Subject-centered curriculum - American Education
A rigid curriculum, based on specific courses, which mandates specific amounts of material to be covered over specific periods of time—regardless of student abilities or interests. Also known as scholiocentric curricula, such subject-centered curricula assign the greatest importance to the subject matter rather than to the students. A student’s failure to absorb the required material to an acceptable degree results in his or her retention. Although they were the traditional approach to education for several centuries, subject-centered curricula have gradually been modified and blended with a more child-centered approach to education, particularly when progressive education was introduced in the late 1800s.
Few elementary schools remain subjectcentered, forcing their students to concentrate for an extended period on a single subject, before proceeding to the next subject. Younger children simply do not have the attention span to absorb any single body of material— for example, mathematics—beyond a specific amount of time. Indeed, the most academically successful elementary schools tend to present an amorphous, child-centered approach to learning during the elementary years. In such schools, all materials are presented on the basis of student interest and then are used as springboards to learning such traditional subjects as reading, writing, computation, history and science. A class might embark on a cooking project, but, in the course of what might seem like merely an amusing project, they would learn measuring, arithmetic, reading (from recipes), chemistry and perhaps even some social studies, depending on the origin of the recipe.
Secondary school education continues to be relatively subject-centered, especially for college-bound students. Most colleges require their applicants to have studied a core curriculum of English, mathematics, a foreign language, social studies and the sciences to gain admission to the school. The absolute coverage of each subject, however, and the specific ways in which it is taught, including textbooks and other materials, are usually flexible enough to adapt to the abilities and interests of students, and it is rare to see graduates of different secondary schools who have studied identical materials in every subject. (See also EDUCATION.)