building a Broader Understanding of the Term

Mohammed El-Astal


This paper is an attempt to come to a broader understanding of the term ‘curriculum.’ To that end, tens of curriculum definitions from language teaching and education literature were collected and analyzed using a proposed analytical formula. The ‘theme-rheme’ or ‘trunk-branch’ (as described and explained in the methodology) formula proposed here was utilized from Halliday’s (1985) systemic functional linguistics (SFL). This formula helps identify the part of the definition in which the topic is stated and the part of the definition in which Schwab’s (1973) commonplaces (main ideas) or some of them are discursively represented. This formula is not only helpful for analyzing definitions but also for writing definitions. Based on the analysis of definitions collected, the study defines curriculum as prescriptive content that illustrates what will be taught in a given educational program, who will teach, who will be taught, with what tools and in what context, with what effect, and how learners will be assessed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jct.v12n6p188


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