Difference Between Curriculum & Instruction

Curriculum is a concept that has gained a lot of importance these days. It happens to be the ‘what’ of education as the entire edifice of the educations system is based upon the curriculum or what is going to be taught to students in schools and colleges in particular fields of study at different levels. There is another word called instruction that seems to be very simple as it refers to teaching methods and styles. Instruction is the how of the system of education, as a curriculum, howsoever good it may be, is ultimately dependent upon how it is delivered to the students. There are obvious differences between curriculum and instruction that will be highlighted in this article.

Key Takeaways

  • Curriculum is the content of the course that has to be taught by the teachers in a particular manner.
  • Instruction is the method or way of teaching to students, and is in control of the teachers or the instructors.
  • Designing a curriculum without considering the instructional aspect can lead to disastrous results.

What is a Curriculum?

Curriculum is a very broad based concept that different educators and teachers choose to define differently. There is a consensus, however, that it is the content of the course that has to be taught by the teachers in a particular manner that forms the curriculum in a course of study. The content of a course is decided by the authorities who are ultimately bound by the policies of the government and the legislation passed by the government in this regard. Teacher is the medium through which a curriculum gets delivered in the manner in which it is intended.

Curriculum is provided to teachers in the form of text. It is a roadmap, a guide as to what to deliver to the students and in what manner. The speed at which a teacher has to go to let the students absorb the content of the course in an optimum manner is also provided along with the curriculum. All the subjects that comprise a course according to a grade in a school are collectively referred to as curriculum. It is like the skeleton or the framework of a structure that defines what is to be taught to the students.

What is Instruction?

Instruction is the method or way of teaching to students. This is one part of education that is in control of the teachers or the instructors. Teachers decide the how part of education as they are responsible for imparting all the knowledge that has been decided based upon the curriculum. Instruction is always dependent upon the teaching skills and the professional attitude of the teachers. A teacher has to make the best use of his instructional abilities to take the curriculum to the students. He is the best judge as to how to deliver instructions in the best possible manner keeping in mind the abilities of different students of his class.

While it is true that even the best of curriculum is nothing if the teacher is not able to give clear cut instructions, it has been seen that educators often design curriculum without consulting teachers or without taking into account their instructional abilities. Often teachers blame the curriculum while there are also instances where educators blame teachers for not providing instructions in the desired manner.

What is the difference between Curriculum and Instruction?

  • Curriculum is the design, the framework of education and refers to all the subjects that make up for a course of study according to a grade in school or college.
  • Instruction is how teachers deliver the curriculum to the students.
  • Designing curriculum in isolation without taking into account instruction part of education can lead to disastrous results.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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