Curriculum is the backbone of the educational system. It is like the Geeta which lays down the principles of learning, The main objective being how to impart knowledge, values, skills for the overall holistic development of a child so as to gear him with the know how of facing challenges and overcoming them in a positive manner. The ultimate indicator of a good curriculum is assessed by the quality of learning and how it is used successfully by the students in their daily lives.
Along with the above it is also a guide for the teachers as it defines and lays out concepts in an appropriate manner taking age appropriateness into consideration and also includes the right way of imparting knowledge. This ensures that there is uniformity in learning.
Thus to put it in a nutshell the objective of curriculum can be defined as
- To focus on learning for the holistic development of the student.
- The layout and description of the content for optimum learning.
- A teacher’s guide and Pedagogy.
- For documentation and easy follow.
- To formulate the content and to monitor and evaluate the understanding of the concept by the students through continues evaluations.
Thus a good quality curriculum is
- One which is learner centric or child centric.
- Is all inclusive.
- Which encourages learning IN and OUT of the classroom.
- Which includes application based learning so the students have a chance to apply knowledge in their daily lives.
- Is easy and at the same time all encompassing.
- Takes into consideration differential learning and age appropriateness.
- Is interesting and challenging.
- Takes into account contemporary learning and at the same time not forgetting the traditional ways and also being futuristic.
- Includes scope for audio visual learning taking into account the technological age.
- The content should be balanced relevant and integrated and be in sync with the international curriculum.
- And finally it should be carefully and clearly documented with a definite aim and purpose to reach a wide range of learners.
Having defined a good quality curriculum I would like to further emphasis its importance. A well formulated and drafted curriculum should encourage formal and informal ways of learning . Formal learning generally happens in the classroom while informal learning can happen anywhere on the playground, in the corridors, in the canteen and even in the classroom. It should motivate the learners to accept it and follow it even when unmonitored. This will create self motivated individuals.
Curriculum is not just books, it is the DNA of learning and hence along with academics, it should lay emphasis on co- curricular activities like
- Performing arts
- Personality development
- Communication skills
- Team building
- Value education
- Speech and Drama
- Meditation techniques for concentration
- Information Technology
- Socially useful Productive work
A well integrated curriculum ensures integration amongst subjects.
For example a Science topic on Plants can be integrated with the computer Science subject in the following ways
- Through Power Point presentation on Plants
- The internet can be used as a tool to do research.
- The documentation of the research can be done in MS Word.
- Tables on their importance and their types can be made in excel.
It can also be integrated with SUPW where students are taught
- The art of gardening and growing healthy plant
- Where they can be introduced to various types of soils, fertilizers, organic and inorganic ways of gardening etc.
- Also the concept of how plants prepare food in the presence of sunlight can be explained by practical ways.
- Plants that give out oxygen 24 hours like the Tulsi and the Banyan tree can be shown to them, thus throwing light on the importance of these plants in our culture and tradition.
Filed visits to nurseries can be organised to understand the concept practically. This will help students understand the intricacies of the subject, know how to value plants through planting their own plant and also to rejoice in the fact that they have contributed towards a greener earth. The innovativeness of the teacher can further make it more interesting.
A curriculum can go a long way in shaping an individual. Hence the scholars and the Gurus have a huge task on their shoulders to keep upgrading the curriculum. I have used the word upgrading as there is always a possibility of improvement as no one is perfect not even the curriculum. Parents have to be aware while deciding a good curriculum for their child. Parents need to be aware and be a part of their child’s schooling as they are the consumers and can be the best appreciators and learned critics to bring about a positive change in the curriculum.