Sunday, February 18, 2018

Relation of Curriculum, Syllabi, Instruction and Teaching

By Sultan Muhammad Khan

The word syllabus in used to indicate courses of studies based upon text books or text material. It is a part of curriculum. Those who consider curriculum as courses of studies are giving limited meaning to it. To limit our definition to syllabus or courses of study would restrict our thinking. An adequate definition of curriculum should encompass subject matter/courses of study or syllabi and all the learning experiences. Because the definition of curriculum needs to be broad enough to cover learners, learning and environment of learning, hence the course of study or syllabus of any subject forms only a part of the curriculum. Instead of including only the academic subjects, it includes the total experiences that a pupil receives in the school.
What is instruction?
            Curriculum has been defined as a plan for providing sets of learning opportunities for persons to be educated in an institution. Plans have no impact until they are set in motion, thus learning opportunities remain only opportunities until learners become engaged with the opportunities.
            Instruction is defined, then, as the actual engagements of learners with planned learning opportunities in the class-room.
            Instruction is a comprehensive and pedagogical term which includes the objectives, the teacher, the taught, the leaning process and the curriculum itself, including evaluation or assessment procedures.
            Some times the word teaching is used instead of instruction thought it gives the same meaning but teaching is a limited term. There can be no learning. The innovative term which should be used is instruction.
What is teaching?
            According to Risk 1947, there can be on learning-teaching situation without a teacher, a learner and a classroom. A classroom situation can be a teaching situation if the teachers become so absorb in teaching subject matter that they lose sight of the learner as a developing personality.
            John Dewy pertinently remarked, “One may as well say that he has sold when no one has bought as to say that he has taught when no one has learned.” The statement suggests that teaching may very well be defined as the direction or guidance of learning. A study of methods of teaching then should e concerned as much with learning activates as with ways of directing such learning.
            It can also be concluded that there is no consistent, necessary connection between teachings and learning. Since learning often occurs independently in circumstances unrelated to formal teaching. Learning is a private affair, learning is what a student dose, and teaching is what a teacher dose. Instruction then becomes a comprehensive term which occurs only when both the parties are willing, active and busy in various types of activities (can be written activities).  

What is Curriculum?
                    A document or plan that exists in a   school or school system  that defines the work of teachers, at least to the extent of identifying the content to be taught to students and the method to be used in the  process. (English, 2000)
The word Curriculum is taken from the latin word  which mean race or race-course.
Oxford Dictionary defined it as a course of study
“Curriculum is a disciplining technology that directs how the individual is to act, feel, talk, and ‘see’ the world and the ‘self.’  As such, curriculum is a form of social regulation.”
The Traditional concept;
“it is a body of subjects or subject matter prepared by the teachers for the students to learn”
static view point
Initially  the curriculum was  consider the course of study which gives importance only to text book teaching in educational institutions, the objective was to help students to memorize the content  of the subject.
Dynamic view point
After 19th century  the old concept of the curriculum was replaced, it include now all the activities which are practiced inside or outside school for the well being of the students. It is the totality of learning; classroom
Experiences, lab work, play ground and interaction with the community

Instructional Development Contrasted with Curriculum Development
            Some professionals do not view the development of instruction as a subset of the development of the curriculum. They view instruction and the curriculum as discrete but related processes. Differences do exist between the two processes. These differences characterize the discreetness of the processes, but do not determine the relationships between them. The determination of the relationships is a matter of philosophy and perhaps the interests of the professional.
            The differences between the processes of instructional and curriculum development were described in an article by Dean Supitzer and Kerry Kennedy. The given table is based upon the ideas in their article.

Curriculum                                                                 Instructional
Development                                                               Development

Based on broad goals and objectives. Intended group is large and defined in collective, generalizable terms. Presented as a gestalt, wholelistic model stressing a whole to part approach. Based on generalizable needs and wants of a population. Possession of information and information processing viewed as goal. A long range process. Based on date and models which are quantitative and qualitative. Attitude of learner tends to be determiner in decision making. Evaluation focused on both process and product.

Based on specific performance, behavioral objectives. Intended group’s small and defined in specific, precise terms. Presented as a linear model stressing a part of whole approach. Based on an assessment of the specific needs and wants of a sample of a population. Possession of skill learning is emphasized; information load reduces to minimum. A short range process. Based on data and models which are quantitative and empirical. Attitude of learner is significant but no critical in decision making. Evolution focused on product only.



5.1 problems of curriculum development in Pakistan and suggestions for its improvement

Falling education standard is one of the most favorite topics for discussion at our social gatherings. Everyone has his own views and experiences to narrate and ultimately, express the expression of grief and then recall the good old days when everything was at its best.

It is a known fact that our educational standards are on the decline. We have progressed in quantitative expansion but gone backward qualitatively, in the government policies there are planning and recommendations for the revolutionary steps but the progress in negligible.

We have innovative ideas but unable to implement any positive change effectively. That is why we could not achieve the desired goals. We have many leaders in education but most of them are without dedication to work. We have many schools, colleges and universities but they are working only to award certificates and degrees to the students without changing their attitude. The students are just memorizing facts and information from their text material without developing proper concepts to apply in daily life. Teachers are following conventional methods such as the lecture. Textbook recitation and notes dictation. The innovative methods are not followed even in teacher training institutes. The textbooks are also theoretical ignoring the activities. All these and many more are the curriculum related problems. These problems are identified by various policies along appropriate recommendations.

5.2 Problems of Curriculum Development Process

Look to the various phases or elements of curriculum development process. So many problems can be indicated i.e.

  1. Problems related to objectives.
  2. Problems related to content.
  3. Problems related to methods.
  4. Problems related to audio-visual aids.
  5. Problems related to evaluation.

  1. Problems Related to Objective

The curriculum development is a continuous and dynamic process, having some goals to be achieved through classroom activities.

The effectiveness of curriculum process depends largely upon the extent to which these goals are achieved. If the objectives are formulated in a clear and behavioral terms, their achievement becomes easy. The objectives formulated for the existing curricula are mostly ambiguous and non behavioral such types of objectives can be considered as invalid. Some of the objectives are too broad to achieve and some of them are not related to the socio economic conditions in the country. There are certain objectives that are not according to the psychological needs of the learners.

Ø  Need some clear Goals to achieve in education system and for that need some good objectives
Ø  Current objectives formulated are mostly ambiguous and non behavioral
Ø  Some of the objectives are too broad
Ø  Socio economic conditions is one of the reason in formulation of good objectives in the country, because to achieve good objectives its need financial support.
Ø  Some objectives are not related to psychological needs of students
Ø  Need of behavioral and non behavioral objectives both in education system
Ø  The objective should be narrow down and specific to the actual need of the society
Ø  Objective should be achievable

b.      Problems Related to Content

It has already been mentioned that curriculum development is a dynamic process. So it must be flexible enough to be changed from time to time along with the changes occurring in the society. But in our country, researches in curriculum development are very rare which make it static.

Some of the defects of existing subject matter are as under;
  • The content is not selected on the basis of research.
  • To content does not help in the achievement of desired goals.
  • The content is not suitable to the life situation of the learners.
  • There is a lack of horizontal and vertical coordination in various concepts.
  • The content does not demand active participation of learners, instead it encourages rote memory.
  • Logical sequence (when required) is missing.
  • The subject matter does not help in the development of understanding, indicative reasoning and desired creative abilities.
  • principle of representative content ignored
  • No motivation and interest for students
  • Lack of physical and mental activities.
  • Lack of Situational analyses
  • No teaching methods suggested

c.       Problems Related to Methods

The problems of curriculum development related to methods of instruction are:
    • Methods of instruction are not suggested by the curriculum planners.
    • Methods of instruction which are being followed in the classroom do not help in the achievement of desired goals.
    • Teachers take last interest in inquiry-based methods.
    • Participatory or communicative approaches are not followed in the class.
    • Methods are not helping the learners to develop various skills.
    • The existing teacher training programmes do not fulfill the requirements of the innovative methods.
    • Teachers are reluctant to follow activity-based methods.

  1. Problems Related to Audio-visual Aids

  • Lack of sources and resources in educational institutes affects badly the implementation of curriculum development.
  • Teachers are not properly trained in preparation and used of low cost material.
  • The curriculum planners have not given any guidelines to the teachers to use the local resources as audio-visual aids.
  • Charts should be accurate but it always missing the third dimensional attribute and must be viewed from a fixed position
  • The aids must be relevant to the concept need to be developed
  • the audio-visual should be interesting for the students
  • chalk board is the oldest aid of teaching but chalk is a source of pollution and it all depend on teacher hand writing
  • power failure (electricity) problem, it sometime damage audio-visual aids
  • Hardware problem in electronic AV aids
  • Overburden class room, the problem of visibility of small charts to all students
  1. Problems Related to Evaluation

·         Proper evaluation programme is not suggested by the curriculum planners.
·         The test items are not related to the objectives of the relevant course.
·         Most of the test items are ambiguous.
·         Only cognitive aspect is emphasized in evaluation.
·         The content validity is very low in existing evaluation system.
·         The concept of continuous evaluation in to applied.


  • The curriculum should base upon research and not on the basis of opinions of experts.
  • Some of the enthusiast working teachers should be involved in curriculum development.
  • The objectives must be spelt out in specific behavioral terms.
  • While setting the objectives, equal weightage must be given to all the domains such as cognitive affective and psychomotor.
  • Curriculum should be future oriented to cope with the needs of 21st century, which is expected to be scientific and technological
  • Curriculum should be activity based
  • Curriculum must provide a high order of understanding inductive reasoning and application of knowledge in the situation
  • Instead of product based instruction, there should be an emphasis  on processes of learning
  • Curriculum should be according to the social, cultural and economic conditions of the country
  • Teachers guides should be prepared to provide them help in instruction
  • Curriculum planner must suggest a proper criteria for evaluation
  • The test items must possess a high content validity
  • The test items must help in the achievement of desired goals
  • The test items should be objectives valid and reliable