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Curriculum

time, education, content, subjects, educational and changes

CURRICULUM, the term applied to a course of study, or collectively to that of any type of educational institutions, as the college curriculum, the high-school curriculum, the common-school curriculum, etc. The historical basis of the modern educational curriculum is found in the Seven Liberal Arts of the Middle Ages, which developed from Greek philosophical speculation and educational practices. As long as the idea of the symbolical perfection of this organization of studies and of human knowledge prevailed there was no modification of the form of the curriculum, though the content of these terms was modified from time to time. All lower education was included in the subject of the trivium, i.e., grammar, rhetoric and dialectic, which represented so many approaches to the Latin language. This was based on the work of the "singing school,p which furnished to the child the school arts (reading and writing), with a modicum of arithmetic. The curriculum of higher education included the subject of the quadrivium, i.e., arithmetic, geometry (mathe matics and geography), astronomy (natural sciences) and music (esthetic, etc.). The elab oration of the curriculum under the influences of the early universities and of the Renaissance consisted chiefly in the addition of the subjects of medicine and law, both common and civil, and in the change in the content of the subject of the quadrivium. These changes can be fol lowed in the successive papal rules and univer sity regulations which prescribed the books that should be read in the several subjects. From the time of the Renaissance to the close of the 18th century there was no modification in the organization of the educational curriculum and little in the content. From that time, however, the changes have been numerous and radical, and the old idea of the historical and logical perfection of the traditional curriculum has largely disappeared. In the United States,

where conditions permitted these changes with less opposition than in the more conservative societies, very extensive changes have occurred, and an almost chaotic condition has ensued. These changes have consisted primarily in the addition of new subjects to each of the stages of the curriculum, due to the great development of knowledge, especially scientific, during the 19th century. The curriculum of the elementary school has expanded in content from the three fundamental school arts until it now embraces from 12 to 15 subjects in half that many spheres of intellectual interests, and in time, from three or four years to eight and nine; the secondary curriculum has undergone no expulsion in time, perhaps a diminution, owing to the encroach ment of both the lower and the higher curricula, but has added so great a number of subjects that it deals in a preliminary way with almost all those included within the curriculum of college and university. The problem of curricu lum is twofold—that of content and that of organization. This twofold problem is now and long has been the chief topic of educational dis cussion in the United States. The matter has received extended study by American educators and has formed the subject of two important reports by committees appointed by the National Education Association.. Consult 'Reports of the National Education Association' (Washington 1865 et seq.) ; 'Proceedings of the National Ed ucation Association' ; Payne, 'Public Elemen tary School Curriculum' (Boston 1905) • Hen derson, 'Textbook in the Principles of Educa tion> (New York 1910) ; Ruediger, 'Principles of Education' (Boston 1910); Cubberley, 'Changing Conceptions of Education' (Boston 1909).