Mauritz Johnson's Schema for Curriculum
The ADPRIMA site presents this
curriculum schema as an example of serious thinking about curriculum that
transcends the time in which it was written. In the schema, Mauritz Johnson
provides one of the most elegant and powerful models for classifying information
relative to both curriculum and instruction. His Schema for Curriculum was first
presented in an article entitled "Definitions and Models in Curriculum Theory"
in Educational Theory, 17 (April, 1967), 127-140. It is still
perhaps one of the best taxonomies for classification of curriculum items. In a
sense, it goes beyond curriculum and delves boldly into areas that are concerned
with instruction, evaluation, and values. For those of you pursuing a doctoral
degree, especially in the area of curriculum, this framework can be a valuable
tool for deriving meaning from other sources. I came across it when I was just
beginning my career in education. In the intervening years, it has proven an
invaluable resource not only to me, but to many of the graduate students I have
taught. I sincerely hope you find the schema below to be useful, thought
provoking, and perhaps a catalyst for your own work in this field. Please send
Dr. Robert Kizlik
if you have any questions.
1. A curriculum is a
structured series of intended learning outcomes.
Corollary. Curriculum does not consist of planned learning experiences.
Corollary. Curriculum is not a system but the output of one system and an input
1.1 Learning outcomes consist of three classes:
1.111 Facts: items of verifiable information
1.112 Concepts: mental constructs epitomizing facts about particular referents
1.113 Generalizations: (including laws, principles, rules) statements of
relationship among two or more concepts
1.12 Techniques (processes, skills, abilities)
1.121 Cognitive: methods of operating on knowledge intellectually
1.122 Psycho-motor: methods of manipulating the body and material things
effectively with respect to purposes
1.13 Values (affects)
1.131 Norms: societal prescriptions and preferences regarding belief and conduct
1.132 Predilections: individual preferential dispositions (attitudes, interests,
1.2 Whenever a curriculum is used in instruction, the intention (to achieve
the outcomes) is implicit regardless of the curriculum's origin or sanction.
2. Selection is an essential aspect of curriculum formulation.
2.1 The source from which curriculum is selected is the available culture.
Corollary. Societal problems and the needs and interests of children are not
sources of curriculum.
2.11 Modern communication makes available cultural content that is not
indigenous to the society in which the curriculum is formulated.
2.12 Some indigenous cultural content may be unavailable due to the secrecy of
those in possession of it.
2.2 Cultural content available for curriculum is of two types: disciplinary
2.21 The content embodied in organized disciplines is derived from systematic
inquiry conducted within a framework of assumptions and procedures accepted by
scholars competent to conduct such inquiry.
2.22 Non-disciplinary content is derived empirically from experience other than
2.3 Various criteria may govern the selection of curriculum from available
2.31 The only necessary, albeit insufficient, criterion for curriculum selection
is that the content be teachable.
2.311 Teachability implies learnability, but the converse does not necessarily
2.312 Cultural content is teachable if the learning of it by one person can be
facilitated by direct or remote interaction with another person.
2.313 Teaching is the process by which one person interacts with another with
the intention of influencing his learning.
2.313.1 There can be teaching where there is no learning.
2.313.2 There can be learning without teaching.
2.314 Learning is the process by which an individual invests
cultural content with meaning, thereby becoming capable of acting differently
toward that item, or another item, of cultural content.
Corollary. Learning does not necessarily change behavior, but it changes the
potential for behavior.
2.314.1 Learning can be detected only by contriving a situation in which a
change in behavior can be manifested.
2.314.2 Learning is independent of any demonstration of its occurrence.
2.315 Cultural content is learnable if meaning can be perceived in it.
2.315.1 Cultural content has meaning for an individual to the extent that he
recognizes appropriate rules by which his actions toward it may be governed.
2.315.2 Meanings may be symbolic, empiric, esthetic, ethic, synoetic, or
synoptic. (Phenix, 1964.)
2.32 Ideology determines what additional criteria are imposed in curriculum
2.321 A given society may demand that curriculum be selected in conformity with
a specified set of political, social, economic, or moral values.
2.322 Curriculum content may be selected with regard to its utility in the
social order or in the present or anticipated life situations of learners.
2.323 Curriculum content may be selected with regard to its significance in the
structure of intellectual disciplines.
2.33 The basis of curriculum selection differs for training and for education.
2.331 Training is the process of preparing an individual to perform defined
functions in a predictable situation.
2.332 Education is the process of equipping an individual to perform undefined
functions in unpredictable situations.
2.333 The selection of curriculum content for training is based on an analysis
of the specific functions to be performed and the specific situation in which
they are to be performed.
2.334 The selection of curriculum content for education is based on its having
the widest possible significance and greatest possible explanatory power.
2.34 The selection of some curriculum items necessitates the selection of
2.341 A set of closely related items is a curriculum cluster.
2.342 A curriculum cluster may consist of one type or mixed types of curriculum
3. Structure is an essential characteristic of curriculum.
3.1 Curriculum structure reveals orderings that are mandatory for instruction.
3.11 The ordering of some curriculum items is indifferent.
3.12 The ordering of some curriculum clusters determines the gross ordering of
constituent items, but not their internal order.
3.13 Some curriculum clusters are ordered internally.
3.14 Curriculum ordering disregards instructional temporal spacing (grade or age
3.2 Curriculum structure reveals taxonomic (hierarchical) relationships,
whether or not order of items is significant.
4. Curriculum guides instruction.
4.1 Instruction is the interaction between a
teaching agent and one or more individuals intending to learn.
4.2 Instruction engages intended learners in activities with cultural content.
4.21 The teaching agent influences the activities of those intending to learn.
4.22 The range of appropriate instructional activities is limited by the type of
4.23 Instructional content includes both curricular and instrumental content.
4.231 Curricular content is that cultural content explicitly intended to be
4.232 Instrumental content is optional cultural content introduced into the
instructional situation, not to be learned but to facilitate the intended
4.24 Instructional planning consists of the selection and ordering of
instructional activities and instrumental content on the basis of curriculum.
4.25 A learning experience is the subjective concomitant of activities with
instructional content on the part of an individual engaging in them.
4.3 Instruction is episodic.
4.31 An instructional episode
consists of a series of teaching cycles relevant to one or more curriculum
4.311 A teaching cycle involves perception, diagnosis, and action or reaction by
a teaching agent and intended learners.
4.312 Teaching cycles are initiated by structuring or soliciting moves.
4.313 Teaching cycles include reflexive response or reaction movers.
4.314 Actions and reactions in teaching cycles are linguistic, performative, or
4.32 Several instructional episodes may relate to the same curriculum item, just
as a given instructional episode may relate to a number of curriculum items.
5. Curriculum evaluation involves validation of both selection and
5.1 Empirical evidence based on instruction can identify structural errors
and omissions in selection.
5.2 Judgmental and consensual methods are required to validate priorities and
identify superfluities in selection.
6. Curriculum is the criterion for instructional evaluation.
6.1 The effectiveness of instruction is represented by the
extent to which actual outcomes correspond with intended outcomes.
6.2 Comparisons among instructional plans and among instructors using the same
instructional plan can be made only in terms of a given curriculum.
"Anything not understood in more
than one way is not understood at all."
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Robert Kizlik &