THE DEFINITION OF CURRICULUM – Dictionaries and Experts


The curriculum is so wide when it is viewed from the realm of education. Curriculum is various based on the location, culture, social, needs, and implementation. It is the arrangement of what countries and or institutions need to manage the education system grounded on institution’s goal and objectives. Actually, the philosophy of the curriculum tends to define achievement as the goal and it is more relevant to efforts as the objectives. Therefore, some definitions arise to be the description of the curriculum itself and they are not mistaken as long as the definition is not restrain from the fact that curriculum is a provisional set of achievement.

In this article, the writer would like to compile some definitions from various online dictionaries and experts dealing with curriculum. It is not the writer’s intention to make distinction but it is more to compiling on a scientific article by which the readers might use it as references, self research, library research, and or just to find understanding.
By grateful to the webs owners and authors, the writer tries to roll out some definitions of the curriculum as follow.

A. The Online Dictionaries Definition
There are numbers of Curriculum definition on Internet but the writer only looks them up on the online dictionaries.

According to THE FREE DICTIONARY By FARLEX that Curriculum is:

  1. All the courses of study offered by an educational institution.
  2. A group of related courses, often in a special field of study: the engineering curriculum.

According to MERRIAM WEBSTER that Curriculum is:

  1. A set of courses constituting an area of specialization.

According to OXFORD DICTIONARIES that Curriculum is:

  1. The subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college: course components of the school curriculum.

According to DICTIONARY.COM that Curriculum is:

  1. The aggregate of courses of study given in a school, college, university, etc.: The school is adding more science courses to its curriculum.
  2. The regular or a particular course of study in a school, college, etc.

According to COLLINS DICTIONARIES that Curriculum is:

  1. A course of study in one subject at a school or college
  2. A list of all the courses of study offered by a school or college
  3. Any programme or plan of activities.

According to CAMBRIDGE ONLINE DICTIONARIES that Curriculum is:

  1. The subjects studied in a school, college, etc. and what each subject includes: the school curriculum.
  2. National Curriculum – in some countries, the set of subjects that children must study.

According to OXFORD ADVANCED LEARNER’S DICTIONARY that Curriculum is:

  1. The subjects that are included in a course of study or taught in a school, college, etc.

According to YOUR DICTIONARY that Curriculum is:

  1. The definition of curriculum is the combination of courses offered at a school, or all the classes within a certain subject.
  2. A fixed series of studies required, as in a college, for graduation, qualification in a major field of study, etc.
  3. All of the courses, collectively, offered in a school, college, etc., or in a particular subject.

According to BUSINESS DICTIONARY.COM that Curriculum is:

  1. Combination of different training courses arranged in a sequence.

According to VOCABULARY.COM that Curriculum is:

  1. A curriculum is a set of courses designed to give expertise.

According to MACMILLAND DICTIONARY.COM that Curriculum is:

  1. The subjects that students study at a particular school or college.

According to V2 VOCABULARY BUILDING DICTIONARY that Curriculum is:

  1. The courses taught at an educational institution, or the details taught in a particular subject.

B. The Experts’ Definitions
As well as internet, there are many books provide Curriculum definition but this article only draws the definitions from some books that are published up to 2012.

  1. According to Nichols, Shidaker, Johnson, & Singer (2006) that Curriculum is an area of education that is characterized by a lack of agreement about its definition and nature.
  2. According to Wortham (2006) that Curriculum is a planned set of course that is presented to teachers to arrange teaching and learning in certain level of ages.
  3. According to Nation & Macalister (2010) define Curriculum as a guidance in designing courses that consits of outer cyrcle namely Priciples, Environment, and needs that involve practical and theoretical considerations that will have a major effect in guiding the actual process of course production. Inner cyrcle that consists of goals and its center, contents and sequences, format and presentation, and monitoring and assessment.
  4. According to Cattington (2010), curriculum (or curriculum standards) to refer to the standards, benchmarks, and outcomes that delineate the content to be taught and learned in science classrooms.
  5. According to Slattery (2006) Curriculum should be developed time by times to the postmodern curriculum that is radically eclectic, determined in the context of relatedness, recursive in its complexity, autobiographically intuitive, aesthetically intersubjective, embodied, phenomenological, experiential, simultaneously quantum and cosmic, hopeful in its constructive dimension, radical in its deconstructive movement, liberating in its poststructural intents, empowering in its spirituality, ironic in its kaleidoscopic sensibilities, and ultimately, a hermeneutic searchfor greater understanding that motivates and satisfies us on the journey.
  6. According to Lake and Winterbottom (2010) in Kattington (2010), Curriculum is a set of rule that benefits students by providing them with practice in both content and social curriculum through the use of active learning, exploration of interests, civic responsibility, character building, and recognizing and helping thecommunity.
  7. According to Dat (no year) in Tomlinson (2008 Ed) impled that curriculum requires too much to be accomplished within a unit and that their students want a moremanageable and realistic learning goal.


Bao, Dat. In Tomlinson, Brian. 2008 Ed. English Language Learning Material – A Critical Review.  London: Continuum International Publishing Group

Cattington, Limon E. 2010 (Ed). Handbook of Curriculum Development. New York: Nova Science Publisher Inc.

Lake , Vickie E. & Winterbottom, Christian. 2010. In Kattington, Limon E. 2010 (Ed). Handbook of Curriculum Development. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Nation, I.S.P. & Macalister, J. 2010. Language Curriculum and Design. New York: Taylor and Francis Group

Nichols, Shidaker, Johnson, & Singer. 2006. MANAGING CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT – A Practitioner’s Guide. Ohio: Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Slattery, Patrick. 2006. Curriculum Development in the Postmodern Era. New York: Roudledge Taylor and Francis Group

Wortham, 2006. Early Childhood Curriculum – Developmental Bases for Learning and Teaching. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Websites: – THE FREE DICTIONARY By FARLEX, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Merriam Webster, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Oxford Dictionaries, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Dictionary.Com, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Collins Dictionaries, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Cambridge Online Dictionaries, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Your Dictionary, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Business Dictionary.Com, Accessed 30 September 2013 – Vocabulary.Com, Accessed 30 September 2013 – MacmillandDictionary.Com, Accessed 30 September 2013 – V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary, Accessed September 2013


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