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Importance

of

CURRICULUM and TEXTBOOKS

By:

Shah Faisal

ID:

1164-3000236

Program: B. Ed.
Course:

Contents and Methods

WHAT IS CURRICULUM?
Different educationalists use different set of words to define the
word curriculum. It is considered the heart of any learning
institution. In a broader perspective we may say that curriculum is
the total learning experience of individuals not only in any
institution, but in society as well. 1 It is the path on which a learner
walks to achieve the desired destination. One more comprehensive
definition of curriculum states that it is the totality of learning
experiences provided to students so that they can attain general
skills and knowledge at a variety of learning sites. 2
Curriculum refers to the means and materials with which students
will interact for the purpose of achieving identified educational
outcomes.3

IMPORTANCE OF CURRICULUM
Schools or universities cannot exist without a curriculum. With its
importance in formal education, curriculum has become a dynamic
process due to the changes that occur in our society. School
education transfers the values of one generation to another
generation. Curriculum plays the main role in providing the
sequenced learning experiences to the learners of different ages.
When we talk about the college and university education it includes
the necessary knowledge and skills required to survive in the
society. Any learning institution sets the main aim of education and
develops the curriculum to achieve the required objectives.
Curriculum is not limited to the content presented in textbooks,
workbooks, activity sheets; it also includes the setting of aims and
objectives for different learning stages. To achieve the educational
objectives curriculum guides the path and ways to the learner.
There are different audiences for the curriculum in the schools,
colleges and universities. They include but not limited to students,
teachers, parents, taxpayers, accreditation agencies, government
1 Bilbao et al., 2008.
2 http://coefaculty.valdosta.edu/stgrubbs/Definitions%20of%20Curriculum.htm
3 www.education.com
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bureaus, other political bodies, and even society as a whole. 4


Keeping in view the interests of different stakeholders the
development of right and appropriate curriculum for any nation
becomes a highly critical and crucial task. As formal learning
represents only a portion of ones life, the curriculum is not the
entire life but the designed life for the learner in any learning
institution. It is a document of some kind, and its purpose is to
focus teaching within some sort of common boundary and connect
the work of classroom teachers across boundaries because learning
occurs across many years5.

TYPES OF CURRICULUM
According to some educationalists, in a broader prospective, there
are at least three different types of curriculum in schools 6.
1. Formal curriculum: Formal curriculum is the one that usually
appears in curriculum guides, state regulations, or officially
sanctioned scope and sequence charts. This is the one that is
debated in public.
2. Informal curriculum: Informal curriculum represents the
unrecognized and unofficial aspects of designing or delivering
the curriculum. For example, in design, the informal curriculum
would represent the values at work in selecting curriculum
content that is only tangentially public. Such a value base is
always at work when it comes to selecting the content to be
included in schools. The informal curriculum may be the one in
delivery that is epitomized in various tracking plans that group
children by ability and then differentiate among them by
delivering a very different curriculum. The informal curriculum
also involves the subtle but important personality variables of

4 Rutter, Maughlan, Mortimore, Ouston, & Smith, 1979


5 English, 1987
6 Deciding What to Teach and Test: Developing, Aligning, and Auditing the Curriculum
by Fenwick W. English
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the teacher and the way these interact with students positively
or negatively to encourage improved pupil learning. 7
3. Hidden curriculum: Hidden curriculum refers to the unwritten,
unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and
perspectives that students learn in school. 8 It is taught without
formal recognition. It is based on the students learning other
than formal and informal curriculum in school environment.
Children derive this learning from the very nature and
organizational design of the school, as well as from the behaviors
and attitudes of teachers and administrators. 9 Usually such
learning is not examined formally.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CURRICULUM AND


TEXTBOOKS
Textbooks provide one feature in the context of text production
identified by Bowe et al. (1992) as one of the three contexts where
policy is created. The context of text production reflects the
interpretation of policy within different texts and has a dynamic and
symbiotic relationship with other contexts, namely the context of
influence, the site where public policy is normally initiated, and the
context of practice where policy is implemented.
Textbooks play a pivotal role in achieving the objectives set in
curriculum framework. New textbooks are most commonly part of a
curriculum revision process and normally support the introduction
of new and updated content (learning) and methodology.

POLICY
TRENDS
DEVELOPMENT

IN

TEXTBOOK

7 Deciding What to Teach and Test: Developing, Aligning, and Auditing the Curriculum
by Fenwick W. English
8 http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum/
9 https://www.ukessays.com/essays/education/differentiate-among-the-formalinformal-and-hidden-curriculum-education-essay.php
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In some countries ministries of education have their own textbook


publishing units. These are responsible for the production of all
textbooks with little or no reference to local or private publishers.
Policy trends in textbook development reflect a shift towards
private, market-driven systems of private textbook publishing. In
some countries the role of developing, producing and distributing
textbooks already belongs to private industry which bases its books
on subject syllabuses. In these circumstances the role of the
government may be to:
prepare clear and detailed subject syllabuses and textbook
guidelines;
make them available for the development of textbooks;
establish an objective process of evaluation and authorization of
textbooks;
decide the processes to be used in funding and distributing
textbooks to the schools;
set minimum standards of production;
perform the same functions with respect to other learning
materials;
protect intellectual property rights through appropriate
legislation.
In these contexts, ministries of education need to ensure that the
quality of textbooks and other materials is of a high standard and
that processes of publication, approval and distribution are
conducted in cost-efficient and timely manner. 10
School curriculum is supposed to be independent of textbook
adoption so that in theory, the textbook does not come to replace
curriculum but is instead a means of implementing it. Textbooks
are big business in education. In fact, it is estimated that thirty
percent of all books sold are purchased by the educational system,
and the elementary school and high school market accounts for
approximately 16% of total annual sales. 11 To be effective in
schools, and especially in a relationship with high stakes
10
http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/COPs/Pages_documents/Resource_Packs/TTCD/sitemap/Module_5/Module_5_1_concept.
html

11 Keith, 1991, p. 45
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accountability tests, a curriculum must have at least three essential


characteristics. As a work plan, a curriculum must provide for
consistency (or coordination). It must provide for continuity (or
articulation). A curriculum must also provide for flexibility in
adaptation as teachers interact with students. Flexibility means
that the curriculum must be open to some interpretations in terms
of how and under what classroom circumstances the content is
most optimally taught. This means that the curriculum must be
capable of being changed by altering the sequencing and pacing of
its delivery without fundamentally altering its design fidelity.

TEXTBOOKS
Textbooks are those books that are designated as the primary
source of instruction for students in a course, or unit of instruction
within a course. The textbook definition also includes those
materials pertaining to textbooks that are an integral part of the
textbook. They include, but are not limited to, textbooks, trade
books, slides, compact discs, computer software, CD-ROMS, and
digital content.
Supplemental materials: Supplemental materials are those
items used to extend and support instruction and address the
needs of all learners. They include, but are not limited to, books,
flashcards, periodicals, pamphlets, visual aids, video recordings,
sound recordings, compact discs, computer software, and other
digital content and peripherals.
Objectives of textbooks/instructional material: The primary
objective of instructional materials is to support, enrich, and help
implement the educational program of any school through the
interaction of professional teaching staff and other members.
Other objectives are:
1. To enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration
the varied interests, abilities, learning styles, and maturity levels
of the students
2. To stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation,
aesthetic values, and societal standards
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3. To develop the practice of critical analysis and enable learners to


make informed judgments in their daily lives under the rulings of
Islamic Shariah
4. To describe practicing Muslims as responsible and successful
citizens of society
5. To develop the mindset of acting upon the Shari rulings
6. To develop the love for learning Islamic sciences
7. To provide materials representative of the different ethnic and
cultural groups and that contribute to the national heritage and
the world community
It is the textbooks that provide the detailed knowledge implicit in
the national curriculum programmes of study which, by their very
nature, are succinct and broad descriptions of the content that
needs to be taught. High quality textbooks support both teachers
and pupils they free teachers up to concentrate on refining
pedagogy and developing engaging, effective learning.
The End

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