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Chapter - 2

Meaning of Curriculum and its Relation with


2.1 Traditional concept of curriculum

Curriculum is a continuous, all-comprehensive process which

goes through changes and modifications, additions and alterations.

Cunningham observes that curriculum is a tool in the hands of the

artist to mould his material according to his ideal in his studio.1

Curriculum has become an organized subject of study at the

beginning of the twentieth century. Many books and authors have

given various definitions, but it is Bobbitt (1924) who has presented

a particular conception of curriculum, calling it “a series of

experiences”, that children must have in order to develop their ability

to face the affairs of adult life.2 Curriculum in Ancient Indian

education reflects the aims of education during that period. Such

studies and activities are included in the curriculum as are

considered contributory to the attainment of objectives. Naturally

enough, the curriculum in the early Vedic stage was dominated by

Vedic scriptures which were spiritual in nature and were supposed to

illumine the vision of the student. At the same time, there is no

denying that the curriculum has a close relation with social life and

social needs, because all education must be socially purposive.

Ancient Indian curriculum represents the combination of both these

factors. Industrial, vocational and professional education received

special emphasis in the Epic period. Education of the kshatriyas was

also a prominent feature of this period. Similarly, the education of the

vaisya received a special impetus in this period. It is a matter of

conjecture how wide the curriculum had become in course of its

evolution, by the accumulation of new contents at every stage.

Buddhist Curriculum, like Brahmanic curriculum had started with

scriptures. But Buddhistic education had to coexist with Bharhamnic

education by competition. Brahmanic subjects were thus gradually

included in the Buddhistic curriculum. Thus, everything from

philosophy to grammar and fine arts found place in ancient Indian

curriculum. Thus traditional concept of curriculum is that it is a

cumulative tradition of organized knowledge set out by teachers for

students to assimilate.

In Ancient Indian Education, curriculum was strongly restricted

among the castes. Each caste had its own fixed structure of

curriculum. The reason behind this rigidness may be many. During

that period, every caste was supposed to have its own distinctive

capacities and capabilities. And if the curriculum was not suitable

according to the caste then they may waste the wealth of the

education, and consequently they will not be able to maintain the

heritage of that education. It was also a fact that all these restrictions

are man made. It may be due to the distribution of labour among the

society and also maintaining the same within the fixed class. But we

cannot accept this concept because our physical strength and mental

ability are not all dependent on the caste. Rather, everything will be

possible if there is effective training. And hence curriculum is just a

tool to develop one’s talent and not to suppress one’s hidden powers.

2.2 Modern concept of curriculum

While analyzing the different concepts of curriculum, two major

tendencies can be marked. The first category is organization of

content or of subject matter and emphasis on experience within and

outside the school walls. The term has been defined ‘as all the

experiences a learner has under the guidance of the school’ since

the late 1930’s so long the school’s responsibility has been mainly

limited to its so-called formal course of study. In Carter V. Good’s

Dictionary of Education (1973), four distinct definitions are given

where the idea of a body of content, an overall plan, classroom

instruction and intended opportunities or experiences are

emphasized as essential features of the curriculum. Curriculum

reform in recent years has grown out of attempts to:

1. bring the modern conceptual and methodological status of

‘subject matter’ fields into the ‘experience’ of students ;

2. apply current pedagogical and psychological thinking to

classroom instruction;

3. use the educational process to achieve ‘social and ideological


During the early decades of the twentieth century, the traditional

concept of curriculum as only ‘organized knowledge’ comes to be

challenged and since then various definitions of curriculum have

come up.

Daniel Tanner and Loaural Tanner (1975) have given a broad

classification of definitions developed since thirties and each of this

group would indicate a dimension of curriculum.3 Almost a similar

classification has also been given by Saylor and Alexander (1974).

From 1950’s to 1960’s, curriculum has been conceived to be

formulated according to the structure of the disciplines, that means,

emphasis has been given on organized knowledge comprising the

established disciplines.4 Gradually the concept of curriculum

embodies not only the cumulative tradition of knowledge but also the

total culture of the society. Dewey’s (1928) definition and Smith,

Stanley and Shore’s (1957) definition come nearer to this concept,

while they emphasis transferring and reconstructing the race

experience through the curriculum.5 Curriculum is conceived by Marc

Beth and others as modes of thought about men’s experience.6

Progressive educators have conceived curriculum as guided

experiences and have emphasized that the curriculum must take into

account the needs of existing community life. Caswell and Campbell,

in eight year study report, have emphasized total experience the

child gains under the guidance of the school.7 Curriculum is further

conceived as ‘a plan for learning’ Saylor and Alexander (1954) has

looked at curriculum as a plan for providing sets of learning

opportunities to achieve broad goals.8 Curriculum is anticipatory and

includes specific plans for whatever learning experiences are

anticipated in the school setting. This concept has necessitated a

breakdown in the traditional classroom course work and

extracurricular activities. Tata (1962) has also mentioned curriculum

as a ‘plan for learning’.9 Some thinkers (Saylor and Alexander, 1974)

have considered curriculum as planned learning outcome for which

the school is responsible.9 They have conceived curriculum as

educational ends or outcomes, more specifically as the learning

outcomes intended to be achieved through instruction.

In recent years, the conception of curriculum as a production

‘system’ has been embodied in the doctrine of specific ‘behavioural’

objectives, behaviorism and the theory of ‘operant conditioning’,

development in instructional technology, etc. Saylar and Alexander

(1974) have reformulated their definition of curriculum ‘as plan’ and

have further referred curriculum ‘as a system’.10 Objectives are

central in decision-making activities including the learning

opportunities. Learning opportunities means what is meant for a

particular set of objectives and for a particular population. Thus,

curriculum is a total plan which means a programme or aggregate of

plans or sub-plans, for a particular school. A sub-plan can be

appropriately developed for a single domain. Programmes of studies,

lists of activities, courses of studies, syllabi units, etc. are actually

particular plans for individual aspects of the total curriculum plan. The

total curriculum, then, is a plan which represents a series of choices

among the internal variables as curriculum designs, instructional

modes and evaluative procedure. Thus it is a system of relating each

sub-plan to achieve a definite goal. While curriculum and instructions

are taken as separate processes, it actually means curriculum design

and curriculum implementation. Though each of these processes

means a plan itself both would go together.

An issue of dualism becomes prominent while giving a

historical perspective to the concept of curriculum, the dual concepts

of curriculum and instruction. Saylor and Alexander (1974) have

explained that curriculum and instruction should be separated from

each other one is the end, other is the means.11 The authors have

also gave the definitions of curriculum as ‘descriptive’ and

‘programmatic’. Definition of curriculum as the totality of experience

of each learner under the influence of the school is a programmatic

definition as it extends the programmes and responsibilities of the

school. When curriculum is defined as the formal course of study – it

is a descriptive definition. Thus programmatic definitions, again,

present a dualistic conception of curriculum and instruction – totality

of experiences is the end and the programme the school adopts is

the means to the end. Skinner (1968) also has mentioned that the

teacher’s role is mechanical, who arranges the contingencies of

reinforcement under which the pupils are automatically conditioned

towards specific terminal / final behaviour.

Gail M. Inlow (1978) has proposed the view that curriculum is

that body of goal oriented learning content, existing as a written

document, and the teachers keep that in mind while imparting

instructions resulting in changers in pupil behaviour.12 Though this

dualism remained popular for a long period of time, strict distinction is

not possible. When it is implemented, end and means would go

together. Tanner and Tanner (1975), have rightly mentioned that if

we accept the contention that curriculum does not prescribe

instructional content, then we would have to agree that curriculum

exists without the organized knowledge, knowledge as subject

matter.13 Long before, Taba (1962) has tried to give a definition in

between these two extreme definitions, to make it functional. She

holds that some distinctions should be drawn between the aspects of

learning processes and activities, those concerned in curriculum

development and those that can be allocated to the realization of

specific methods of teaching.14 Curriculum is, after all, a way of

preparing young people to participate as productive members of our

culture. Thus it differs from culture to culture, society to society.

Each of the above- mentioned definitions of curriculum

represent only partially the meaning of the term. In view of the

limitations of each of the proposed definitions of curriculum, a more

comprehensive, definition is suggested by Daniel Tanner and Lural

Tanner (1975). They see curriculum as the planned and guided

learning experiences formulated through the systematic

reconstruction of knowledge and experiences, under the supervision

of the school, for the learner’s continuous and willful growth in

‘personal social competence.15 Thus it does the diagnosis of social

needs, formulation of objectives, learning experiences and further it

is planned as the learning experiences are reconstructed, graded

and sequenced keeping in view of the learner.15 It is continuous as

the learning outcomes are formulated for the reconstruction of

experience, as it enables one to acquire social competence.

Therefore curriculum is the sum total of the school’s efforts to

influence learning whether in the classroom, on the playground or

outside the school. School is the institution for the implementation

and experimentation of the construction of curriculum. Curriculum

programmes should be made on the needs of the society and the

interests of the pupil. Curriculum is an aid in the process of adjusting

the child to the environment in which he will have to organize his

activities later.

2.3 Principles of Curriculum Construction

There are some principles which guide us in constructing an ideal

curriculum. To make the curriculum more effective it should be life-

centric and must not be merely theoretical. There should have ample

scope for learners’ active participation. The curriculum, properly

constructed, will foster in an individual the sense of serving the

society and thus enable the society to progress. The curriculum must

have its basis upon the nature, age, demand and interest of the

learner. It means that an ideal curriculum should have a scientific

outlook. Naturally, curriculum should be graded in accordance with

the varying demands, interests of the different age- groups.

Curriculum construction should aim at meeting the physical needs of

the student such as reflexion, meditation, developing their abilities of

critical thinking and adjustment, nourishing their creative urge and

developing their capability of aesthetic appreciation in different areas.

All these will lead to the development of integrated personality and

character. To enrich the society with productive individual imbued

with social sense, curriculum should be activity- oriented. All the

great educators of all the countries and recent Education

Commissions and Committees have attached great importance to

activity-based and experience-centered curriculum which will

considerably make learning effective and instrumental to social

change and progress. The principle of curriculum construction should

not be blindly conserving the social heritage and transmission of the

same to the next generation. It should also enact developing the

social condition and making social progress, even at the cost of

traditional norms and customs, if necessary. It is not an easy task

to reform a society, whatever is evil and what is wrong in the light of

the modern concept. It needs strength, confidence and courage to

face the consequences. Again, tradition means values, which are

inculcated in an individual from the very childhood. It is really difficult

for an individual to disobey his tradition and values. It is also a very

general tendency of human being to live in a group and behave in the

most similar acceptable way. So even by realizing many wrong ideals

people are not eager to point it out in front of others. This weakness

should be eradicated from the very childhood stage. This does not

mean that all old values are full of mistakes and should be changed

or modified. What I mean to say is merely that from the primary stage

a child should learn to judge each and every value of life without

accepting it blindly only because those are taught by the elder’s

.Children should have the strength and power to face the truth of life.

And our curriculum should be constructed in such a way so that

children can get some space to explore their own views by

comparing them with the received values.

All curricula are composed of certain elements – a statement of

aims and specific objectives, some selection and organization of

content, certain pattern of learning and teaching. Also, the curriculum

includes a programme of evaluation of the outcomes. In a scientific

curriculum development, these criteria may come from various

sources – from tradition, social pressure, the learners’ capabilities,

the nature of learning processes, etc. Therefore, curriculum

development requires a study of culture and tradition of the society

for whom it is developed, religious and political ideologies of the

society, their customs, habits and aspirations. A statement of aims

and specific objectives is undoubtedly the starting point in curriculum

making. But what the assumptions underlying the objectives are, is a

fundamental issue in the field which indicates the usefulness of

objectives in terms of both their role and function.16 Ivar K. Davis

(1976) in his book, Objectives in Curriculum Design has referred to

three schools of thought emerging from the foregoing question of

objectives in curriculum making. They are:

I. The classical theory assumes the learner as a passive receiver,

the teacher as the custodians and benevolent autocrats.

II. The Humanistic approach assumes the pupils having their own

values and attitudes which are goal oriented.

III. The modern approach goes further and assumes the children as

decision makers and problem- solvers. This concept is

essentially process- oriented and demands increased

professionalism among teachers, human relationship in the

school and objectives having an enabling and expressive


Generally, aims and objectives are used synonymously, but to be

specific, aim is a statement which attempts to give both shape and

direction to a set of more detailed intentions for the future. While ‘aim’

is a starting point, an ideal, ‘objective’ is the ‘end’ in the ‘means- end-

model’. The determination of both aims and objectives is necessary

in curriculum construction, one serving as a fundamental rationale

and other as a more detailed plan to be involved. While an aim is

broken down into a set of objectives, each represents a turning point

and this involves the question of ordering the objectives on priority

basis in the context of relevance and worthwhile ness.

Each goal can be further explained in behavioural terms, these

are what a student will think, act and behave at the end of a ‘learning

experience’. These are behavioural objectives or objectives in

specification with which the classroom teacher is more concerned.17

Hilada Taba’s (1962) classification approach to objectives has two

levels, ‘general objectives’ which she calls ‘school-wide outcomes’

and more ‘specific objectives’ that describe the ‘behaviour to be

achieved Davis has also discussed about broad diversions of activity

framework and developmental framework for objectives.18 All these

doctrines indicate that identification of objectives in curriculum

making inevitably ranges over the question of classification and

priorities. Again, determination or fixation of an objective must be

prescribed within a total framework at a detailed and specific level.

A comprehensive outline for curriculum making has been given by

Ralf Tyler (1950) in a syllabus, where he has emphasized his belief

concerning the instructional organization and evaluation.19 Taba

(1962) has reformulated the sequences proposed by Tyler and has

stated that pursuing such an order will result in a more thoughtfully

planned and more dynamically conceived curriculum.20

These are:

(1) Diagnosis of need

(2) Formulation of objectives

(3) Selection of content

(4) Organization of content

(5) Selection of learning experience

(6) Determination of what to evaluate and the ways and means of

doing it.

However, the use of the term ‘curriculum’ refers to the broad

design of the course educational needs, formulation of objectives,

organization of syllabi and course design, teaching resources, i.e.,

text books and other materials, learning activities and even co-

curricular activities and last of all evaluation of the whole process and

feedback. The main contribution of this model is that it has turned our

attention towards a more comprehensive view of the issue one that

has emphasized the importance of evaluation as a final step towards

curriculum development.

Tyler’s model is mainly linear in sequencing whereas eight-year

study report (1942) has showed interdependence of four-areas as

mentioned by Tyler.21 Aims are drawn from the existing situation or

‘philosophy’ of the society. Various behavioural objectives might be

identified in connection with these larger educational aims, in

curriculum content, methods of teaching and organization of subject

matter, activities to supplement the content and method are

necessary to achieve the educational objective. In evaluating the

outcomes of the curriculum, a variety of techniques and instruments

might be employed. All these functions as to curriculum development

are interrelated as these should be philosophically based.

While the steps are interdependent, curriculum planning is a

co-operative effort at governmental, social and institutional levels.

Decision as to designs is made by the responsible curriculum planner

and various prior decisions by political and social leaderships may

limit the final design. This is mainly done at governmental and social

levels. Curriculum implementation or decision as to instructional

modes is made by the responsible teachers. This stage includes

utilization of resources, media, organization of content and

experiences, etc. Next stage includes curriculum evaluation

decisions as to procedures of evaluation for determining the learner’s

progress are made by responsible teachers. Evaluative data, again,

become bases for decision making in further planning. These two

stages are mainly done at institutional level.

Thus, the series of planning runs like this: first, external

variables determine the goals, objectives and necessarily the

domains of curriculum; next, curriculum design for a particular group

of individuals is to be made. Third stage is curriculum implementation

at the institutional level. The teachers have to decide the methods of

instruction, implementation of activities, etc. accordingly to the design

decided on. Lastly, for evaluating curriculum plan, the evaluative

procedure, the progress of the learner, will be decided upon.

Evaluation data will become bases for decision making in future


Therefore curriculum is a result of decisions regarding following


I. Statement of aims.

II. Selection and arrangement of curricular areas.

III. Selection and arrangement of content for different stages of


IV. Pattern of learning and teaching experiences.

There are at least three popular theories or set of assumptions

held by teachers and educators. They are referred to as the child

centered view, the knowledge centered view, and the society

centered view. The child-centered view was a much needed reaction

against nineteenth century inhumanity and authoritarianism in

schools. However, a completely child-centered curriculum cannot be

justified. In some cases, of course, we are all child-centered now-a-

days. We have moved away from the kind of situation where schools

ignored children’s interests. The knowledge-centered curriculum also

has something to offer. Education is certainly concerned with the

transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next. But it is

not the only concern of education. Regarding ‘society- centered’ kind

of curriculum, it is urged that the curriculum must be planned

according to the changing nature of the society. It can be observed

from above that none of these ‘theories’ be a complete justification

for a curriculum.

Figure showing curriculum planning

All these matters are very essential for constructing curriculum at any

level of formal education.

Factors affecting the planning of course:

Continuous process of curriculum development

2.4 Types of Curriculum

We generally find a few types of curriculum corresponding to

different needs and demands of the society. The modern types are

like activity curriculum, experience curriculum, integrated curriculum

and life- centric curriculum. The modernism in education was

heralded by great educators like Comenius, Erasmus, and Rousseau

implemented by Pestalozzi, Froebel, Herbert Spencer, Montessori,

John Dewey, Rabindranath, Gandhiji and others. All these thinkers

seek to find out a type of curriculum for making education effective to

the individual and enriching the society with the efficient and

productive individuals. Activity principle in curriculum and in the

method of teaching has been accepted today as a pivotal point. The

curriculum, as per the modern concept of the term, is the sum-total of

activities and experiences of the learners, conducive to the social

well being and progress. The curriculum which is based upon and

centered round some activities having educational bearing is called

the activity curriculum. Herbert Spencer also viewed curriculum from

utilitarian aspect. According to John Dewey, education is

experimentation for successful adjustment with the ever changing

conditions of life and so he prescribes such a curriculum which is

activity based, need based, and experience centered and integrated.

Rabindranath, who ushered in a new era in the whole system of

Indian thought and practice, implemented such a curriculum with

emphasis upon activities. Mahatma Gandhi has clearly shown the

root of such a curriculum while analyzing the characteristics of basic


Vivekananda’s view in curriculum setting for children is totally

different. According to him a child is first a human being. Thus it

would require that individuals be evaluated for positions strictly on

the basis of their qualifications for those positions. And individuals

should have their chances to acquire the qualifications for desirable

positions. Vivekananda displays no condemnations for such caste

system as based on people’s abilities and occupations. Indeed, he

regards this kind of caste-system to be the ‘most glorious social

institution’. Vivekananda reminds us, no one of any profession is to

be esteemed valuable unless the man tries hard and sincerely

enough to do his job efficiently. So, on Vivekanandas view, all kinds

of work are important and equally essential for the society. He thus

sees all labour as equal human labour, and consequently as a labour

of equal quality. A sincere and efficient man of any profession is a

man of value and hence deserves honor and public recognition. This

is a highly worthy observation Readiness and willingness to work

must be supplemented by respect for all types of labour or profession

once it is made clear that no kind of profession is abominable, but

that every kind of profession is honorable in the eyes of society.

Once this is well taken, people, especially the young ones, would no

longer hesitate or feel shy of trying for any profession they find

manageable for them. This would clearly widen the scope of options

and openings for them for them, thereby providing them more

opportunity to display their ability, develop their capacities and reveal

their talents. As a result, they would gather more nerve for wrestling

with the problems and difficulties of existence. It is one of the

miracles of the human condition that almost all of us, however

humble, possess talents and abilities of one kind or another, waiting

to be of service. The range of talents and abilities is as infinite as

human variety itself. An ideal society is one that provides opportunity

for each one to work accordingly to his ability and also makes each

one seriously realize that he participates in some social programme,

that his service is necessary to the society in some way or other. All

these and concepts can be easily insulated in the mind of an

individual from very early stage of life. In school, the primary stage is

the most sensitive stage when child can learn many things as his

mind is also clear like a plain paper. The curriculum should be both

theoretical as well as practical, so that children can explore

themselves through various kinds of activities and at the same time

they can realize their talents and interests as well.

It is well known that Rabindranath passionately dreamt of

human solidarity which means treating others as one among us, as

our equals, along with a feeling of intimacy, and affinity with others.

As Tagore’s educational method was ‘the activity principle’ so his

curriculum was also full of activity, where children can learn new

things through their own movement. Tagore emphasized on

dramatics and dancing as part of the child’s curriculum as he felt that

these were good channels of children’s self-expression. As far as

children’s books were concerned, he pleaded for their simplicity and

attractiveness. He said that the former ensured easy comprehension

and the latter a general liking for them. He also believed that, as far

as possible, all teaching should be done through the vernacular

medium, rather than introducing a foreign language. Tagore’s ideals

reflect great faith in naturalism and humanism. He speaks of the

reality -orientation in teaching, activity-based learning, and the

importance of physical activity for mental alertness – all of which are

respected themes in the education of children today. Tagore was an

advocate of creative self-expression which is very much the concern

of modern education. Rabindranath had also keenly felt the absence

of proper text-books for children. For this reason he has produced

several text books for our primary school children.

Gandhi, the great thinker and educational reformer, had his own

philosophy of life. Although Gandhiji formulated manifold views on

every aspect of life. God, truth, non-violence, dignity of labour, moral

society are most important to Gandhi. He wanted to create a moral

society based on truth, equality and universal brotherhood. To attain

moral society he wanted democracy and socialism. He advocated

decentralization and higher values of life. He gave emphasis on

service and co-operation rather than competition. Thus Gandhiji

wanted to create a new social order based on truth and non-violence.

According to Gandhiji education must help children to adjust to the

immediate environment. To Gandhiji education was a life-long

process. It is through life and for life. In Gandhiji’s scheme of

education the potentiality of the child occupies the pivotal position.

The school has to help the child to realize this potentiality, to make

his life better, fuller, happier both individually and socially. Service for

humanity is the core of his philosophy.

Therefore the main tenets of Gandhiji’s educational philosophy

are the following:

1. there should be free and compulsory education ;

2. education should be craft centered ;

3. it should be self-supporting ;

4. it should be provided in the mother-tongue ;

5. it should be based on non-violence ;

6. it should promote dignity of labour;

7. it should depend more on practice than theory;

8. it should develop social awareness and the spirit of service.

All these characteristics are clearly visible in Gandhiji’s scheme of

Basic Education which is commonly known as Wardha Scheme of

Education. Gandhiji’s aims of education are regulated and shaped by

his concept of education and ideal of life. The immediate aims


1. the utilitarian aim ,

2. the cultural aim ,

3. harmonious development of personality ,

4. preparation for complete livening ,

5. the moral or character building aim ,

6. Sociological aim or citizenship training.

Gandhiji’s educational philosophy is sound psychologically,

sociologically and biologically. It is psychologically sound as it is

based on the principles of activity and learning by doing. The modern

commissions and committees set up for reviewing education and

suggesting measures for renovation and improvement have equally

laid stress upon an activity curriculum. The Mudaliar Commission of

1952-53 has suggested that activity curriculum should replace the

formal lessons which lack proper motivation and therefore fail to

arouse real interest. The nature of activity curriculum does not signify

that it would include only physical activities. There must be a

selection of activities which would facilitate the development of Hand,

Head and Heart. Harmonious development of all the powers should

be the ultimate objective. Some basic principles are to be followed

while constructing such a curriculum. These are the principles of joy,

freedom and spontaneity. There is a little difference between Activity

curriculum and Experience-curriculum. Activities and experience are

interdependent and inter-related. Experiences may be based upon

knowledge, skill, mental and physical exercises. Experience

curriculum is that curriculum which is totally related with the

experiences of the learner. John Dewey’s educational scheme

accepts this experience curriculum as an individuals learning

becomes living, practical and accurate if that is articulated with

experience of the learner. The experiences must have cognition,

affection and conation of the learners. Students come in direct

contact with various educational activities like their participation in

some project or in some educational tour. From those they gather

experiences which are utilized in their studies. These are known as

direct experiences. It is needless to say that experience curriculum is

constructed by the teacher and the student jointly through activities

and experiences.

Educational objective should be the total development of a

man, so that a curriculum, an effective tool of education, should be

integrated. The German educator, Frederick Herbert’s concept of one

power of mind, known as apperception, shows that subjects of

studies can be related with each other in the scheme of education.

This is known as correlation of studies. Froebel, in his kindergarten

method, has shown that different subjects can be taught catering

round play. John Dewey has also spoken of activity centered

curriculum. M.K. Gandhi’s Basic education is the finest example of

such correlation of studies. Here he sought to correlate all subjects

with the Basic Craft. According to the great thinkers specialization in

studies comes at a later stage; but in the initial stage of development

there must be correlation treatment of the subjects. Modern thinkers

seek to find out a co-ordination amongst the various subjects and

give it an integrated shape catering to the individual needs and

interests. This type of curriculum is sound from every point of view

and based upon the modern thought of educational theory and

practice. Another type of curriculum is life centric curriculum. This is

based upon learner’s life experiences and everything related to his

development. The curriculum should also satisfy the social demands

and needs so that there may be an accelerated progress of the


2.5 Role of Teacher and Teacher Education in
Curriculum Construction

Since the first half of twentieth century efforts have been made

to involve teachers in curriculum development. The controversy over

whether teachers should be involved in curriculum development or

not, revolves round the conflicting concept of teachers as

‘technicians’ and as ‘professionals’. If teaching is to be a profession,

teachers must participate in curriculum development at the

classroom, school and even at directorate levels. Professionalism

means where teachers perform customary activities and occasionally

they modify the practices by experimentation or even by trial and

error. Tanner and Tanner (1975) have argued at length that teacher-

proof and competency-based teacher education programme are

incompatible with professionalism, because here the teacher is

perceived as a machine to be programmed in the teaching process.

Today prospective teachers are of the opinion that teachers should

be involved in curriculum development or in implementing

methodology, content and techniques in the classroom for the

improvement of the practices. This is because their experiences in

the classroom would be more accurate than that of the critic or


The authors have further stated that from the history about the

teacher’s role in curriculum development, two major conclusions are


I. to shunt the teacher from curriculum decision is unrealistic

and counter productive, therefore they must be involved;

II. Further, teachers must be provided with consultative help

while engaged in action research and other curriculum

developmental activities.

Smith, Stanly and Shore (1954)3 also have recognized teaching

as profession and the function of consultant to supply expert

knowledge and skill to the teachers acting in situations. On the basis

of her experience as curriculum consultant, Taba (1962) theorized

that curriculum change should begin with experimentation at the

classroom level rather than with an imposed design.

Saylar and Alexander (1974)4, too, have enthroned the

teachers as the final curriculum planner for his class. Now as the

class size is increasing indefinitely, individualized instruction is

emphasized, the teacher’s responsibility increasingly becomes one of

continuing development of the particular learning programmes

through which he guides his students and of planning with individual

students for their continuing progress through these programmes.

Curtis and Bidwell (1977) have visualized the needs of teacher and

of emerging adolescents and in that context have shown different

roles of a teacher which also reflect the role of a teacher as

curriculum constructor.

To serve such a function, a teacher must perform the role of

I. a model

II. a planner

III. a diagnostician

IV. a manager

V. a guide to resources

Gail M. Inlow (1975)5 has discussed the issue from the same

angle and has stated that high school students to day constitute a

new breed – they are more mature, knowledgeable and perceptive.

Review of the teacher competence as discussed, indicates that the

teacher as a professional and dynamic leadership is highly required

in effective curriculum planning and development. In this respect,

teacher education programme is supposed to play a challenging role,

and competence based teacher education is not enough.

Teachers must have a role in generating knowledge about the

curriculum. Teacher-education and teacher- educator should help the

teachers to develop conceptual tools in them. If teaching is to be a

profession, an adequate education must include theory and work of

curriculum development.

A growth model of teacher competence would be where

teachers are continually experimenting to improve their effectiveness

and here it means teachers are professionals who modify their

procedures by experimentations. The teacher educators be re-

educated and should perform the roles of teachers as mentioned by

Carts and Bidwell and only then they may develop expected qualities

and skills as the prospective professionals.

Therefore, an efficient teacher has to meet his students daily in

the classroom, he has to teach or discuss with the students about

some concrete subject matter by following the suitable method of that

particular class and age of the students. In other words to frame a

suitable curriculum, there should be a healthy interaction between

these three vital factors.


Curriculum Student

Education is a three-fold process of imparting knowledge, developing

skills and inculcating proper interests, attitudes and values.

Imparting Knowledge

Inculcating Developing
Values skills

Our schools are mostly concerned with the first part of the process,

the imparting of knowledge – and carry out this even in an

unsatisfactory way.

Some have rightly observed that the curriculum places more

importance on bookish knowledge and rote learning. There is

inadequate provision for practical activities and experiences. It is

more dominated by examination - external and internal. Moreover, as

the development of useful skills and the inculcation of the right kind

of interests, attitudes and values are not given sufficient emphasis.

The curriculum becomes not only out of step with modern

knowledge, but also out of time with the life of the people. There is

thus an urgent need to raise, upgrade and improve the school

curriculum. Even in advanced countries like America, the same kind

of problem exists. Educators have been confused for a long time on

the question of objectives. Schools, teachers and communications

need have to be satisfied. They further connected that the goal of

schooling was to produce good citizens. The school was supposed to

promote growth but through an effective curriculum. Therefore, for

more ideal education, significant changes have to take place. The

structure of the curriculum should be modified, changed and

revitalized. So when we speak of new forms and new instructional

techniques for psychological growth, we are telling about curriculum

development and teacher training. According to Richey, the

curriculum of the modern school is as the study of community life in

all its aspects7. The aim of this study is to produce citizens who can

take over the management of their own participation in and

contribution to the life of the group. This view of the purpose of the

school is based on the idea that teachers will be guided by

continuous and careful study of the child-visibilities, maturation rates

and unique assets and liabilities. On the other hand, Luck

differentiates the subject matter form “core curriculum” by pointing

out that education has proceeded to the core curriculum which

represents a complete departure from the subject matter

compartments. On performing his activates under the core idea, a

pupil is free to draw upon any knowledge regardless of the field in

which it may normally occur. The core curriculum consists of learning

experiences necessary to abundant living in a free society, using the

individual’s needs and drives. It is at present used in a limited

number of schools. The ‘core curriculum’ seem to be a growing

concept. Sri Aurobindo gave some important suggestions to improve

the modern day educational system.

a) Teachers need to devote nine-tenth of their energy to

education. Teachers should focus more on the active mental faculties

in the pupils. The most important subjects like humanities,

mathematics and science should be the concern of the educational

system. The powers in the pupils can be developed if the teacher

educators encourage the mastery in these subjects.

b) Teaching needs reform. Sri Aurobindo stresses not on

imposing of knowledge but tries to encourage the process of self-

education initiated by the child himself. He emphasizes that the aim

of art of teaching is to awaken the interest in the pupil to master the


c) The mode of learning language is to be taken care of. Learning

of language is not a casual process of learning. Aurobindo suggests

that mastery over one’s own language is to be accompanied by

learning other languages taken on. He considers the mother tongue

to be the proper medium of education.

d) Aurobindo intends to focus on the process of education, which

begins from within interacting with the material would outside.

e) Aurobindo then emphasizes on the training of the logical

faculty. Teacher -educators should take effort to develop this faculty

in the pupil. Aurobindo considers the training of logical faculty as one

of the important aspects of education. The training of logical faculty

can guide the pupils to think clearly and correctly.

All this makes it clear that the teacher should prepare the

student for facing the difficulties of being matured. Teacher should

make the pupils aware about the strength as well as the frustration of

life. Teacher’s work is not limited by giving only information. Rather,

an ideal teacher should be efficient enough to make a child logical so

that they can accept the information rationally and not blindly.

2.6 Interdependence of Philosophy, Education and the

Nowhere is this dependence of education on philosophy more

marked than in the question of the curriculum. In the first chapter of

his work on Education, Spencer asserts that in the determination of

the curriculum, our first step must obviously be to classify, in the

order of their importance, the leading kinds of activity which

constitute human life.

To this principle there can be but little objection. But

immediately we set to fix the relative value of subjects, to classify

them in the order of their importance, differences of aim and of

philosophy emerge and confuse the issues.

Smith, Stanley and Shores speak of moral authority as one of

the chief guides of curriculum building. They say that moral authority

is derived from fundamental principles of right and wrong. Evidently,

the problem is philosophical.

According to Spencer, the building of a curriculum should be

based on the main human activities. He fixes the relative value of

subjects in order of their importance, e.g. he gives first place to

subjects that relate to self preservation.

According to the naturalists, the present experiences, activities

and interests should be the guiding factor. According to the idealists,

the child’s present and future activities are not important at all in the

curriculum construction. The experience of the human race as

epitomes in sciences and humanities should provide the primary

consideration in deciding a curriculum. The idealist does not

emphasize one subject in performance to another. In fact, he

attaches great importance to the quality of personal greatness which

some subjects have in abundance. The idealist’s point of view is

subjective, as opposed to merely objective values. The pragmatists

emphasize on the principle of utility as the in criterion for determining

the nature of curriculum.

Lodge in Philosophy of Education observes that all subjects on

the curriculum will be used to develop mastery over techniques in

order to solve new problems rather than to train memory capable of

flawless reproduction of systematic contents. The realists think that a

bookish, abstract on sophisticated curriculum is useless. They want

to concentrate on realities of life. They emphasize on the importance

of subjects that fall within the range of natural science. The

supervising and welcome interest and activity, recently manifested in

the problem of the curriculum, is at present arrested for the want of a

philosophical criterion. Thus Bode, in Modern Educational Theories,

remarks that unless we have some sort of guiding philosophy in the

determination of objectives we get nowhere at all. Briggs in

discussing curriculum problems maintains that it is just here that

education seriously needs leaders – leaders who hold a sound

comprehensive philosophy of which they can convince others and

who can direct its consistent application to the formulation of

appropriate curricula.

It is in the area of curriculum planning, that philosophy in

education reflects itself. The goals and objectives of any educational

effort can only be implemented through a curriculum which translates

them into subjects, units of instructions, themes and topics which

enter the classroom. They are to be reflected into the reading, the

instruction and the activities of pupils under the guidance and

direction of the teacher.

Curriculum will be meaningless until and unless it has been

implemented through a effective method of teaching. Philosophy also

plays a role in the methods of teaching and instruction. The teaching

learning process assumes a different role, according to the

philosophy of education being upheld.

Educators need to be well-versed in the philosophy of

education and how it effects decisions made in the school curriculum.

Standards guide the decision making arena. These guidelines assist

in following one path of teaching compared to other paths. Teachers,

supervisors and administrators disagree, in degrees, pertaining to

deeds and acts to pursue in education. Philosophical differences are

then in evidence. Individuals differ from each other in many ways.

Not only are there differences in interests, achievements, beliefs and

motivation in evidence, but also how to attain goals in life. Each goal

itself might well underline divergent thinking pertaining to

philosophical beliefs. Each choice made in the societal arena

stresses a point of view or a philosophy. Educators used to be aware

of how one’s philosophy affects selection of goals, activities and

experiences to achieve each goal, as well as means of evaluation to

ascertain if goal attainment is in evidence. Educational philosophers,

regardless of the particular theory they embrace, suggest that the

solutions to our problems can best be achieved through critical and

reflective thought.

Now we would discuss the influences of various schools of

philosophy in the context of curriculum construction. The

revolutionary changes in thought and practice in physical sciences

during the eighteenth century ushered in for reaching changes in

social and political order of the state. Reformation and renaissance

movements helped in developing new and revolutionary concept of

state craft, growth and development, society, religion and education.

Voltaire and Rousseau spearheaded the movement of freedom and

equality in everything that concerns human society. Thus naturalism

in state craft and education had traveled a long way together. Since

self-preservation is the basic tenet of Naturalism, the curriculum

should be containing only those subjects which help toward this end.

Study of religion, culture and music hardly find a place in Herbert

Spencer’s views. For him, the study of physical and natural sciences,

sports and games are the legitimate subjects compatible with his

views. He further includes history, geography and mathematics as

essential for a child’s total natural development. For him, history is

the study of the past experiences of the races and helps in explaining

the present and its origin, and determines its futuristic outlook.

However, later naturalists like Huxley, include the study of literature,

languages, art, music and other cultural subjects, as subsidiary

subjects, but necessary for a child’s physical, intellectual, moral and

social development. If our focus is on the primary stage of education,

this naturalistic schools of philosophy will be very much ideal for this

age group of children. For children of primary stage it will be very

rational if the curriculum is based on the subjects which have a

natural origin. Again, a child of a primary school will enjoy more

which is natural. Through natural elements a child will also develop

his latent powers naturally. Therefore it will be right if the curriculum

of the primary schools is based on the naturalistic schools of


Realism is as old as the naturalism and materialism of ancient

Greece. Realism in education has arisen as a result of all emphasis

on the abstract, bookish and verbal knowledge and sophistication.

Realism propounds a philosophy which is very appealing and is

consistent with the facts of life. It is in accordance with the

development of the physical world.

According to Christian O Weber, the attributes of physical

objects exist just as we know them except for errors of perception

which are verifiable as errors. The true nature of a thing is not

attended by mere circumstances of its being known. All our thinking

is to be based on realities of life and philosophy of education can

prove its worth by becoming more practical. The basic aim of

philosophy is that truth about the things is to be acquired. This

reflects on curriculum also. It means that in curriculum the study of

sciences is not only to be included but also should be a prominent

part to be included by practical arts. There should be no gap between

what is learnt in the school and what is actually there in life.

Contemporary events should be there and it should not be only

theoretical information. They also emphasize mother-tongue. Mother-

tongue is the most natural mode of expression and thought.

Physical education is also taught as a subject, since without it

the students can hardly understand nature. Philosophy of realism is

also an appropriate school for primary stage of education. For one

thing, it supports natural elements just like naturalistic school of

philosophy. It gives importance to facts of life and physical education.

But above all it gives importance to mother-tongue. Constructing

curriculum for primary stage, mother-tongue is the most important

factor, because children of this stage are free and relaxed if they are

asked to express themselves in their own mother-tongue. It is

useless to teach any foreign language at primary stage. Through

mother-tongue children will gain confidence and will also learn to

respect other-tongue as well as their mother land.

According to Ross, pragmatism is essentially a humanistic

philosophy maintaining that man creates his own values in course of

activity, that reality is still in the making and awaits its part of

completion from the future. Life, therefore, is growing, progressive,

moving forward creating in the process new and emergent values

useful in this progression and development. Therefore the curriculum

should provide only that information which is beneficial to the pupils.

Subjects should import practical knowledge and useful skills to the

students. These skills should also prepare them for future life. Thus

the curriculum should include physical training, hygiene, language,

history, geography, mathematics and sciences. But this does not

mean that the courses which are usually considered appropriate for

girls could not be so far boys, and vice versa. For girls, domestic

sciences or home science, and for boys, agricultural sciences are

also prescribed.

Vocational training is to be given after a satisfactory and

requisite general education. Different studies are preferred, but the

nature of these studies must be problem-solving. Stages of

development are followed by the stages of interests. The curriculum

should be constructed in due regard of these stages of development

and interests of the children. The child in the elementary school is

interested in conversation or communication, inquiry, construction

and artistic expression; hence here the curriculum should include

such-tools of knowledge as reading, writing, counting and nature

study, handwork and drawing. In the curriculum the activities must be

purposeful. In fact if these activities take the character of the

activities of the community of which the school is an organ, they will

develop moral virtues, result in attitudes of initiative and

independence and will give training in citizenship and promote self-

discipline. The principle of integration is very important in curriculum

construction. According to the pragmatists, the unity of knowledge

and skill should be gained. Subject -wise independent teaching will

not suffice for the purposes of bringing about integration. Pragmatist

warns us against teaching subjects as “watertight compartments”. In

other words, the pragmatists favor the democratic and unified

interdependent ideals of education and this is the basic needs of

primary education. For young children can best express themselves

when freedom is given to them. Present children are future citizens,

so while constructing curriculum the concepts of pragmatism should

be followed. The curriculum must include the knowledge and skills

that the child requires not only for his present life, but also for his life

as an adult.

It means that practical work should constitute an essential

ingredient of the curriculum, so that the children can participate

actively and productively. Teaching through books should be

supplemented by programmes which provide actual experience to

the child. Children of primary stage are generally talkative, inquisitive

and creative in nature. Hence the curriculum should include reading,

counting, handicraft, painting, etc. In the primary stage our focus will

be to import general education and not special education. In other

words our aim of education will be the harmonious development of

the children. In that case various subjects should be organized in the

curriculum in an integrated manner as far as possible. We should

accept this pragmatic view for constructing curriculum at primary

level, that is the view that the different subjects should not be

completely segregated from each other as knowledge is one single


Idealism is a very old philosophical thought and it has

exercised a great influence on man and his activities. According to

this doctrine, the ultimate supremacy belongs to the ideas. They are

eternal and unchanging. Idealism contends that the material and

physical universe known to science is an incomplete expression of

reality that it exists but to sub serve, and requires to complement it as

a higher type of reality, a spiritual universe. Idealists insist on the

study of humanities such as literature, art, religion, etc. They want

the curriculum which helps in the all round development of the

individual. The most significant among man’s activities are the

intellectual, the aesthetic and the moral outlook. Intellectual work will

involve subjects like language, history, geography, mathematics, etc.

Moral impulse can be reinforced through art, poetry, religion, ethics,


Physical activities may involve various kinds of handicrafts and

manual skills. The determinants of what should be taught in the

schools, according to the idealists, are the spiritual development of

the child and the preservation and creation of cultural heritage of the

human race. Hence, they urge that curriculum has to be man

centered, not child centered, ideals and values centered, not freedom

centered, character and morality centered, not expediency- centered.

Ideals for children should be the objective of curriculum

transaction, as proclaimed by Socrates. Idealism approaches the

problem of curriculum from the domain of ideas rather than from the

child and his present or future activities. To the idealists, present

experience of the child is not very important.

This means that education should inculcate in the minds of the

students those codes of conducts which would accord with accepted

norms of behaviour .This means that through education the students

should be aware that they should exercise their freedom, not in

accordance with their personal ideas of right and wrong, but in

accordance with some objective values and norms. There are certain

fixed values and the students should try to pursue those values in

and through their activities. In short, freedom would be guided by

certain already existing self evident values and norms. This means

that the student should build their character and develop their sense

of value in consonance with certain objective moral principles. They

should not be guided by experience alone, because experience itself

cannot teach us what is right and what is wrong. Experience contains

both moral and immoral elements, so that it cannot itself help us in

distinguishing between right and wrong.

Hence, the curriculum must reflect the civilization, the

capitalized experience of the race which gives two broad divisions of

the curriculum: a) science and b) humanities. T.P. Nunn (1923)

observes that a nation’s school should consolidate its spiritual

strength, maintain its historic continuity, secure its past achievements

and guarantee its future. To achieve this, the idealists stress that the

curriculum must reflect those activities that are of greatest and most

permanent significance in the wider world, and which are the grand

expression of the human spirit. These activities are of two kinds – a)

those that safeguard the conditions and maintain the standards of

individuals and social life such as the care of health and body,

manner, social life, morals and religion; and b) creative activities.

Hence the curriculum must comprise

I. literature

II. art including music

III. handicrafts

IV. science including mathematics

V. history

Idealism is basically a sound philosophy of life and has

exercised a general rather than a specific influence on education. It is

very easy and beautiful to preach but difficult to practice. It has given

us very lofty aims of education. But here, as we are concerned with

children at primary stage, they will not be able to realize if we

construct our curriculum on these ideals. Idealism does not take into

consideration the psychology of the child, who is more for activity and

less for survey with eyes or contemplation. It is very rigid and

neglects socialization of the individual. It goes against self-effort, self-

reliance and freedom for healthy growth. For young children, the

concept of story telling as a method of teaching is a very ideal way of

teaching anything including morals. We should include in the

curriculum those subjects through which young children will learn the

goods and bads of life but in a very simple way through stories. We

will accept only this concept of idealism.

Humanism implies both a human and a humane approach to

educational problems, human in the sense that human nature should

not be suppressed by religion in favor of severe self- discipline and

an ascetic ideal and a narrow dogmatic interpretation of the world.

Humane in the sense, that the nature of the child and its growing

mind should not be suppressed by cruel discipline, teachers and rigid

methods of teaching. It was thought that the humanistic curriculum

had in it the ‘real’ studies so that those could enlighten the minds of

children. Accordingly, to this sort of curriculum it included the study of

old classics of Greeks and Romans since early humanities

considered these to be possessing profundity of content, literacy

style, etc. The humanities believed that all the values such as wide

learning, all round development, life of action, qualities of artistic

enjoyment could be achieved by teaching Greek and Roman

literature. But less attention was given to the vernaculars in their

curriculum. Physical education was also included in their curriculum.

It aimed at producing a new brave class of people. Training for good

manners such as modesty was also stressed. The main tenet of

humanism is that education is for all, but that the child is the centre

for all education is the most acceptable concept especially for

primary stage of education. But this type of curriculum was single

track or one sided. There was emphasis on humanities alone. The

curriculum was verbal and it appeared to be quite easy, many people

went in for it without knowing that they were not capable of this. But

we can accept the positive sides of humanism for constructing

curriculum at primary stage. It stands for cosmopolitanism,

international friendship and essential brotherhood of man. We should

try to inculcate these ideas in the little children through effective

curriculum structure.

Existentialism begins from man, but from man as an existent

rather than man as a thinking subject. It means that man first of all

exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world and defines

himself afterwards. Existentialism offers a new model and a new

terminology for the further development of a humanistic type of

educational philosophy. In the widest sense, education is the work of

bringing a person out into his possibilities. ‘Existence’ is a standing

out or stepping out into one’s possibilities. To educate means no less

than to let some one exist, to stand out into existential space as the

unique person that he is. In schools, the student easily finds himself

lost and alienated, or is subjected to conformist pressures that seem

determined. An educational philosophy that has more regard for the

individual seems to be demanded. Curriculum is to be designed with

temporal self-transcendence in view, while the teacher is visualized

as the enabler of the process of self-transcendence.

The aim of education, according to existentialists, is

humanitarian and humanist, which means inner development of man,

development of real consciousness, i.e. consciousness of individual

self. The extentialists are averse to the study of science subjects

which impart objective knowledge because they think that this kind of

objective knowledge displaces man away from his own self. Their

belief is that science does not help in achieving inner place and

realization of real self. But they also hold that character and

personality development, as aims of education, can not be achieved

without having a synthesis of both sciences and other subjects. At

the elementary stage, they say the three R’S should be mastered.

We should accept these three R’S concept for our primary stage of

education, since the three R’S enable the child to appropriately

develop himself, so that he would be able to go further for his higher


It might be obvious that in the view of the existentialists,

education basically aims at preparing the child to be gradually able to

reflect upon what he learns, there by making himself according to

what he could himself approve of as human values. This means that

education should aim at enabling the student to make himself as a

distinctive human individual. This is how the existentialists view


All this makes it evident that philosophy of education is the

application of philosophical ideas to educational problems. We can

also see that the practice of education leads to a refinement of

philosophical ideas. From this view point, educational philosophy is

not only a way of looking at ideas but also learning how to use them

in the best way.

A philosophy of education becomes significant at the point

where educators recognize the need to think clearly about what they

are doing and to see what they are doing in the larger context of

individual and social development. Educators need to study diverse

philosophical schools of thought. Each philosophy needs to be

appraised in terms of merits or a lack thereof ultimately; those

strands of thought need implementation which assists students to

achieve more optimally. When a course of study is prepared in

advance in a school system by a selected group of teachers, this

represents a philosophy, because a course of action is selected from

many choices involving different values.

Keeping this point in mind, the teacher must help a student to

develop and sustain an inner capacity not only to learn and use ideas

in life, but to think whether these ideas constitute his or her life a

worthy one. In brief, the teacher should make the students to

recognize that their lives should not only be successful but also

valuable. Of course, at the primary stage this must be done in

simpler ways, namely, through telling them different stories, the lives

of great men, fables, etc.

2.7 The Curriculum Problem

There is a difference between an experience that the school

provides for the pupil and the outcome of having this experience. The

first we may refer to as an input, just as with a computing machine

we first feed in certain data in order to get certain outcomes. For the

outcomes to come, the machine has to perform a number of

operations. We may call the operations that go on inside the pupil as

“interviewing processes”. These are of many kinds. Perceiving,

remembering, imagining, feeling, analyzing, sorting, combining,

judging, choosing and many others operate on the inputs. However,

there are two major kinds of operation in which the teacher and the

school are to be primarily interested. They are selective storage and

selective recall. Selective storage is important because the human

organism would fly to pieces if it were unable to pick and choose

from among all the stimuli.

Learning goes wrong if the pupil cannot or will not select what

the teacher intends for him to select. On the other hand, the

demarking is tested by having the pupil choose from his experience

something relevant to a situation, whether it be a fact, a name, a

relation or an image. It has been already pointed out that outcomes

of schooling can group into school- outcomes and life- outcomes.

Among the school- outcomes a school may wish to include the

efficiency of the intervening processes. Thus a school may be

interested in perfecting a pupil’s efficiency in critical thinking. These

are also life-outcomes in that these traits can come to characterize

many aspects of a person’s behaviour in non school life. In school

they are tested by school tasks and not life- tastes.

A curriculum pattern or design is distinguished by the way it

combines inputs that are intended to secure the different outcomes.

Controversies over the curriculum consist of arguments about the

kinds of experiences the pupil shall have in the classroom during his

school life. The traditional pattern of the curriculum in the western

would seem to be a set of subjects. Each subject – Latin, English,

Mathematics or Geography – was a sampling of a whole body of

knowledge. It was simplified, of course, both in amount and in

complexity, to approximate the maturity of the pupil. For the most

part, this sort of curriculum seemed sensible if the purpose of the

school was to provide the pupil with information that the school

authorities thought he should have. It was also hoped that certain

habits and skills would develop as the pupil mastered the information

contained in the subject matter: the habits of observing accurately,

thinking clearly and logically, being prompt, neat and industrious. The

most obvious drawback was that so many children came to regard

school as one of the standard miseries of childhood. School

interfered with what one really wanted to do. This or that piece of

reading might be interesting to the curious and a few children

rejoined in the favor of the teacher or the respect that high marks

brought them. But, by and large, the pupil could not see the

connection between accurate reading, precise arithmetical

computation, and correct spelling on one hand and the really

important affairs of eating, paying and fighting on the other hand.

Now and then, an enterprising school teacher made the subjects

‘interesting’ by turning them into games or by interesting story telling.

The school never had much luck in abidingly transferring

information from books and teachers to the pupil, because such

information hardly finds home in the clusters of our experience. Any

fact will stick if repeated a thousand times. But the most of the factual

information children forget even during one summer vacation. The

subject matter curriculum also has been charged with being

compartmentalized and fragmented. That is to say, each subject

loses its relation to any other subject. History classes seem to have

no relation to mathematics classes, and neither to the literature

classes. Further, subjects are built up logically – from elements to

complexes. Psychologically, however, learning may not follow such a

logical pattern at all. We learn to read a whole sentence or phrase

although words are logically simpler than sentences. We tend to

learn what concerns us regardless of the logic of the subject matter.

Finally, social problems of current interest have a hard time

finding their way into the subject matter curriculum, because

problems of war, poverty and political struggles involve many subject

matters and therefore do not fit neatly into any one of them. So, the

traditional subject matter or curriculum, as traditionally thought, did

not make connection between the input and the outcomes expected

from it. The intervening processes that were to transfer knowledge to

life were not developed, nor were the adult behaviour patterns

significantly affected by the input. Smith, Stanly and Shores discuss

two major types of curriculum organization: the activity and the core.

The activity curriculum did grow out of John Dewey’s experimentalist

philosophy and was developed by J.L. Meriam, Ellsworth CollIngs,

William H. Kilpatrick and others. Instead of standard subjects, the

purposes and interests of pupils furnish the guide to the activity

curriculum. The problem of motivation is thus solved because it is not

allowed to rise in the first place. Under the teacher’s guidance, pupils

deal with a problem pretty much as does a scientist – defining it,

seeking data relevant to it, using what he already knows to propose

tentative solutions and finally testing the solution that promises

success. Thus the pupil learns by thinking, which, for Dewey, always

involves a doing or changing the conditions which put us in doubt.

Accompanying this theory is the belief that if a child solves his daily

problems intelligently in company with the other children who make

up the school community, he will, as he grows older, find himself

involve in hostility embroiled more and more in the problems of the

adult community.

The good student and the good citizen are, therefore, merely

the earlier and later phases of one and the same process, namely,

growth. On this scheme, the school is a community in the process of

growing up. There are no lessons, only real tasks. Play and work

weave into each other. There are no subjects, only funded

knowledge as resources to be used as needed. Even the skill of

reading, writing, spelling and computation are developed because

they are needed and often needed to attack genuine problems. In

other words, the input is a sampling of real life behaviour, of the

expected outlet.

The educational paradise has a somewhat sterner aspect in the

modern core curriculum. Here the needs of social living common to

all citizens are made the guide instead of the felt interests of the

pupil. Every man has to be worker, voter, neighbor, leisure time user

and consumer.

This type of curriculum deals with problems in which only the

stupidest of pupil’s could fail to be interested. There are no distinct

subjects on skills to be learned. The problem or some specialized

interest dictates what is to be read or practiced. But there in even

more Twelve years of group activity should form habits of co-

operation, initiative, spontaneity, willingness to experiment open

mindedness and a high order of social seniority. Real life tasks,

therefore, are expected to perfect both the cognitive and attitudinal

intervening processes and to provide a store of information as well.

The needs, purposes and difficulties of immature pupils are no less

immature of the purpose of the problem curriculum is to entangle the

pupil in problems the require knowledge and the methods of

knowledge, it will have to interfere with nature.

From the above observations, we may conclude that we need

to make a child inquisitive by developing in his mind a questioning

attitude to the world. Naturally, such questions the child may not find

interesting. So it is necessary that the child develops an awareness

of the importance of the questions. On the other hand, the child may,

untutoredly, raise questions which may appear to us, the adult quite

insignificant. But we must not give the impression that the questions

are devoid of importance. The child must be given the impression

that the questions are also worth responding. The point is this: On

one hand we should try to inculcate an attitude of curiosity in the

child’s mind. On the other hand we should not frustrate the child’s

own curiosity. It is in this way that the child would come to realize that

he belongs to us, and is not a foreigner to this community.

This natural curiosity is more visible especially to the children

who are in primary stage. We should frame our curriculum in such a

way so that we can utilize this factor. While constructing the

curriculum of primary stage we should keep enough space for the

children so that they can play with their own curiosity and instinct. We

should focus on the subjects which are useful and interesting to

them. We should frame the pattern and present the subjects to them

in such a way so that they feel curious and try to solve the problem

only by the power of curiosity and not by artificial force created by the

instructors. A correct type of curriculum pattern will help a child to

know more naturally without any fixed instructions.

2.8 Curriculum and General Education for Primary Stage
of Education

Hence, our focus will be more on general education because at

the primary stage of education an overall development is more

important than in development in any specific field. The base of each

young individual should be sound and strong. If the child acquires a

good standard of general education, then he or she will have no

problem in selecting any specific field in later life. But without proper

general education there would be no special education. General

education is that education which presumably every man as man

should have, a distinguished from specialized education which some

men need by virtue of some functions that they but not all individuals

have to perform. By general education one can mean the following:

1) a common program of studies; 2) a program of studies that are

widely applicable because of their general or abstract nature; 3) a

program of those studies or activities that all the citizens will find

useful. Science, mathematics and literature are useful because they

apply to a wide variety of life situations; they have high explanatory

and transfer potential without them our whole technological and

intellectual life would tend to collapse. Problems of citizenship, home

making, family living, the care for children and automobiles are useful

topics of study because they are samples of the life outcomes

promised by the school. A more promising approach is to scale out

that focus of intelligent behaviour which is found in all men. It is the

cultivation of these forms that constitutes general education rather

than any particular set of studies. General education has to be

translated into the most universal elements of human behavior, but

there must also be elements we can recognize in the classroom. If

our elements are not universal, the education will not be general.

As our focus is on primary education, curriculum should be

constructed by realizing the aims of primary education. The School

Council Project, ‘The Aims of Primary Education’, arranged a series

of meetings for several hundred teachers at which they discussed

their aims, and arrived finally at a list of 72 aims which made sense

to them. When the Schools Council Project presented these aims to

teachers they reminded them that they were concerned with those

children in the middle range of ability and suggested that they should

consider them in terms of children in their own schools. Now we are

mentioning some aims from the list of 72.

1. The child should be able to communicate his feelings through

some art forms; for example, printing, music, drama,


2. The child should have an understanding of how his body


3. The child should know how to acquire knowledge /

information other than by reading, for example, by asking

questions, by experimenting etc.

4. The child should know-how to use mathematical techniques is

in his everyday life, for instance, estimating distances,

classifying objects, using money.

5. The child should know the correct spelling of a basic general


6. The child should be an individual, developing in his own way.

7. The child should be able to write clearly and know how to

present his work attractively.

8. The child should have developing awareness of the spiritual

aspects of prayer and worship.

9. The child should find enjoyment in some purposeful leisure

time interests and activities, both on his own and with others.

10. The child should find enjoyment in a variety of aspects of

school work and gain satisfaction from his own achievements.

11. The child should have a wide general knowledge of times

and places beyond his immediate experience.

12. The child should know how to observe carefully,

accurately and with sensitivity.

13. The child should have sufficient knowledge and skill to be

able to engage in simple music-making, for example singing.

14. The child should be generally obedient to parents,

teachers and all reasonable authority.

15. The child should know how to behave appropriately in a

variety of situations, e.g. answering the telephone, telling to


16. The child should know how to convey his meanings

clearly and accurately through speech for a variety of


17. The child should know how to apply the basic principles

of health, hygiene and safety.

18. The child should be beginning to acquire a set of moral

values on which to base his own behaviour, for example,

honesty, sincerity, personal responsibility.

19. Child should be careful with and respectful of both his

own and other people’s property.

20. The child should be able to read with understanding

material appropriate to his age-group and interests.

21. The child should be kind and considerate, he should, for

example, be willing to give personal help to younger or new

children, to consider the elderly, the disabled.

22. The child should know how to engage in discussion, for

example, he should be able to table about his and other’s

opinion in a reasonable way.

23. The child should be a good mixer; he should be able to

make easy social contact with other children and adults in

work and play situations.

24. The child should know those moral values that relate to

people and property, which are shared by the majority of

members of the society.

25. The child should know how to speak in a clear and fluent

manner appropriate to different situations; e.g. informal

occasions with children and adults, formal occasions.

26. The child should have precise and economic body control

for all ordinary physical activities including the handling of

tools and equipment.

27. The child should have ordered subject knowledge in, for

example, history and geography.

28. The child should be developing the ability to control his

behaviour and his emotions.

29. The child should be self-confident; he should have a

sense of personal adequacy and be able to cope with his

environment at an appropriate level.

30. The child should know the basic grammatical rules of

writing English.

31. The child should know how to behave with courtesy and

good manners both in and out of school.

32. The child should be able to maintain lasting relationships

with a few close friends.

33. The child should be adoptable to changing circumstances

and flexible in outlook.

34. The child should be developing a personal appreciation

of beauty in some of its form, both natural and artistic.

35. The child should be enthusiastic and eager to put his best

into all activities.

36. The child should be beginning to understand aesthetic

experiences and should be able to talk about them, e.g.

looking at pictures, listening to poetry and plays.

37. The child should be able to listen with concentration and


38. The child should have a general knowledge of his local

environmental in some of the following aspects, geographical,

historical, natural, social and economic.

39. The child should be beginning to understand his own


40. The child should be able to swim.

41. The child should know the appropriate techniques of

some arts and crafts, e.g. how to use paint, clay.

42. The child should have a wide vocabulary.

43. The child should be developing the ability to plan

independent work and organize his own time.

44. The child should be happy, careful and well balanced.

45. The child should know what to do in emergencies, e.g.

sickness, accident.

46. The child should know how to play a variety of games,

e.g. football, cricket, etc.

47. The child should be beginning to feel community

responsibility; e.g. he should be loyal to groups such as class

and school of which he is a member.

48. The child should have a questioning attitude towards his


49. The child should be developing tolerance, respecting and

appreciating others, their feelings, views and capabilities.

50. The child should be able to conduct a simple

conversation in a foreign language.

51. The child should be able to listen to and enjoy a range of


52. The child should know how to think and solve problems

mathematically, using the appropriate basic concepts, for

example, the number system and place values, shape and

the appropriate language.

53. The child should have a range of movement and

gymnastic skills.

The various aims of primary education mentioned above shows

clearly that primary education is concerned with various aspects of

child development.

The purpose of primary education is to develop and sustain the

skills and attitudes of the child which will enable him to take his place

effectively and competently in society, fitting him to make a choice of

an occupational role and to live harmoniously in his community. It is

also to foster the development of the child’s individuality and

independence, enabling him to discover his own talents and

interests, find a full enjoyment of life in his own way and construct at

his own attitudes towards society. Therefore, to make future good

citizens we should focus on three main aspects of human being

which differentiate them from other living creatures. These are the

social, cultural and moral aspects of a man. We know that man is a

social being, which means he has to live with others in the society.

An individual cannot live alone in the society. He has to learn to live

with others. He has to know how to adjust with others and how to

share sorrow and happiness with others. This does not mean that

one has always to sacrifice one’s own view; rather one has to listen

to others critically and accept them on his own thinking. Human

beings can be differentiated from other animals only because of their

aesthetic senses. Each and every human being possesses this

quality. Education should help one to realize these qualities. Only

realization again is not enough. An individual must know how to

execute it properly. Self-fulfillment is only possible when one is

satisfied with his own development. The satisfaction should come

from within and it should not be forced from outside.

The term’ morality’ carries a wide range of meaning. It is the third

phase of development which helps one to become a good citizen.

What kind of value a child should pursue in order to be a person of

morality should be inculcated in him, so that he will come to feel

obligated to be a moral person. He would learn not to harm others.

Therefore, it is very clear that to achieve anything, educational

goals should be aimed to nourish and chanalize children’s natural

curiosity and to provide the encouragement, information and

stimulation that they require to continue growing. The teacher’s role

and the atmosphere which he or she creates in the classroom are

critical factors in a child’s education. The teacher is not the source of

all knowledge and order. The teacher should prepare a stimulating

environment so that children can work on problems. The teacher is

responsible for making sure that the environment is not only

stimulating but also orderly. The teacher is a guide who works with

the children. Child education will be successfully implemented if there

is direct relationship between the parents and the teacher. Therefore,

it can be concluded that the primary education is directly and

indirectly depended on many factors. To make it successfully run, all

the factors should work harmoniously.