Select Page

3 Effective Curriculum Types To Help You Plan And Teach

3 · 04 · 23

Teaching is an art that requires special expertise from teachers and educators. Teachers cannot be effective in the delivery of lessons if not well-planned. In order to have an effective learning outcome, a well-developed curriculum is an indispensable teaching strategy. Knowing how to align the three curriculum types for expected learning outcomes is a vital step. To determine a learning outcome, stakeholders come together to craft and plan for guided learning experiences. 

According to the Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Curriculum program on coursera, 

“The planned and guided learning experiences are intended outcomes, formulated through the systematic reconstruction of knowledge and experiences, under the auspices of the school, for the learner’s continuous and willful growth in personal-social competence” 

These total guided learning experiences are designed to facilitate learners learning to establish a quality relationship between what is learned and what operates outside the school. An effective curriculum provides teachers and students with a plan for delivering quality education.

It is very important that teachers understand the three types of curriculum as highlighted in the course. 

These include

  1. Formal
  2. Informal
  3. Hidden

1. Formal type of curriculum

The formal type of curriculum is real because it is already planned, and given in the form of subjects with details outlined in the form of a syllabus. Informal goes beyond the formal curriculum in the sense that it involves students participating in extracurricular activities. On the other hand, hidden curriculum refers to unwritten, unofficial lessons, values, and views that students learn in school.

It is imperative that a teacher takes into account all three types of curriculum in both planning and teaching. One type is not enough to bring out the best in the students thus all three should go hand in hand. 

2. Informal type of curriculum

Formal which is given to teachers as a framework to follow might not allow teachers to be creative as it is already structured and planned. When a teacher supplements a formal curriculum with the informal type, more room is created for individual initiatives beyond the formal. This expands on the advantages of formal. 

In addition, when teachers integrate the informal curriculum into their teachings, it helps those students who lag behind when only formal is used to comprehend better. This, therefore, helps in enhancing the content of the formal curriculum. Creativity which is limited in the formal is thus better incorporated in the informal curriculum.


3.  Hidden type of curriculum

Hidden takes a teacher’s creativity to the highest level. As written by Professor Bernhard Nickel, the hidden form of curriculum comes with a lot of takeaways. These include

Reversal of roles

This helps establish understanding. The reversal of roles involves asking students to do certain things that teachers will normally do. An example is what is obtainable in coursera with peer grading.

Verbal communication and visuals 

This helps in identification. For instance, some teachers could decide to dress like their students. This will make the students relate more freely with the teacher.

Through the hidden curriculum, we teach the kids punctuality, and obedience to authority, and produce changes in student values, perceptions, and behaviors. Teachers who understand the hidden curriculum and leverage it can even have more impact on their students.  A student sometimes forgets lessons or topics taught by his or her teacher but the effect of the hidden curriculum still remains in his or her mind.


It is a very powerful strategy to incorporate all three types of the curriculum – Formal, Informal, and Hidden for effective lesson planning and teaching. This will help you meet the needs of all the different learners in the classroom. They will work best for you if you have discovered your higher purpose for teaching.


Lecture slides: week 1 and 2 Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Curriculum Offered By Commonwealth Education Trust On Coursera

The hidden curriculum: Engaging students on another level

Pls, Note: This is an edited copy of an assignment I passed in a Coursera course.

Like this? Read More…

Recent Posts

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

About the Author

Nwamaka Ihentuge

Have a Comment? Share it below!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *