Teaching, learning and assessment are aspects of the curriculum for which lecturers take responsibility. Having a shared understanding of these aspects is important. Definitions of these aspects are given below:
Teaching can be defined as engagement with learners to enable their understanding and application of knowledge, concepts and processes. It includes design, content selection, delivery, assessment and reflection.
To teach is to engage students in learning; thus teaching consists of getting students involved in the active construction of knowledge. A teacher requires not only knowledge of subject matter, but knowledge of how students learn and how to transform them into active learners. Good teaching, then, requires a commitment to systematic understanding of learning. The aim of teaching is not only to transmit information, but also to transform students from passive recipients of other people's knowledge into active constructors of their own and others' knowledge. The teacher cannot transform without the student's active participation, of course. Teaching is fundamentally about creating the pedagogical, social, and ethical conditions under which students agree to take charge of their own learning, individually and collectively.
[ Education for judgment: The artistry of discussion leadership. Edited by C. Roland Christensen, David A. Garvin, and Ann Sweet. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School, 1991. ]
Learning can be defined as the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Learning is about what students do, not about what we as teachers do.
Assessment is defined as the act of judging the amount of learning that took place as a result of learning and teaching.
According to the UNESCO website, curriculum has various meanings and can be envisaged from different perspectives. The following description is useful:
What societies envisage as important teaching and learning constitutes the "intended" curriculum. Since it is usually presented in official documents, it may be also called the "written" and/or "official" curriculum. However, at classroom level this intended curriculum may be altered through a range of complex classroom interactions, and what is actually delivered can be considered the "implemented" curriculum. What learners really learn (i.e. what can be assessed and can be demonstrated as learning outcomes/learner competencies) constitutes the "achieved" or "learned" curriculum. In addition, curriculum theory points to a "hidden" curriculum (i.e. the unintended development of personal values and beliefs of learners, teachers and communities; unexpected impact of a curriculum; unforeseen aspects of a learning process). Those who develop the intended curriculum should have all these different dimensions of the curriculum in view. While the "written" curriculum does not exhaust the meaning of curriculum, it is important because it represents the vision of the society. The "written" curriculum should therefore be expressed in comprehensive and user-friendly documents, such as curriculum frameworks; subject curricula/syllabuses, and in relevant and helpful learning materials, such as textbooks; teacher guides; assessment guides.
In some cases, people see the curriculum entirely in terms of the subjects that are taught, and as set out within the set of textbooks, and forget the wider goals of competencies and personal development. This is why a curriculum framework is important. It sets the subjects within this wider context, and shows how learning experiences within the subjects need to contribute to the attainment of the wider goals.
All these documents and the issues they refer to form a "curriculum system". Given their guiding function for education agents and stakeholders, clear, inspired and motivational curriculum documents and materials play an important role in ensuring education quality. The involvement of stakeholders (including and especially teachers), in the development of the written curriculum is of paramount importance for ensuring ownership and sustainability of curriculum processes.
Another term that might become part of the discourse when these elements are discussed, is 'pedagogy'. This term refers to the methods and activities of the practice of teaching.