The Nature, Function, and Role of the Curriculum

The Nature, Function, and Role of the Curriculum


  1. The nature of the curriculum
    The essence of the curriculum is an activity that includes various student activity plans that include detailed student activity plans in the form of educational material forms, teaching and learning strategy suggestions, program arrangements so that they can be implemented, and other things matters that include activities aimed at achieving the desired goals.


  • Example of Farewell Event Arrangements for SD, SMP and SMA
  • 17 Examples of Politeness in the Family, School and Society
  • Functions and Principles of Guidance and Counseling

The term curriculum (curriculum), which was originally used in the world of sports, comes from the words curir (runner) and curere (race). At that time the curriculum was defined as the distance a runner had to travel from start to finish to get a medal/award. Then this understanding is applied in the world of education into a number of subjects (subjects) that must be taken by a student from the beginning to the end of the study program to obtain an award in the form of a diploma. From this understanding, the curriculum contains two main things, namely: (1) there are subjects that must be taken by students, and (2) the main goal is to obtain a diploma.

Thus, the implications for teaching practice are that each student must master all the subjects given and place the teacher in a very important and decisive position. Student success is determined by how far the subject is mastered and is usually symbolized by the score obtained after taking a test or examination.

The definition of curriculum as mentioned above is considered a narrow or very simple understanding. If we study books or other literature about curriculum, especially those developed in developed countries, we will find many broader and more diverse definitions. The curriculum is not limited to a number of subjects, but includes all learning experiences that students experience and influence their personal development. Even Harold B.

Alberty (1965) views the curriculum as all the activities that are provided to students under the responsibility of the school (all of the activities that are provided for the students by the school). The curriculum is not limited to activities in the classroom, but also includes activities carried out by students outside the classroom. Saylor, Alexander, and Lewis (1974) considered the curriculum as all the school’s efforts to influence students to learn, both in the classroom, on the school grounds, and outside the school.

The definition of curriculum is constantly evolving in line with developments in educational theory and practice. With various opinions regarding the meaning of curriculum, theoretically it is rather difficult for us to determine one meaning that can summarize all opinions. At present the term curriculum has four dimensions of understanding, one dimension with the other dimensions being interconnected.

The four dimensions of the curriculum are: (1) curriculum as an idea/idea; (2) curriculum as a written plan which is actually an embodiment of the curriculum as an idea; (3) curriculum as an activity which is often referred to as curriculum as a reality or curriculum implementation. Theoretically, this curriculum dimension is the implementation of the curriculum as a written plan; and (4) curriculum as an outcome which is a consequence of the curriculum as an activity.

The views or assumptions that are still commonly used in the world of education and schools in our country, namely the curriculum as a written plan that is arranged to facilitate the learning process. This is in accordance with the formulation of the meaning of curriculum as stated in Law no. 20 of 2003 concerning the National Education System article 1 paragraph (19) which reads: Curriculum is a set of plans and arrangements regarding objectives, content and learning materials as well as methods used as guidelines for organizing learning activities to achieve certain educational goals. Furthermore, in article 36 paragraph (3) it is stated that the curriculum is prepared according to the level and type of education within the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia by taking into account:
• Increased Increase of faith and piety;
• Increasing noble character;
• Increasing the potential, intelligence and interests of students;
• The diversity of regional and environmental potentials;
• Regional and national development demands;
• The demands of the world of work;
• Development of science, technology and art;
• Religion;
• Dynamics of global developments;
• National unity and national values.

This article clearly shows various aspects of the overall personality development of students and the development of community and nation development, science, religious life, economy, culture, arts, technology and challenges of global life. That is, the curriculum must pay attention to this problem seriously and answer this problem by adjusting to the human qualities that are expected to be produced at every level of education. The essence of the curriculum according to Saylor, Alexander and Leuwis (1981), makes a category of formulation of the meaning of the curriculum, namely:

1. Curriculum as a plan of subjects or lesson materials
According to Webster’s New International Dictionary, which has included the term curriculum in the repertoire of English vocabulary since 1593, it gives meaning to the term curriculum as follows:

a. A course, esp. a specified fixed course of study, as in a school or college, as one leading to a degree.
b. The whole body of courses offered in an educational institution, or by a department there of.
The definition above means:
a. As a number of subjects that are set to be studied by students in a school or college, to obtain a diploma or degree.
b. All subjects offered by an educational institution or a particular department.

2. Curriculum as a plan of learning experiences
Learning experiences can be in the form of studying subjects and various other activities that can provide useful learning experiences. Learning activities are not limited to learning activities in class or school, but also activities carried out outside the classroom or school; provided it is done on the responsibility of the school (Romine, 1954).
According to Strate Meyer, Frokner and Mck Kim (1947) according to the three figures above interpret the curriculum in three ways, namely:
a. Subjects and other activities carried out in class
b. The entire learning experience, whether obtained in class or outside the classroom sponsored by the school
c. The entire student life experience. The curriculum covers quite broad aspects, namely covering the entire student experience, because according to the three figures above, the view is that education is tasked with preparing students to be able to function and adapt to all aspects of life in society.
According to Thornton and Wright (1964) suggests that the curriculum is used to show all student learning experiences obtained under the supervision of the school.

3. Curriculum as a plan of learning opportunities
The term study plan is what the curriculum planner wants students to learn while attending school. According to Hilda Taba (1962) states the curriculum is a study plan. Therefore, concepts about individual learning and development can color curriculum forms. The study plan includes objectives, materials, organization of activities and assessment of learning success.

There are curriculum experts who state that “the curriculum includes the aims, objectives, content, processes, resources, and evaluation tools for all planned learning experiences for learners both inside and outside the school and community through classroom teaching and related programs. ”, and then limiting “the syllabus as a statement regarding the plan for each part of the curriculum neglecting the evaluation element of the curriculum itself; … the syllabus should be viewed in the context of the ongoing curriculum development process” (Robertson 1971: 584; Shaw 1977 in Tarigan, 1993: 5 ).

In addition, there are various definitions given to the term curriculum. There is a very broad understanding and conversely there is a narrow understanding.
Typically, the curriculum is seen as a plan designed to expedite the teaching and learning process under the guidance and responsibility of the school or educational institution and its teaching staff (Nasution, 2006:5). A broader definition of the curriculum is then given by educators, namely “all school efforts to influence children’s learning, inside the classroom, on the school grounds and outside” or “all activities under the responsibility of the school that affect children in their education” (Team Pembina Mata Methodic Didactic Lecture, 1995:97).
In understanding the nature of the curriculum between one person and another or one expert and another expert will be different. In essence, the curriculum is the same as the curriculum. Broadly speaking, the understanding of the essence of the curriculum can be divided into two, namely:

1. Understanding the curriculum according to traditional views
According to Oemar Hamalik, the curriculum is a number of subjects that must be taken by students to obtain a diploma. According to S. Nasution, the curriculum is defined as the subjects taught at school. The definition of a curriculum that is considered traditional is still widely adhered to today, including Indonesia. From the definition of the traditional curriculum, it is clear that there is a tendency to emphasize lesson plans to deliver subjects that still contain ancestral culture. The curriculum is also interpreted narrowly only in the delivery of subjects to students.

2. Understanding according to the modern view
At this time, the curriculum is not only limited to everything related to education, but is even broader, namely as a political arena, and has become a provision for graduates in responding to community demands.

B. Curriculum Function
Basically, the curriculum functions as a guide or reference. For teachers, the curriculum serves as a guide in carrying out the learning process. For school principals and supervisors, the curriculum serves as a guide in carrying out supervision or oversight. For parents, the curriculum serves as a guide in guiding their children to study at home. For the community, the curriculum serves as a guide to provide assistance for the implementation of the educational process in schools.
Regarding the function of the curriculum for students as students, there are six functions of the curriculum, namely:

a. The adjustment function (the adjustive or adaptive function)
The adjustment function implies that the curriculum as an educational tool must be able to direct students to have well adjusted characteristics, namely being able to adapt themselves to the environment, both the physical environment and the social environment. The environment itself is constantly changing and dynamic. Therefore, students must also have the ability to adapt to changes that occur in their environment.

b. Integration function (the integrating function)
The integration function implies that the curriculum as an educational tool must be able to produce whole individuals. Students are basically members and an integral part of society. Therefore, students must have the personality needed to be able to live and integrate with society.

c. The differentiating function The
differentiating function implies that the curriculum as an educational tool must be able to provide services to individual student differences. Every student has differences, both physically and psychologically, which must be respected and served properly.

d. Preparatory function (the propaedeutic function)
The preparatory function implies that the curriculum as an educational tool must be able to prepare students to continue their studies to the next level of education. In addition, the curriculum is also expected to be able to prepare students to be able to live in society if for some reason they cannot continue their education.

e. Selection Function (the selective function)
The selection function implies that the curriculum as an educational tool must be able to provide opportunities for students to choose study programs that suit their abilities and interests. This selection function is very closely related to the differentiation function, because the recognition of the existence of individual student differences also means that students are given the opportunity to choose what suits their interests and abilities. To realize these two functions, the curriculum needs to be structured more broadly and flexibly.

f. Diagnostic function (the diagnostic function)
The diagnostic function implies that the curriculum as an educational tool must be able to assist and direct students to be able to understand and accept their strengths (potential) and weaknesses. If students are able to understand the strengths and weaknesses that exist in them, it is hoped that students can develop their own potential strengths or improve their weaknesses. Muhammad Ansyar describes several functions of the curriculum as follows: • Curriculum

as a study guide. the meaning is a set of subjects that can be studied by students at school or in other educational institutions.

• curriculum as content. the meaning is data or information contained in class books without being equipped with other data or information that allows learning to arise.

• curriculum as a planned activity. the meaning is planned activities about things that will be taught successfully.

• curriculum as learning outcomes. the meaning is a complete set of goals to obtain a certain result without specifying the intended ways to obtain that result, or a set of planned and desired learning outcomes.

• curriculum as cultural reproduction. the meaning is the transfer and reflection of the cultural elements of the community, so that it is owned and understood by the children of the younger generation of the community.

• curriculum as a learning experience. the meaning is the whole learning experience planned under the school leadership.

• curriculum as production. the meaning is the task that must be done to achieve the results set beforehand.
Apart from the functions above, presenting the function of the curriculum with parties directly related to the school curriculum, namely teachers, principals, textbook writers, and the community: a

. Curriculum function for writers
The textbook writers should have studied the curriculum that was in effect at that time in advance. To make various subject matter and sub-topics, the textbook author should make an instructional analysis first. Then compile the Study Program Outlines (GBPP) for certain subjects, then various relevant materials. The source of these materials can be printed materials (books, papers, magazines, journals, newspapers, research results and so on), taken from sources, the author’s own experience or from the environment. Keep in mind that not all of these materials are written as study materials. What needs to be considered are the following criteria:

1. Materials should be pedagogical in nature, meaning that materials should contain normative matters.
2. The material should be psychological, meaning that the material written takes into account the psychology of the students who use it.
3. Materials are adapted to the attention, interests, needs, and development of the child’s soul.
4. The material should be arranged in a didatic manner, meaning that the written material can be organized in such a way that it is easy to teach.
5. Materials should be sociological in nature, meaning that materials should not be controversial with the condition of the surrounding community.
6. Materials should be juridical in nature, meaning that materials compiled should not conflict with the 1945 Constitution, the GBHN, the National Education System Law, Government Regulation No. 27m28,29, and 30. Likewise, the material does not conflict with other regulations.

b. The function of the curriculum for teachers
For new teachers, before teaching the first thing that needs to be questioned is the curriculum. after the curriculum is obtained, the next question is the Outlines of the Teaching Program. After the Outlines of the teaching program are found, then the teacher looks for various sources of materials that are relevant or have been determined by the Ministry of National Education. In accordance with its function that the curriculum is a tool for achieving educational goals, the teacher should pay close attention to the educational goals achieved by the educational institution where he works.
c. The function of the curriculum for school principals
For new school principals, the first thing to learn is the goals of the institution they will lead. Then look for the current curriculum to study, especially in the implementation manual. Furthermore, the task of the principal is to supervise the curriculum.
d. The function of the curriculum for the masses for the community
The curriculum must meet the needs of the surrounding community.

C. The Role of
Curriculum Curriculum in formal education in schools/madrasas has a very strategic role and determines the attainment of educational goals. . Oemar Hamalik (Rudi Susilana et al, 2006: 10-11) suggests that there are three roles that are considered very important, namely: (a) conservative role, (2) creative role, and (3) critical/evaluative role: a

. Conservative Role.
This role emphasizes that the curriculum is a means of transmitting past cultural heritage values ​​that are considered relevant to the present to the younger generation, in this case students. Thus, this conservative role essentially places the curriculum, which is oriented to the past. This role is very basic in nature, adapted to the fact that education is essentially a social process. One of the tasks of education is to influence and foster student behavior in accordance with the social values ​​that live in the community.

b. Creative Role.
This role emphasizes that the curriculum must be able to develop something new in accordance with developments that occur and the needs of society in the present and the future. The curriculum must contain things that can help every student develop all the potential that exists in him to gain new knowledge, new abilities, and new ways of thinking needed in his life.

c. Critical and Evaluative Roles.
This role is motivated by the fact that the values ​​and culture that live in society are constantly changing, so that the inheritance of past values ​​and culture to students needs to be adapted to the conditions that occur in the present. In addition, developments that occur in the present and in the future may not necessarily be in accordance with what is needed. Therefore, the role of the curriculum is not only to pass down existing values ​​and culture or apply the results of new developments that occur, but also has a role to assess and select values ​​and culture as well as new knowledge to be inherited. In this case, the curriculum must actively participate in social control or filter.

Of course, the three roles of the curriculum above must run in a balanced and harmonious manner in order to meet the demands of the situation. If not, there will be imbalances that cause the role of the school curriculum to not be optimal. Aligning the three roles of the curriculum is the responsibility of all parties involved in the education process, including teachers, principals, supervisors, parents, students and the community. Thus, the relevant parties can ideally understand exactly what is the purpose and content of the curriculum that is applied in accordance with their respective fields of work.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment