EDU 6989: Knowledge-Centered and Leaner-Centered Curriculum

The main component of knowledge-centered curricula states that the disciplines of knowledge should be the primary determiners of what is taught. (Glatthorn, Boschee, & Whitehead, 2009). To simply put it, the curriculum model strives to provide students with the necessary tools in order to succeed. Knowledge is given to the students through the visions of the higher educated individual – the teacher. This model typically follows a traditional and/or sequential setting.

Contrary to the knowledge-centered curricula, learner-centered curriculum focuses on the individuals as well as the individual’s dreams, goals, and interests (Ellis, 2004). The foundational cornerstone of a learner-centered curriculum is of individual growth and development (Ellis, 2004). The teacher’s role is to facilitate growth by utilizing the interests and needs of the students as a guiding measure for meaningful instructions. This does not mean that a learner-centered classroom environment is a “free for all”, the classroom environment is still goal based but based upon the interest of the individual students.

Ellis (2004) sums up the key components of knowledge and learner-centered curriculum through the chart listed below.

Chart 1

With definitions of knowledge-centered and leaner-centered curriculum identified, one may choose to take a look at their own philosophical classroom approach. The philosophy one has will drive their behavior; this is especially the case when it comes down to teaching styles. The teacher’s view of learning, students’ roles, and their own roles can determine which method is being used to teach. Simply looking at the types of activities created, layout of the class, how students learn with you, and how one prepares for class influences one’s own pedagogical approach (Teacher Vision, n.d.).

I believe that it is very important to know and understand both methods of knowledge and learner-centered curriculum. Furthermore, I believe that a teacher must possess the skills of knowledge through the emphasis of subject matter from academic disciplines as well as focusing on the individual. Having too narrow of a curriculum can inhibit student and at times teacher interest and creativity (Scheuerman, 2013)


Ellis, A. (2004). Exemplars of curriculum theory. Larchmont: NY, Eye on Education.

Glatthorn, A.A., Boschee, F., & Whitehead, B.M. (2009). Curriculum Leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. Thousand Oaks: CA, Sage Publications.

Scheuerman, R. (2013, March 27). EDU 6989 Course Lecture – Session 1: Curriculum and Instruction, school governance & professional associations/unions.

Teacher Vision. (n.d.) Retrieved from


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