Understanding Curriculum


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Defining curriculum is a complex task because there are scores of definitions in the literature for curriculum predominately those that imply that curriculum, is objective, technical and tangible. For others it is an active phenomenon that illustrates contextual influence and need, especially for the society it represents. The definitions, overall, represent curriculum as a deeply personal and dynamic phenomenon, strongly influenced by the environmental and personal influences that impact on curriculum, especially in its design and implementation. The research described in this paper focuses on an analysis what curriculum is and the tensions associated with defining it. The paper goes onto the discuss the eleven types of curriculum: (1) overt, explicit or written, (2) social curriculum or societal, (3) hidden, (4) phantom, (5) null, (6) rhetorical, (7) Concomitant, (8) received, (9) curriculum in use, (10) electronic and (11) internal curriculum. Within the descriptions of the types of curriculum, examples are used to elucidate and to further describe the types of curriculum and how they are interrelated. In depth descriptions of the orientations and foundations of curriculum follow which highlight their importance and relationship to curriculum and its construction. In brief, the paper reveals the tensions associated with defining curriculum, defines the types of curriculum and provides clear and coherent explanations and understanding of both curriculum orientations and foundations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-311
Number of pages13
JournalAsian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum
  • orientations
  • foundations
  • construction


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