The relationship between curriculum and instruction

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The curriculum is the content and process of how students will learn in school, including underlying philosophy, goals, objectives, strategies, instructional materials, time frame, and accountability. Instruction is the implementation of plans for teaching the curriculum content in the classroom. The relationship between curriculum and instruction is one of planning and implementation, with instructional concerns including building capacity, equipment, facilities, instructor training, student age and level, and psychological or behavioral factors. The development of curriculum and instruction are illustrated in a diagram.

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I am a High School Business Technology teacher at an inner city school in Los Angeles.

Curriculum is the actual content of what is taught in school and the process of how it will be actually taught. It includes a statement of underlying philosophy or learning theory, Assumptions, Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Instructional materials, Time frame and Accountability. It can refer to the full package of concepts taught within a specific grade level or a wider view of everything a student is supposed to learn in school.

Instruction is the creation and implementation of plans for the teaching of curriculum content. It is what is planned and taught in the actual classroom setting towards effective learning. Instructional design occurs when a teacher is preparing to teach the course content e.g. to preparing lesson plans.

The relationship between curriculum and instruction is one between content & process, and planning & implementation. A curriculum can be seen as the plan, agenda or goal of education; while instruction can be seen as the methods and actions taken in the interest of reaching that goal.

Instructional concerns might include matters of building capacity, equipment, and facilities to accommodate certain kinds of instructional activities. Human concerns might include the training and expertise of instructors, the age and level of accomplishment of students, and various psychological or behavioral factors. Any of theses bases can greatly affect the desired learning outcomes of the curriculum.

The diagram below illustrates the relationship between curriculum and instruction development.

Finch, C.R. and Crunkilton,J.R. (1999). Curriculum Development in Vocational and Technical Education,p.13


LinguaLinks Library, Version 4.0, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999.

Yates, R. (2000). Curriculum overview: Online. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on March 26, 2001.

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