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Topic: Concept of Curriculum and Principles of Curriculum



Curriculum is the crux of the whole educational
process. Without curriculum, we reflect the ethos of that country. Mathematics is
taught to pupils, as it would help to realize certain values and aims by which they
could become better individuals. But such goals cannot be reached through a
vacuum. We require some appropriate medium through which the anticipated
changes could be brought about the mathematics curriculum is the medium
required for the purpose. As such, every mathematics teacher has to get a clear
and through knowledge about the meaning, function, foundations and types of a
good mathematics curriculum together with the principles for its development
and transaction.


The term curriculum is derived from the Latin word Currere, which means path.
In this sense curriculum is the path through which the student has to g forward in
order to teach the gal envisaged by education. Usually the term curriculum is
understood as a group of subjects prescribed for study in particular course. But
curriculum is not confined to this narrow concept. Curriculum should in a way be
considered as synonymous with courses of study. The courses of study do list
much of the continent to be learnt and indicate some of the major activities but
these form only part of the curriculum. Curriculum should be considered as a
broad based term encompassing every aspect conceiving a course of study.
Curriculum for a course of study may be conceived as the totality of experiences a
pupil is exposed to within the boundaries f the school and outside while
undergoing that course, with a view to the anticipated educational goals.


Different persons have defined curriculum in different ways. Some have the
definition on its narrow scope while others define it is a much broader sense.

1. Curriculum is a tool in the hand f an artist(teacher)to mould his
materials(pupils)according to his ideals(objectives) in his studio(school) _
Arthur Cunningham
2. Curriculum embodies are the experiences, which are utilized by the school
to attain the aims of education _ Muscore
3. Curriculum is made up of everything that surrounds the learners are his
working hours _ H.L Larwell
4. Curriculum is that which the pupil taught. It involves more than the art of
learning and quiet study. It involves occupations, productions,
achievement, exercise and activity. H.H Horne

In brief, curriculum is the means for achieving the goals
of education. It includes all those experiences, activities and environmental
influences, which the student receives during the educational career, for the
realization of variety of anticipated goals.



The whole curriculum is spread over a number f years.
A general treatment of almost all the topics is attempted at the beginning, in view
of the utility value and it is developed in successive years according to the mental
development of the pupils. In the beginning of the course, all the essential aspects
are given to pupils in a simplified way. In the beginning f the course, all the
essential aspects are given to pupils n a simplified way. In the next year more and
more details its parts are added. It follows the maxims of teaching, such as from
whole to part, simple to complex, easy to difficult etc. Among educationalist of
learning is possible only of this approach is maintained. Sometimes this approach
is referred to as concentric approach. But the term spiral approach is preferred
to the linkage to be taken care of and the continuity of the topic concerned is
never broken. While conceiving t s concentric only the widening of the scope is
indicated but the linkage is taken care of.


The arrangement of subject matter based on the
principles f psychology, is known as psychological approach, the criterion
potentials, capacities, etc. appropriate for the development level of the
stage for which the curriculum is being designed. In other words this
approach is n tune with such a logical sequence. It is often criticized that by
splitting topics in to unit the developmental stages of the learner, their
logical de3velopment is broken. Logical approach demands maintain the
logical sequence while developing a curriculum. At the same time, a good
curriculum if carefully can maintain the psychological approach.


Every subject of study involves a number of
topics. A topic is a collection of related learning materials pertaining to specific
area of the subject, systematically and sequentially arranged so as to get a holistic
picture of those aspects. There are a large number of concepts, principles, process
are associated with this area, which act as related parts of a whole. Since these
aspects are interrelated and as they maintain certain logical sequences and
correlations, it is often advised that the topic should be thoroughly dealt with and
mastered before passing on to another topic. This is known as the topical
approach in curriculum. A topic may be so complex and might include a large
number of items of varied difficulty and such occasions; it is advisable not to
never all at the very first in same. The spiral approach may be distributed over a
longer time span. For this, the topic may be divided into a number of units
through a unit may be only part of the same topic it can be given a holistic unity
by properly linking the study ideas involved. Taking, fundamental units of the
topic first and then gradually taking other units one by one in the course will
make learning more psychological and home sound. This approach n curriculum
planning is said to be unit approach. Generally speaking, when topic are complex
a very large and involves units posing varied levels and difficulty it will be
advisable to have the unit approach.

The main aim of education is acquisition of knowledge and its
application for the study of other subjects and for having the problems that might
arise in everyday life. The curriculum for any subject aims at realizing these goals
through different means. However, the knowledge and ideas acquire3d through
the subjects taught in watertight compartment without highlighting its
application to life and other subjects become meaningless. The study of every
subject should highlight the unity of knowledge. While teaching any subject, the
teacher can its instances and examples to show that knowledge is a single
integrated whole and the knowle3dge that one gains through subjects like
mathematics, social science, science and languages unities a meaningful whole
reflecting integrated knowledge. Such an integrated approach helps the students
to get a holistic view of the entire school programme and thereby the study of
each subject becomes more meaningful and significant.

While organizing the content in mathematics
curriculum the principle of correlation should be followed. The following four
steps of correlation should be correlated.

i. Correlation with life.
ii. Correlation with other subjects.
iii. Correlation between different branches of mathematics.
iv. Correlation between different topics in the same branch of the


An integrated approach combining both logical and
psychological order should be followed in the organizing of the mathematics
curriculum. The arrangement of the content should display sequential
development of topics which is most appropriate for the student of that age level.


Learning by doing makes learning more meaningful.
The curriculum should take into consideration the type of activities that could be
provided for the effective learning of the content. The activities that help in
relating mathematical concept with the concrete object will induce enthusiasm
and interest among the children. These activities should include:

i. Personal and home activities.
ii. Vocational activities.
iii. Recreational activities.
iv. National activities.
v. Community civic and social activities.

The content organized for a class should be based on
the syllabus covered in the lower class, and in turn, it should form the basis for
the organizing of the content in higher class. This is called vertical correlation
leading from simple topics from complex ones.


The organizing of the content should be n the
increasing order of difficulty. The difficulty level of the topic is to be judged from
the pupils point f view, based on the mental development and capability of the


The organizing of the content should enthuse the
children to learn. The content prepared should be challenging, interesting and

The arrangement of the content for each class and level should cater to the needs
of the different categories of children. There should be helps which are
challenging for mathematically gifted student an topics suitable for average and
show learners in mathematics. Similarly, needs of students from rural and urban
areas and from different communities have to be given up weightage while
arranging in the mathematics curriculum.


In topical approach a topic one presented should be
completely exhausted in the same class. This method demands that the entire
topic, the portions easy as well as the difficult, should be covered in the same

It is not feasible to do any topics to its entirely in any
class. Instead a topic should be graded and arranged according to the increasing
order of difficulty. Each part should be introduced at a stage which the student
had the need t learn and the student has the intellectual development and
capability to understood and appreciate what is presented to him.


The Cambridge report on mathematics curriculum
emphasized the importance of interrelating and interviewing the different
mathematical topics to be taken up throughout the school period and envisaged
the progressive broadening and deepening of the childs mathematical knowledge
and insight by what is called the spiral approach.

Therefore contrary to topical approach, spiral
approach demands the division of the topics into a number f smaller independent
units to be deal with, in order of difficulty and mental capacity of children it is
based on the principle that topic cannot be given an exhaustive treatment at one
stage. To begin with the elementary concepts are represented in one class, gaps
are filled in the next class, and more gaps a year or two later, in accordance with
the amount of knowledge which the students are capable of assimilating.


Curriculum for a course of study may ne convinced
as the totality of experiences a pupil is exposed to within the boundaries of the
school and outside while undergoing that course, with a view to achieve the
anticipated educational goals.


1. James. A (2005) Teaching of Mathematics, Neel Kamal publications,
2. Kumar.S & Retnalikar.D.L (2003) Teaching of Mathematics New Delhi
Aims publication pvt.ltd.