How to Create an Effective School Curriculum

Feb 19, 2022 | Blog, Schools

The goal of any school is to provide a quality education. To get your school running, you would need to find a conducive neighbourhood to situate your school, hire competent teachers and purchase equipment. You would also need to create a solid educational plan that specifies intended outcomes, planned assessments and instructional methods. This is the basis of a school curriculum. 

Effective learning curriculums are beneficial not only for students, but also for teachers, and other stakeholders in the learning ecosystem. At EduIs, we’re committed to transforming society’s approach to learning and instruction. Our school management software is designed to simplify administrative and processes, optimise positive outcomes for students and maintain a collaborative learning environment. 

Over the years, several models have emerged for developing learning curriculums. Although there is no consensus on the “best” model, it’s evident that modern, innovative approaches to curriculum design lead to better outcomes for learners. They also provide more room for flexibility in instruction and assessment. In this article, we’ll discuss what an educational curriculum is, why it’s so important and offer a few tips to help you design effective learning plans for your classes.

What is a Curriculum?

A school curriculum is a framework that describes a teacher’s intended instruction plan. It covers teaching and instructional practices, learning experiences and outcomes, assessment plans and expectations. In educational institutions where there are several classes at each level, taught by different teachers, a curriculum standardises teaching methodology, ensuring that students have the same opportunities to learn and can achieve similar outcomes. 

Key Components of a School Curriculum

Five key areas define a learning curriculum: focus, content, process, approach and structure. Each one tackles education from a different point of view and answers a key question.

Focus: Where is the emphasis? The focus of a curriculum could be on the student or on the subject matter. A subject-centred curriculum prioritises what the students learn. It describes what they need to learn and how they should learn. On the other hand, a student-centred curriculum focuses on the individual needs of each student, their skills and learning goals. Teachers design different activities for students, giving them the opportunity to learn at their own pace.

Content: How will you write the curriculum? Topic-based curriculums specify what learners should know. Alternatively, competency-based curriculums specify what they should do. The latter is a learner-based system that changes with the needs of the students (and teachers).

Process: How will you teach the class and how do you evaluate the process? A summative (or accumulative) process collects data about what students have learned at the end of the learning period. Conversely, the formative process collects and evaluates this data in parallel with learning.

Approach:  How will you instruct learners? The options are traditional or innovative. The traditional approach utilises oral instruction, reciting to memorise facts and reading. A single instructor communicates the same information, using the same techniques, to a group of learners; without considering the unique needs of each student. The innovative approach tries to improve the outcomes of the traditional model by creating different learning experiences to accommodate the needs of each student.

Structure: How (often) do you plan to review the curriculum ? A linear structure is straightforward, following step-by-step procedures for curriculum development, with reviews at the end of the process. Conversely, a cyclic structure evolves with changes in the educational sector. As a result, you can review the curriculum at various points during the developmental process.

Designing Your School Curriculum

Regardless of the approach you choose, you should tailor your curriculum needs to the needs of your students and your goal as an educator. Before you dive into design and development, consider these two distinct models of curriculum design:

  • Process-Based
  • Product-Based

While a process-based curriculum model focuses on how learning is achieved, the product-based model is concerned with what the students have learned. With the product model, assessments, outcomes and results are of the utmost important. As such, it’s best used in systems where test and examination scores are the major means of evaluating academic.

Moreover, the process model is more flexible. While grades are important, the student’s overall development is taken into consideration.

With these models in mind, follow these steps to develop an effective curriculum:

1. Analyse the Requirements

A good education provides the tools we need to navigate society and interact meaningfully with the people around us. As such, a learning curriculum should equip learners to become useful members of society. Evaluate the needs of both students and teachers. Wxhat do learners need to know to be considered “educated” in their society?

Several factors must be considered including socio-cultural practices, geographical, political and emotional factors. Properly identifying the needs of all participants in the process will ensure that your curriculum is useful to learners and will guide the other stages of this process.

2. Determine Your Objectives

What do you want your students to learn? How will you go about teaching them this? When drawing up learning objectives, consider the learner, the learner process, the knowledge you plan to impart and the make-up of the larger society.

3. Research and Content Development

Do some research into appropriate learning resources and instructional materials that match your needs and objectives. Bear in mind that content selection will depend on the type of society, the grade/age of the learner, subject scope, methods of assessment and so on.

4. Make a Delivery Plan

A solid instructional plan plays a big role in ensuring the success of your students, and teachers. Build out a sequential and cohesive teaching narrative that sets the context for each topic. Furthermore, in a school setting, different teachers in various classes can adapt a general teaching plan for their specific courses.

5. Review and Evaluate

Remember, the best curriculums are innovative and flexible. As such, carry out periodic reviews to determine how the syllabus impacts the learning experience. Adapt and review the plan often, making improvements as you go along.

With EduIs, creating and implementing a learning curriculum has never been easier. We’re fully equipped to help you make the right choices in running your school and educating the next generation. Contact us today to find out more about our suite of educational management tools.