What is 'hidden curriculum'?

Topics: Education, College, Curriculum Pages: 5 (1471 words) Published: May 29, 2003
'Every school has two curricula. One is the open curriculum, which we are already familiar with. The other curriculum, the hidden one, often has the greatest impact on an adolescent boy or girl. It is the hidden curriculum that molds self-esteem, aids or hinders confident social development, that helps make high school a time of pleasant memories, or turns the high school experience into an ordeal.' (Ruby Ausbrooks, Ed.D.)


The phrase 'hidden curriculum' was coined by Brian Jackson in 1968 to draw attention to the idea that schools do more than simply aid the transmission of knowledge between one generation and the next. The concept of the 'hidden' curriculum is very ambiguous. The hidden curriculum may be viewed as covert, unintended, implicit, or simply unacknowledged. Most sociologists use the term to refer to the various characteristics of schooling that are unquestioned or 'taken for granted'.

Brian Jackson argues that we need to understand "education" as a socialization process. That is, a process that involves the transmission of norms and values as well as a body of socially approved knowledge. Therefore, the basic idea behind the concept of the hidden curriculum, pupils learn things that are not actually taught in the formal curriculum. If students want to succeed within the education system, have to "learn how to learn". That is, they have to learn to conform not just to the formal rules of the school but also to the informal rules, beliefs and attitudes perpetuated through the socialization process. If we wish to provide pupils with an enriching, positive experience of education, we must be alert to the power of the "hidden curriculum". The hidden curriculum refers to those practices and outcomes of schooling, which, while not explicit in curriculum guides or school policy, nevertheless seem to be a regular and effective part of the school experience.

Formal curriculum planning procedures, and the hidden curriculum, which is not ordinarily addressed through regular curriculum planning but which nevertheless influences what and how students learn. It concerned with the socialization of the young. It communicates to learners a set of social values. What is learned from the subtle or hidden curriculum is frequently more powerful and lasting than that which is learned from the more obvious, planned curriculum. If open curriculum is said to be Custodial, and hidden curriculum is said to be a humanistic climate. Students feel more self-actualized in the humanistic climate. Another aspect of the hidden curriculum is the way in which the school portrays itself to the general society as to maintain its acceptance. The planned curriculum itself may have unintended meanings that are a part of the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is just as much a part of the school program as a course or subject offered. It is a powerful and pervasive source of learning. As an aspect of schooling, the hidden curriculum can include any or all of the various qualities of schooling not overtly governed by the formal curriculum.

The "Hidden Curriculum" includes:

·Teachers' expectations of pupils

·Teachers' interaction with pupils, including discipline

·Allocation of tasks, equipment and resources to girls and boys in the classroom, school and playground

·Content and illustrations of textbooks and other teaching materials

·Organization of the timetable, and the choices within

·Extra-curricular provision for girls and boys

·Relationships of the staff to each other

·The extent to which women are part of the decision-making structures of the school


The interaction between Open curriculum and Hidden curriculum:

Open curriculum and hidden curriculum is two different things. Outcomes typically considered being products of a hidden curriculum include political socialization,...
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