Children love learning. It is natural. Schools provide the meeting place for certain assigned learnings to take place. From Year One to Year Twelve, pupils willingly accept that teachers want to teach them something important and, unless their lust for learning has been fractured, they go for it. The assigned learnings are those matters that a nation’s culture deems to be important and what teachers ought to guide their pupils through…a national curriculum in other words.
A school curriculum is a generalised outline of what pupils ought to learn while they are at school. It is about the guidance of a teacher over the learning enterprise. It is about pupilling. It provides the reasons for action without defining the action. In this sense, it is an influential summary containing statements about core elements that social engineers believe to be important… things like English, Mathematics, Science.
Further detail is provided by syllabuses for each subject or key learning area [KLA]. For school purposes, these contain the meat and bones of the body of school activity… the desired or required outcomes of school action regarding some aspect of the overall curriculum without necessarily stating the reasons for the action. These important documents, based on age-related levels of cope-ability, outline probable courses of action and, perhaps, resources that can be used. They are used to divide teaching activity into time slots that cater for each school’s unique clusters of clients.
Sometimes the curriculum statements and the syllabus details meld. Fair enough.
At the chalk-face, the school Principal organises these suggestions into school programs and provides detail so that they can be used, as easily as possible, by classroom teachers for their daily programs.
There is always that ever-present profound hope that the presentation of curriculum offerings does not interfere with or spoil a pupil’s natural love for learning, nor sour the pupilling processes. The Principal’s role as curriculum leader is so critical. A Principal who is not a busy curriculum supervisor has no place on the school premises. None can hide behind office routines or non-pupilling enterprises during the busy part of each school day.
The setting of national curricula does not occur in all countries. Where common usage curriculum documents have to be prepared there is a need for great caution. Those who compose the syllabus suggestions need to know what they are doing. It is an easy task to list the items and notions that should be taught. Any quack can do that. It is not an easy task to concentrate on a classroom setting and to try to convert personal experiences within the classroom into readable form for a particular subject. Authors not only need to have been there and done that in classroom terms, but they need continuous, sincere advice and comment from all stakeholders. After all, once teachers get together with their pupils in the classroom, they convert all curriculum advice into a personal program and it makes things a whole lot easier if the presented is in line with the suggested.
The classroom is the engine-room of a country’s future. The curriculum gets into action. No matter what is written or stated, the pupilling exchange btween a teacher and a learner is what counts. No useable curriculum can be constructed without a very thorough knowledge of classroom settings and how each school week operates…and…the pressures on the use of school time and resources have to be clearly understood.