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Glossary of Curriculum Terminology

The IBE has compiled a Glossary of Curriculum Terminology offering definitions for over 180 terms related to the curriculum. It is also intended to be a working reference tool for specialists, educators and practitioners.

In many countries around the world the curriculum is increasingly viewed as laying the foundation for comprehensive educational reforms aimed at achieving quality learning outcomes. Contemporary curriculum development processes more frequently involve public discussion and consultation with a range of stakeholders, and the curriculum is progressively evolving into a topic of debate engaging policy-makers, experts, practitioners, and society at large.

Curriculum terminology is no longer only used by specialists in this field who are aware of all the complexities involved, and this may generate confusion and misinterpretation. Many curriculum-related terms are frequently used interchangeably even if they refer to different concepts and, depending on the context, the same term may be understood in many different ways by various stakeholders. An example is the diversity of definitions for the term ‘curriculum’, a word that in many national languages does not even exist.

The main purpose of the UNESCO IBE Glossary of curriculum-related terminology is not to establish standard universally applicable definitions. Rather, it is intended to be a working reference tool that can be used in a range of activities and help to stimulate reflection among all those involved in curriculum development initiatives. Given the strong connection between concepts and practice, such a Glossary may contribute to productive refl ection within national education systems, as well as regional and international contexts, on the role of curriculum terminology in promoting meaningful improvements.