The Plural of Curriculum: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Have you ever sat down to type or write the plural of curriculum and realized you didn’t realize what the plural form of curriculum is in English? This article will not only cover the plural form but also cover the definition of curriculum, the history and origin of the word, how to use it correctly, synonyms, and examples of the word in context to help you fully understand the word.

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What is the Definition of the Word Curriculum

As Merriam-Webster phrases it:

  • The courses offered by an educational institution
    • The high school curriculum
  • A set of courses constituting an area of specialization 
    • The engineering curriculum
    • The biological sciences curriculum
    • The liberal arts curriculum

History and Origin of the Word

You can track the history of the word curriculum all the way back to the 1630s in universities in Scotland. It is a Latin word commonly used in the English language. Currere in Latin means run and currere is the next closest word in Latin which means to run a race, from those root words you have curriculum translated to English means “a running, course, career”. From there we got the current definition for courses at our university. This would be used to explain a course of study, commonly referred to as tracks at some colleges alongside the curriculum used to guide students down what to study.

Can you say curriculums?

When you move a Latin word to the American English language, you sometimes end up with more than one way to move the word to the plural form. Curriculum can either become curricula when you are referring to more than one curriculum. The common American English version is curriculums whereas the Latin plural is curricula. When you are writing an academic paper, the more traditional Latin counterpart is more accepted and traditionally used, however, both would be correct. 

What are the three types of curriculum?

When discussing curriculum, you can break it down to three common types of curriculum design – subject-centered, problem-centered, and learner-centered. 

There are benefits to each type of curriculum and which is best for each classroom depends on the subject being taught and also the learning style of each student. See below the list of the three types and benefits and drawbacks for each style

  • Subject-centered – centered around a subject like math, history, language. Can be easier for the teacher to prepare for this type of curriculum but isn’t as focused on the needs of the students in the classroom. 
  • Problem-centered – focuses on the problem solving of real-world issues. This is a more practical and genuine style of learning for skills and tasks. This model isn’t for all learners and some subject matters are better than others for this design.
  • Learner-centered – in this model the teacher focuses on each individual student and bases the style of teaching on how the student learns. This is great for the students and has lots of promising results but is very labor and potentially resource-intensive for the teachers using this type of curriculum. 

Synonyms

  • Educational program – a program made by an institution, college, or ministry of education which molds the learning progress of each class or subject in education 
  • Syllabus – a summary outline of a discourse, treatise, or course of study or of examination requirements
  • Module – any in a series of standardized units for use together such as an educational unit which covers a single subject or topic
  • Schedule – program, especially a procedural plan that indicates the time and sequence of each operation
  • Studies – application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge, such application in a particular field or to a specific subject (i.e. the study of Latin)
  • Subjects – a department of knowledge or learning
  • Program of studies – educational planning guide made to help guide students in their plans of studying

Examples of the Word in Context

  • History classes should be removed from the Illinois school curriculum and replaced with civics classes until textbooks can provide a more “accurate” picture of minorities’ contributions, Illinois Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago – Fox News
  • To prepare for schools to remain closed as the number of coronavirus cases rise, teachers and staff met Monday to design a curriculum on Google Classroom, a platform for teachers to distribute assignments and communicate with students, according to Kimberly Holbrook, whose five children attend public schools in the county. – Fox News
  • There is a growing chorus of math experts who recommend ways to bring America’s math curriculum into the 21st century to make it more reflective of what children in higher-performing countries learn. Some schools experiment with ways to make math more exciting, practical and inclusive. – USA Today
  • For starters, states fail to set high expectations with their curriculum standards, the SPLC research found. Jeffries’ team reviewed 15 sets of state standards and found most lacked details about slavery or its essential role to the American economy. – USA Today
  • The new curriculum, built on about 180 hours of instruction and projects, is designed to stretch out over the course of a school year, teaching app design using Swift, a programming language for Mac and iPhone operating systems, among others. Apple says several key mobile apps, including those for Airbnb, Kayak, Trip Advisor, Venmo and Yelp, were created with Swift. – USA Today
  • “You need to look at policies, you need to look at curriculum, you need to look at disciplinary practices, you need to look at simply educating everyone on what’s going on,” Kannan said. “You need to look at hiring. So I would say almost every aspect of what we need.” – USA Today
  • But the environmental education, food literacy curriculum, cooking, carpentry and entrepreneurial projects undertaken by Franzen and fellow teacher Brent Peters has transformed the high school experience, the high school senior told an audience of 45 local teachers Saturday. – USA Today