What Is the Definition of Traditional Curriculum?

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A traditional curriculum typically involves a teacher conveying facts to students. The curriculum focuses on a specific body of knowledge to be transmitted to students and relies heavily on memorization and drilling of facts and formulas. Education systems founded on traditional curricula often focus solely on the subject matter being taught and favor measurement of educational objectives via a great deal of testing.

Traditional curricula may include transmission of moral standards, social conduct and skills which educators consider important for students to learn. Students are typically expected to learn what they are taught without questioning it. Traditional pedagogy involves a teacher lecturing students and students repeating what they have memorized, then being tested on it. Following a traditional curriculum, all students are taught the same content in the same time frame, with no adjustments made for students who have difficulty with the material or for those who find the material easy and are ready to move on ahead of the rest of the class.

Some educators object to traditional curriculum’s focus on facts divorced from any real-world application or use of the facts learned. They believe that traditional teaching methods and curricula do not allow students to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.