CHICAGO - Throughout the history of the schooling system, scholars and education experts have been trying to offer the best possible academic formula for our students to learn, succeed, and grow.
CHICAGO – Throughout the history of the schooling system, scholars and education experts have been trying to offer the best possible academic formula for our students to learn, succeed, and grow.
This formula has been thought of to be a set of rules, guidelines, procedures, frameworks, and objectives meant for a certain group in a certain setting. Educative measures are no longer limited to a set of “subject that are included in a course of study or taught in a school.”(Oxford dictionary, p. 308)
Currently, teaching and learning reaches new directions and involves an awareness of new factors and new participants in the teaching/learning processes usually referred to as Hidden Curriculum.
The concept, Hidden Curriculum has been given various definitions and has been approached to through different perspectives. It was first introduced by Sociologist Phillip Jackson in 1968 to refer to a more implicit, unwritten, or hidden curricular content. For Phillip Jackson, “what is taught in schools is more than the sum total of the curriculum.” (Jackson, 1968 as cited in the learner’ forum, p.1)
According to Jackson, teaching and learning reach other numerous types of knowledge and schools are not merely academic establishments with defined objective, agreed-upon managerial practices. Rather, schools “should be understood as socialization processes where students pick up messages through the experience of being in school, not just from things those they are explicitly taught.” (Jackson, 1968 as cited in the learner’ forum, p.1)
This directive of academic thought is well expressed in the definition given by Meighan in his book “A Sociology of Education,” published in 1981. He wrote: “The hidden curriculum is taught by the school, not by any teacher…something is coming across to the pupils which may never be spoken in the English lesson or prayed about in assembly. They are picking-up an approach to living and an attitude to learning.”(Meighan,1981 as cited in the learner forum)
The term is so vague and can signify multiple understandings. However, it always refers to a process of transmissions of ethics, morals, principles, values, rituals and beliefs that occur in the defined and constructed educational content and in the social context of this content as well. It is basically what is taught in classrooms and also what is conveyed indirectly to students from their school culture and and their society at large.
Teachers’ philosophy, teachers’ choices, and use of books and materials, the audio visual techniques used in classrooms, the size and aesthetic aspects of the academic setting, the motivational techniques, the measurement of assessments, the relationships and interactions between teachers and students, the learning groups and the socioeconomic differences can play a more major role in the learning process. Traditional settings that have been influenced for years to preserve certain social privileges and denied class, gender, race, and ethnicity an active role, are no longer an option in educators’ agenda. Values of fairness, justice, and equality are enforcing new approaches to learning and dominating the academic sphere.
Administrators and teachers are encouraged to respond to a more diverse classroom and to have answers to new raising questions such as: “Who gets fawned over, and who gets ignored? How do the staff and leaders get along when they’re off the platform and think nobody’s looking? How does a small group respond when someone shares a problem that is untidy and unresolved? Do leaders respond with panic or irritation or confidence or gentleness when a problem strikes? When there is a conflict, do people face it head on or go into avoidance mode?” (Ortberg, 2009, p.4).
Essential to the growth and development of our schooling system is our ability to teach and learn about differences and multiplicity and to consider these differences in our teaching practices. “Sitting in the same classroom, reading the same text book, listening to the same teachers” (Sadker 1994, p.2) can be unfair as students do not have equal standings and do not possess the same qualities. Every child is unique in his or her own. Our classrooms are made of visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesis students. One child might prefer a style; another may prefer another one or may combine two or three or even more of these qualities. To succeed, teachers should integrate non-bias practices and facilitate learning experiences for all.
Schools still openly and intentionally promote social norms and values such as: “being punctual, competitive, waiting one‘s turn … to accept hierarchy of authority, patience, and other ‘goals and functions of wider society.” (Jackson, 1968 as cited in Marsh). Many ideas, ideologies, and concepts can be enforced in the students cognitive system. Teachers should be sensitive to this challenge and try to establish a setting with well-defined relationships that encourage students to discuss openly, energize teamwork and learning group practices that can “help create students that are more tolerable of other people’s opinions. A trait that is very valuable later in life.” (Cornbleth, 2009). As teachers, we adhere to agreed-upon topics to discuss, practices to follow, objectives to meet, and ends to reach. Our adherence is obviously governed by well-declared curricular criteria. The problem is our work might evaporate and have no significance if we are not able to include other implicit and unintentional considerations we usually choose to identify as Hidden Curriculum.
The magic word is variety. Variety in choices and variety in practices. Teaching is not merely a practice. Teaching is an experience where we should work on the best possible combination of what is purely professional in our work and what is personal. Teachers should be very sensitive to how they introduce themselves to their students and to the messages they are permanently transmitting in their classrooms. More significantly, teachers should vary their strategies so they can have greater impact on their instructive activities and should equally have their emotional presence be sensed in the heart of their children. Here I recall a moment!
In the spring of 2008, the Department of Physical Education and Body Foundation of Al-Hadi School of Accelerative Learning in Houston, Texas decided to form a soccer team for its elementary students and join a Houston based soccer league. The experience was new to the parents and their doubt about their children’s abilities to compete at a city level was a barrier. Bringing that personal touch in our efforts to build confidence in their hearts and convince them of the positive outcomes the experience may have was rewardable. In our first season in the competition, our new experience was a memorable success. In that year, Al-Hadi Lions started their season with courage and hope to win themselves and us a great surprise. We amazingly ranked third and with that ranking a new word was introduced to my dictionary. This word is motivation. The term that refers basically to positive enforcement and encouragement can play a significant role in our success. It can have an equal standing to all of our instructive practices and choices. This word that can inspire and lead can reach further more than a simple teaching procedure. This word now is my word and it can be your word. Please keep your heart open and spread it well…
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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