Vi­tal role of hid­den cur­ricu­lum

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - with greg whitby y

WHEN writ­ing about ed­u­ca­tion, the me­dia is usu­ally in­ter­ested in the achieve­ments of stu­dents in pub­lic tests such as NAPLAN and the HSC.

But there is another area that gets less at­ten­tion and is equally and, some­times even more, im­por­tant than the scores at­tained in a test. I am speak­ing about the life skills and val­ues that stu­dents can learn through the teach­ing process. This is what I call the “hid­den cur­ricu­lum”.

The hid­den cur­ricu­lum can be even more pow­er­ful than the ex­plicit cur­ricu­lum. It chal­lenges stu­dents to think about is­sues and ideas. It pro­motes cer­tain norms, be­hav­iours and val­ues.

The sub­jects our stu­dents study are part of the Aus­tralian Cur­ricu­lum. This cur­ricu­lum re­flects what we as a so­ci­ety be­lieve all stu­dents need to know, re­gard­less of where they live or the type of school they at­tend.

When the stu­dents are in pri­mary school and the early years of sec­ondary school, the range of sub­jects they study is quite nar­row. Of­ten, there are un­in­tended learn­ings that hap­pen in the class­room. What stu­dents learn through the way that a teacher de­liv­ers the con­tent of a les­son can have more of an im­pact than the con­tent it­self.

The out­come can be stu­dents find out more about them­selves, oth­ers and the world around them. The hid­den cur­ricu­lum em­pha­sises com­mu­nity val­ues.

When we re­flect on the teach­ers who had the most in­flu­ence on us, I ex­pect the ma­jor­ity of us are drawn to the ones who gave us some­thing more than sub­ject knowl­edge.

They were the ones who taught us to think, feel and bet­ter know our­selves.

This is the hid­den cur­ricu­lum at work.

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