Concept of Science Curriculum
In ancient times, the learning experiences that disciples had were the auspices of their guru within the gurukula system. Today, most of the experiences the learners acquire under the auspices of the school are considered as curriculum.
The word curriculum is derived from a Latin word currere which means to run. Thus curriculum means a course to be run by a student for achieving the aims and objectives of education. In other words, it stands for a course to be run for reaching a certain goal. Cunningham has defined it as “curriculum is the tool in the hands of the artist to mould his material according to his ideals in his studio.” Here artist word is used for teacher while material for the students.
In context of science, curriculum may be regarded as all that is to given or acquired by the child in the form of specific learning experiences for achieving the aims ad objectives of science teaching. It is a gist of lessons and topics which are expected to be covered in a specified period of time in any class.
However, this traditional concept of curriculum has undergone a change in modern times. Now, curriculum refers to the totality of experiences that a child receives through various class-room activities as also from activities in library, laboratory, workshop, play field etc.
The term science curriculum thus means all those learning experiences that are received by a child through a number of activities going on inside the school or outside the school in the form of formal or informal education. In actual situations, is sometimes confused with the scheme of studies or syllabus of a particular subject to be covered in the classroom. It is a very narrow and limited interpretation of the term curriculum.
Various definitions of curriculum have evolved with the passage of time as the aims of education have changed. A comprehensive definition of curriculum is – “Curriculum is the planned and guided learning experiences and intended outcomes, formulated through systematic reconstruction of knowledge and experience, under the auspices of the school, for the learner’s competence. It is the sum total of all the experiences which have to be provided for the good of the individual and the society”.
A curriculum is a plan of learning consisting of two major dimensions, viz. vision and structure. Vision in a curriculum is the product of a set of assumptions about people and the world at large and takes the form of some conceptualization of reality. Any curriculum always contains a set of value-laden assumptions about the purpose of education in our society.