Is Curriculum Overloading Affecting Students?

Education News | Feb-28-2022

Curriculum Overloading  Affecting Students

Overload has been defined as too great a load (Webster) or an excessive load (Collins). Curriculum overload hints at some imbalance or incongruity between our capacity to enact or activate a curriculum that itself is perceived as overloaded. The issue of curriculum overload affects not just teachers but also children. So, is curriculum overloading affecting students?

What Is the Curriculum Overloading?

Curriculum overload, also known as “curriculum expansion” or “curriculum overcrowding”, occurs when society keeps adding new topics to the school’s curriculum, without removing others or changing the requirements. Teachers and students experience curriculum overload as unwanted because it affects the quality of teaching and learning and results in a superficial exposure to subjects.

Curriculum overloading is the practice of a student packing too many classes, subjects, projects, and extracurricular activities into their academic calendar. It happens when there is more material in the course than the students can potentially learn and remember in the allotted time. This phenomenon can take several different forms, like an excessive amount of homework, too many tests, or an unreal expectation to grasp a wide variety of ideas and abilities at the same time.

Students may be cognitively competent in finishing assignments but have so much on their plate that they feel stuffed, get trapped, and end up finishing nothing. A new study has dropped some light on the grounds behind this feeling and shows that overfilling students causes not only academic stress, but also takes a charge on students' mental and physical health, which, predictably, hinders learning. The study, led by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College, shows that “although students who spend more time doing homework are sometimes more behaviourally engaged in school, they also tend to be more anxious, and report more physical symptoms due to stress.” One message of these circumstances is that both the teacher and the child have lost the sense of joy in an educational process. This kind of class size reasonably generates a feeling of powerlessness among teachers.

Learning for the sake of being examined in an emotionless manner takes away the joy of being young, and delinks school knowledge from everyday experience. Teachers and administrators and other agencies involved in the design of syllabi and textbooks and examination reform should make rational choices and decisions. There is a need to develop and implement innovative, locale-specific programs. There should be a major change in the designing of syllabi and textbooks which places stress on children to become aggressively competitive and exhibit precocity. To make teaching a means of harnessing the child’s creative nature it is recommended to bring a fundamental change in the matter of organizing the school curriculum, and also in the system of examination, which forces children to memorize information and to reproduce it. To conquer the challenge of finding extra time in the primary school curriculum for literacy and numeracy, a more imaginative, incorporated approach is required for the teaching of certain subjects. eg. educate aspects of numeracy through Geography and Science. Some aspects of subjects such as History, English, Health Education can be taught through the medium of Drama, which is a highly effective approach

Sometimes schools pack a lot of subjects, themes, and extracurricular activities into their curricula in an effort to offer a well-rounded schooling. But this strategy makes one wonder about curriculum overloading, a state in which kids are supposed to juggle a lot of obligations and absorb a tonne of knowledge. While legislators and educators struggle with the intricacies of curriculum design, it is critical to look into the effects of curriculum overloading on children and look for ways to strike a balance between academic rigour and student welfare.

The Ten Ways Overly Extensive Curriculum Affects Students

Let’s see how is curriculum overloading affecting students:

More stress and anxiety: Students who are overworked frequently feel more stressed and anxious, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental health.

Inadequate Learning: Students who are overburdened may find it difficult to comprehend something in its entirety and may instead depend on memorization and surface-level education.

Decreased Motivation: Students who feel overworked and lose interest in the subject matter may become disengaged and unmotivated by a too rigorous curriculum.

Compromised Extracurricular Involvement: Students may not develop as well overall if an excessively demanding curriculum makes them give up sports, hobbies, or extracurricular activities.

Burnout and Fatigue: Attempts to maintain an excessive workload all the time can wear one out both physically and mentally, which can have long-term negative effects on health.

Narrowed Focus: Students that try to balance their workload may give some subjects more weight than others, which could result in their missing out on important learning opportunities in those areas. Presenting material could come before critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.

Less Family Time: Students may have little opportunity for meaningful family time and leisure activities when a very rigorous curriculum snoops on their personal time.

Increasing Dependency on Outside Help: To meet the demands of an overcrowded curriculum, students may excessively rely on tutors, study groups, or parental help, which could impede their ability to develop autonomous learning skills.

Limited Career Options: Students face the danger of unintentionally reducing their exposure to a variety of professional routes and possible interests if they concentrate too heavily on particular courses or industries.

Conversely, it is critical to recognise that a demanding curriculum can benefit Students in areas like greater resilience, academic achievement, and becoming ready for future pursuits.

Benefits Of Curriculum Overloading

So, if curriculum overloading affecting students, let’s learn how it benefits them.

Reinforcement and Deeper Understanding: Well-planned subject overlap can help students understand concepts better. For example, in physics, examining proportions and in mathematics, fractions, can help to reinforce the idea in both disciplines. Better connections in the brain and longer-term retention follow.

Content linkages: Students can see the larger picture when a curriculum emphasises the connections between content from other disciplines. Entire educational experiences are offered by the application of scientific concepts in engineering courses or historical event overlap in geography and literature courses.

Improving Critical Thought Processes: Students are prompted to examine and mix material when ideas are presented from several angles. It takes this ability for critical thinking to traverse the intricacy of the actual world and generate well-informed views.

Prepare for Standardised Exams: Standardised exams are a common way to assess a wide variety of knowledge. A broader curriculum can help Students be more ready for these tests.

Still, these advantages call for moderation in application. This explains the possible drawbacks of an excessive curriculum:

Packed with material in too little time, kids risk becoming overwhelmed. Repetition gone wrong and the poor understanding that it progressively damages long-term memory. Students can feel unduly upset and nervous when there is pressure on them to cover a lot. They may therefore suffer in terms of their general health, desire to learn, and eventually academic performance.

Teachers may not have enough time for project-based learning, in-depth research, or debates given the amount of material they have to teach. Through these exercises, critical thinking, originality, and problem-solving abilities are promoted.

Students that are overloaded with material may become bored and completely lose interest in studying. Disengagement and absence may also increase as a result, as may general academic motivation.

Approaching the Ideal Harmony

Is curricular overload in such a situation always a bad idea? Well, it depends on that response. When appropriately managed curriculum overlap can improve learning. Obviously, though, overloading students with knowledge has drawbacks. You can attain the ideal equilibrium in this way:

  • Core Ideas Importance: Give importance to fundamental ideas and make room for more study and application rather than trying to cover everything.
  • Connect Learning Specific to Subjects: Discipline overlap will improve understanding and highlight the interdependence of information.
  • Combine with Active Learning Strategies Give projects, conversations, and problem-solving activities more weight as active learning techniques than memorization by rote.
  • First Priority Should be the Welfare of the Students: Recognise that a demanding course load can cause stress and worry. Make the people in your immediate vicinity encouraging of your intellectual aspirations as well as your wellbeing and mental health.

The Art of Avoiding Curriculum Overload

Regularly examine the curriculum to find areas of duplication or redundancy that may be simplified or eliminated.

Give Fundamental Ideas and Needed Skills as Highest priority: Concentrate on fully grasping these topics rather than trying to cover too much ground.

Include Student Voices: Get student opinions and recommendations all along the curriculum development process to make sure that their interests and needs are met.

Support Multidisciplinary Education:

Acknowledge Experiential Education: Including practical, project-based learning activities that let students use what they have learnt in practical situations will help to boost engagement and memory. Give students the chance to work together, exchange knowledge, and help one another understand difficult ideas.

Make the Most of Educational Technology: Realise how much it can improve learning, provide individualised instruction, and simplify administrative work.

Offer Teachers the Professional Development Resources and Tools:  They Need to Handle Curriculum Demands, Differentiate Instruction, and Use Time Management Techniques.

Promote Individualised Learning Pathways: Consider ways to customise educational opportunities to meet the requirements, interests, and learning preferences of each student, therefore offering a more customised approach to curriculum delivery.

Stress Work-Life Balance: By encouraging Students to strike a good balance between their personal and academic lives, you may be able to help them look for themselves and their general health.

To guarantee the best possible learning environment, regularly assess student involvement, performance, and well-being and adjust the curriculum as needed. Talk with parents, teachers, and community members about curriculum development and execution to guarantee a collaborative and friendly approach.


There has to be a well-considered answer for the complicated question of Is curriculum overloading affecting students. A too demanding curriculum can be harmful to kids' general development, learning outcomes, and well-being even if it can help them excel academically and be prepared for future undertakings. Teachers who establish guidelines to streamline curriculum, highlight key ideas and skills, and encourage individualised learning opportunities can foster student development and a love of learning. The optimal balance between academic rigour and student well-being must eventually be reached to guarantee that students not only study but also acquire the resilience and abilities needed for success throughout life.

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