Hidden Curriculum in Schools Essay

Submitted By danrees
Words: 611
Pages: 3

Outline and explain what is meant by the Hidden Curriculum in schools [20]

There are a few things that you need to pay attention to here. You must:
Outline what different perspectives say about the hidden curriculum
Use relevant examples /evidence

Explain them

The hidden curriculum is a phrase used to describe the things learnt in school that are not openly taught in lessons or examined in tests.
In general the hidden curriculum is a type of socialisation which involves persuading people either consciously or subconsciously to think and behave in particular ways. Structural theorists all agree that schools socialise pupils through the hidden curriculum but they disagree about who benefits from this.

Functionalists for example, claim that secondary socialisation is a crucial role of the system and helps in the establishment of social order. Both Functionalists Marxists and Feminists agree that children learn expected ways of behaving and the “rules of life” through the hidden curriculum. The way that this is done would be through school rules and the rewards and punishments for either abiding by them or flaunting them. Give your own examples of the sorts of things that happen, e.g. detention and so on.
The hierarchies of power and control in schools provide a structure for tiered discipline and for children to learn about conformity.
Give your own example of tiered discipline.
They learn about the value of individual achievement through merit systems or prize giving ceremonies. It is easy to see why Functionalists see this process positively. However Marxists take a different view. They claim that the hidden curriculum “feeds” children with ideas that justify failure. Althusser for example suggests that schools are giant myth making machines, by this he means that schools encourage us to believe that if we work hard and have talent we will inevitably be successful. This idea of a meritocratic society is challenged by Marxists as an example of one of the giant myths referred to by Althusser. Similarly Bowles and Gintis argue that schools reproduce inequality by preparing working class pupils for working class jobs.
Interactionists such as Hargreaves and Becker suggest that children are labelled by teachers and this constitutes a kind of socialisation. The label, according to Interactionists “teaches” the children what they can or can’t do.
This has been disputed by many people including Fuller and Mac an Ghaill who both offer evidence of children who have