Every school has a curriculum that acts as a guide both to the teachers and learners on the expectations required from both of them in the schools. Without a stable curriculum, a school may not be able to function well because there would be no standards and objectives set for the learners to achieve. Both the school attended by the student and the neighborhood the school is located influence the creation of the open as well as hidden curriculum. It’s the responsibility of every student to create a working dialogue between the school and the society so as to maintain an effective and conducive learning environment. The Hidden curriculum is the things taught to learners that are not part of both the primary and secondary open curriculum. These include instructions given to students but they are not intended, for instance, the knowledge given concerning appropriate behaviors, what is vital, and who is more valued (Trautman, 2004). These instructions are given to students using different means of communication which are quite and convenient.
The instructions may appear in the manner in which the school program is created in arts or in building maintenance. Therefore, it may encourage or discourage the learners, research shows that hidden curriculum may impact in learners positively especially in areas of upward mobility and emotional growth. However, it can also build up confusing and mixed instructions that focus on attention with an open curriculum. Basically, hidden curriculum involves various types of education or knowledge gained in both primary and secondary programs especially with the negative effects referring to inequalities experienced as a result of its existence (Trautman, 2004). The Hidden curriculum was begun by the commitment made by various schools in the United States with intention of promoting democracy and encourage equality in intellectual development and improve on goals hindered by the intangible curriculum.Therefore, this type of curriculum tries to induce the available social inequalities through teaching learners different issues and behaviors according to their class and social backgrounds (Apple, 1971).
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Factors that influence hidden curriculum
Bias especially in terms of gender influences hidden curriculum in that, boys and girls receive a different education despite the fact that they share the same classroom, same books and taught by the same teachers. The socialization set up within schools teaches learners that girls are less equal to boys. This is encouraged every time learners are separated from each other in terms of gender by their teachers hence confirming the idea that boys and girls are to be handled and treated in different ways. For example, when an administrator assumes a behavior of sexual harassment, he or she is permitting the degradation of girl child. Also in case some types of actions from boys are tolerated than it is from girls, then the school is perpetuating the oppression of female students.However, studies show that female learners are recently becoming more successful in academic that it is with boys, though the classroom monitoring demonstrates that girls and boys are continuing to be socially in ways that work against gender equity (Apple, 1971).
Generally, girls are motivated more towards their feminine ideal by their teacher by being praised for being neat, calm, and humble, while boys are encouraged to be active, independent, and to air their views freely. Most girls are taught that being popular is much more important than excellence academic performances and ability, whereas boys on the other hand take and value independence and competence as the most important things in their lives. Hidden curriculum reinforces this gender bias in students because classrooms are seen as the mirrors to the society meaning that all its strengths and weaknesses are reflected through the students to the community. It is true therefore to say that, the usual socialization ways of young children that most often results into distorted views of gender roles are created from the classrooms. Gender bias is reinforced even more in books, during lectures or lessons, and the interaction between the teacher and learners. Thus, this type of gender bias is included in the hidden curriculum of lessons educated implicitly to learners through the daily activities of their classroom. For example teacher`s response to the students influences them either positively or negatively. Studies reveal that teacher`s praises gives positive response to the student by motivating them. In this case, boys are the ones who receive positive praises and remediation than it is with the girls. Girl’s responses are just acknowledged by their teachers but no praises accompany that. Therefore as a result leads to boys being given greater and bigger chances to expand and grow in ideas and be animated than it is with girls and that they motivate boys for more responses than they do with girl child.
Motivational techniques are also another factor that influences hidden curriculum. The values, past experiences, and attitude influences or affects the way and the quantity of what the students learn. The motivation used, therefore, needs to be in relation with the learner’s values. For example for the learner who values patriotism, education on code of conduct would be a motivation lesson. Both the teachers and the student are required to take responsibility even though motivation is among the prime activities of teaching. The subject matter, classroom settings, competence of the teacher, student and the teacher`s personality impacts the motivation process in the learner. For instance, a lesson which is dull creates a boring class and thus leading to unrelaxed class with no participation. This results into losing of confidence and enthusiasm on the teacher making the learners develop a negative impact on learners` motivation (Hemmings, 2000). Therefore to promote motivation to learners; it is advisable to use different materials while teaching to encourage class participation. The instructors are also encouraged to give their learners detailed response when they attempt to answer a question or carry out a given activity that is related to the instructional objectives. A positive feedback from the teachers may create a big difference between a learner’s feelings concerning success or failure. Hence a favorable response on a successful performance would act as a motivational idea in hidden curriculum.
Students learning style is another factor influencing the hidden curriculum, where teachers are sometimes not aware that they are passing a certain message to their learners. The message may be sensed very fast because learners grasp things fast as they are made to conform to school rules and regulations if they want to be successful and have a positive recommendation. Learners get these hidden ideas when attending school programs. There are many schools that still have social norms and values that are promoted by the school. Examples of these values include keeping time, being competitive, being patient, and learning to accept the rules and regulations of the school (Cornbleth, 1984).
The school improved socializing codes of behavior can also affect the learners and their learning styles. Instructors send out messages to students from the beginning of their schooling. A good example of this factor is a situation in a primary school where the instructor monitored how the children behaved and perceived the world in a negative manner. The results were that, the young children had to change their emotional response so as to fit those assumed to be right by the instructor. Children like expressing their feelings freely and they are so uncomfortable when they are made to remain quite. Hidden curriculum, therefore, determines sometimes the shortcomings of the learner’s behavior in the classroom and in the school which may be a stumbling block to learning.
My own practices and experiences with hidden curriculum
In my experience, boys were made to be more superior to girls, in that some activities were considered to be carried out by boys and any girl found participating in them were stigmatized and laughed at. Therefore girls were biased in favor of boys. The socialization set up within schools teaches learners that girls are less equal to boys.
To eliminate this gender bias in hidden curriculum, all learners need to be appreciated, praised and remediated equally so that they are motivated in the learning process.
The Hidden Curriculum is lessons communicated by the school organization and its operation apart from the official statement of the mission set by the school and guideline for the objectives. The lesson of hidden curriculum normally is concerned with attitudes, values, norms, and behavior. Hidden curriculum lessons may be the same or even contradict each other just like the written curriculum; it can also support or undermine the written curriculum. For example, the frequent display of trophies around the school`s administration but no recognition for debate demonstrates a high value of accomplishments that makes sports to be ahead of academics. The main aim for having hidden curriculum in schools is for cultural transmission and educating the learners the routines for behaving well in schools and in the greater society outside the schools.Basically, hidden curriculum particularly aims at maintaining the status quo, especially the cultural dominance and the existing socioeconomic hierarchy. Lessons of the hidden curriculum in earlier days were carried out mostly in public elementary schools basing on academic classrooms. But recently, there has been physical, business education, and student cultures with the main focus on the ethnicity, disability, and gender as well as the social classes, politics and culture.