In my response to our tour of School x the other day, I’d like to focus on the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is made up of the lessons that children are taught not through the formal content of the lessons, but instead through the unspoken and unspoken rules and expectations that underlie daily life in the school and its classrooms. For instance, as described in the reading by Good and Brophy, teachers may have different behavioral and academic expectations for students based on certain prejudices associated with students’ clothing, sex and gender, race, etc. Similarly, as described in the Anyon article, teachers may allow students varying degrees of intellectual freedom based on the socio-economic class of their students’ parents. The hidden curriculum can also include things such as the architecture of the buildings, the nature of the displays on the walls, discipline policies, etc.
Much of what the students learn at School x is conveyed through the hidden curriculum. While some of the teachers (such as Ms. X) may try to be positive and encouraging to their students, I wonder how effective this can be given the hidden curriculum of the school itself. Also, despite Ms. X’s obvious affection, hard work, and efforts to promote the academic achievement of her students, I think there are certain lessons and beliefs she communicates to her students that might impact their academic performance.
Did you see anything at School x and in her behavior that could be considered part of the hidden curriculum? If so, how might these things affect the students now and in their future as civic beings in a democratic society?
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This post was written by Heather Voke on September 15, 2007