The definition of curriculum transcends the conception of it as a mere document and ushers it into the realms of instruction itself. Certain researchers consider the curriculum to be a dynamic instrument that is vital to the way students and educators interact with the materials of education “in a free-wheeling setting” (Weade, 1987, p. 15). Much of the current trends in curriculum and instruction involve the constructivist practice of hands-on training (Ediger, 2001).
This dictates that the curriculum takes the form of the drafting and implementation of practical methods in the planning of instruction. Depth of instruction is at the heart of current reformatory curriculum drafting, as it has been theorized by several educational researchers that the improper articulation of the intricacies of certain concepts has led to current educational problems (AAAS, 2000). The fact is that curricula, which serve as a guide for teachers, also have the ability to restrict their freedom in the classroom.
The cursory way in which some curricula deal with concepts often has the effect of curtailing teachers’ tendency toward depth and breadth within a lesson, and this in turn has an adverse effect on the understanding of the students. In mathematics, for instance, a student may be having trouble understanding the application of an algebraic concept in the real world. The student may not be able to visualize the transformation of a perfect algebraic square such as (a + b)2 into the expression a2 + ab +b2. The student might not be aware of how the ab portion of the equation comes into play.
Visualization of the problem might be aided through the labelling of the sides of a square with the measurements a + b and then dividing the square into bits to demonstrate the areas that correspond to a2, b2 and ab. The visual and practical demonstration of this would work in conjunction with the theoretical aspect of the algebraic problem to aid understanding and consequently memorization. In that way, freedom in the curriculum allowing for a greater depth in the instruction of the concept would lead to a better understanding for the student (AAAS, 2000).
References American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Project 2061. (2000). “Algebra for all — not with today’s textbooks, says AAAS. ” Press Release. Retrieved on October 2, 2007 from http://www. project2061. org/newsinfo/press/rl000426. htm. Ediger, M. (2001). “What makes for a quality science curriculum? ” Journal of Instructional Psychology. 28(4): 241-243. Weade, R. “Curriculu ‘n’Instruction: the construction of meaning. ” Theory into Practice, 26(1): 15-25.