The term ‘Curriculum’ is often incorrectly interpreted as just the intentional education agenda of a school. Curriculum comprises the totality of knowledge that is communicated to students during their experience at school. Knowledge and ideas which formulate the curriculum is delivered in schools through the implicit, hidden and null curriculum, (Churchill et al. 2011: 174-175). This essay will discuss how educators can provide an engaging curriculum that is equally advantageous to all students, and addresses significant areas of knowledge through socially relevant conduct. Curriculum is formulated so that a variety of chosen key subjects are taught and some, purposefully rejected. The content of curriculum is carefully selected and organised, based on certain ideological values and understandings of today’s society. This creates limitations for academic potential, causing students to be at a disadvantage of achieving, (Apple, 2004: 4). With a variety of diverse learners and cultures in schools, it is evident that the curriculum does not engage all students in learning, given its current educational settings. An example of this disadvantage to students involves the abandonment of expressive, creative and social skills of various cultures, (Ross, 2000: 8). Students cannot be expected to engage in the set curriculum then evaluated against the set criteria to measure their “success”, (Apple, 2004: 6). Educators must explore methods to engage disadvantaged students in the curriculum. According to Joseph (2000: 7), teachers should recognise and emphasise the students’ creative aspects reflecting their culture and encourage them to express their understanding through dance, art or music. Therefore, if educators acknowledge values and qualities of various students’ cultures, the curriculum will become socially relevant and create advantages to disadvantaged students. For curriculum to be understood, educators must explore social relevant techniques to teach. Churchill et al. (2011: 146), states that “learning is hindered by teachers not meeting the individual’s needs.” To achieve highly-equitable outcomes in schools, teachers must consider the true power of the hidden curriculum by constructing learning environments that reinforce the value of student participation and inclusion, (Churchill et al, 2011: 145). With an ever changing social society, educators should be highlighting the importance of social studies within the curriculum. According to Dewey (1902: 6-10), The curriculum stays unchanged in modern times however, students will further engage in the curriculum if the delivery and nature of work is changed to a more social relevant approach. Historical aspects of the curriculum can still be studied with students achieving optimal results, as long as the nature of work and social circumstances reflect that of the students’ in today’s society. With an increased emphasis on importance of academic knowledge due to a revolutionizing economy, many students are left behind at a disadvantage of learning, (Dewey, 1902: 6-10). Consequently, it is up to the educators to prioritize areas of knowledge in curriculum in a way that it is socially relevant to students. In conclusion, students can be positioned at a disadvantage depending on their engagement in the implicit, hidden and null curriculum. Through an increase of value of creative and social knowledge, disadvantaged students will understand and become involved in the dominating knowledge areas. It is the educator’s role to engage the learners by conducting a socially relevant approach to education.
Churchill, R, et al. 2011, Teaching: making a difference, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Queensland, Australia. Apple, M, 2004, Ideology and Curriculum: On Analysing Hegemony, 3rd edn, pp. 6, viewed March 11, 2012 http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cgYsYjwhv3EC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=curriculum&ots=mJ5C_OasEK&sig=u6BLrYz_r4Llanpq_C-FV4DLHqM#v=onepage&q=curriculum&f=false Dewey, J, 1902, The Child and the Curriculum, Including the School and Society, pp.6-10, viewed 11 March, 2012 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=wPkJs-HxwbAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=curriculum+and+society&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7HZeT_GLA6qtiAeR17nMDQ&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=curriculum%20and%20society&f=false Joseph, P, 2000, Cultures of Curriculum: Preface, 2nd edn, pp. 7, viewed March 11 2012 http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XCHFERcWKQEC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=curriculum+and+culture&ots=GW2pxtLQWK&sig=N90gNIdKg4E8XovJMy2Jl4cjwU0#v=onepage&q=curriculum%20and%20culture&f=false Ross, A, 2000, Curriculum: Construction and Critique, What is Curriculum?, pp. 8, viewed March 11, 2012