Envisioning curriculum as six simultaneities


  • Hanin Binte Hussain University of Canterbury
  • Lindsey Conner University of Canterbury
  • Elaine Mayo




This paper uses the discourse of complexity thinking to envision curriculum as six partial and coupled facets that exist simultaneously: curriculum as structure, curriculum as process, curriculum as content, curriculum as teaching, curriculum as learning and curriculum as activity.  Such a curriculum is emergent and self-organising.  It is emergent in two ways: (1) in its deliberate intention to foster new learning, activities and teaching without knowing or dictating exactly what will emerge, and (2) in the sense that curriculum is an ever-evolving reality that is brought forth in the ongoing interactions of the six coupled facets.  A self-organising curriculum enables a teacher to create ‘a space for running’ and foster ‘interactive running in that space’ to meaningfully honour both the requirements set by authorities and the interests of children and teachers, rather than a pre-determined curriculum.  This model of curriculum was developed and is discussed in the context of the early childhood curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Author Biographies

Hanin Binte Hussain, University of Canterbury

Hanin has taught physical education at primary level and physically active play in early childhood.  She is the senior teacher at the Early Years Care and Education, University of Canterbury.  She oversees the curriculum development of the university’s two early childhood centres, and supports the teachers in their professional development.  Her contact details can be found on her website at http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/spark/Researcher.aspx?researcherid=3767923.

Lindsey Conner, University of Canterbury

Lindsey is Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor of College of Education at University of Canterbury. She has been a science teacher educator for 16 years and worked on a number of collaborative projects to enhance the teaching of science, in socio-scientific issues, futures education and for the professional development of teachers to lead learning. Her weblink is http://www.education.canterbury.ac.nz/edstudies/people/conner.shtml.

Elaine Mayo

At the time of writing Elaine was a Senior Lecturer in the College of Education, University of Canterbury. Her recent teaching and research interests have revolved around developing communities of learners within educational settings, fostering praxis-based research into teaching and teacher education, and investigating the relevance of complexity and neo-pragmatic theory.  Now retired, she is continuing this work in the community as a volunteer.






Research Articles