Vital role of hidden curriculum
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.