What is Curriculum & Instruction?

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  • 0:01 Curriculum &…
  • 0:31 Curriculum
  • 2:19 Instruction
  • 3:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shaundra Boyd
Learn about two guiding educational concepts that impact students everywhere. This lesson will explain what you need to know about curriculum and instruction.

Curriculum and Instruction in Schools

What is curriculum? What is instruction? Have you ever wondered about these two concepts? What we choose to teach in the classroom is based on curriculum. How we teach it is the instruction. That seems simple enough, right? Not as simple as it looks. Curriculum and instruction are elements that can change from one school to another, across school districts, across states, and even internationally.


What will my daughter's first grade teacher teach her this school year? This question can best be answered by understanding the term 'curriculum'. Curriculum is defined as the lessons and academic content taught in a school or in a specific course or program. There are varying forms of curriculum that help us understand its purpose more.

Imagine Sally is in her first year of teaching, and she has to make some curriculum decisions that will impact what happens in her classroom. When she reviews the state and local school systems' written curriculum, she gets an understanding of what she is expected to teach to her students. The written curriculum provides many details that outline the standards and learning objectives for that given school year.

Additionally, she also has the opportunity to learn what supported curriculum is in place. The supported curriculum includes the textbooks or multimedia resources that can be used to teach her students. If Sally has Web-based resources that she can use daily to help students practice math facts, then that is an example of the supported curriculum.

More curriculum considerations for Sally include the tested, taught, and learned curriculums. When Sally considers the information that students will be tested on, she is focusing on the tested curriculum. Testing that is designed by her, the district, or the state all play a part in the tested curriculum. Therefore, Sally must sometimes teach what she knows may be on an upcoming assessment.

What Sally ultimately chooses to teach everyday in her classroom is taught curriculum. From one classroom to another, this type of curriculum may vary. And lastly, what the students ultimately learn will be the learned curriculum.

Each of these curriculum types play a major role in the classroom. Understanding how each of them work, helps teachers make better classroom decisions.

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