The visible curriculum is what we are told to teach: math, science, languages, etc. But there is much more that also happens at school. In fact, school is a place where we are subtly taught how to behave, walk, talk, wear our clothes, interact, etc. Teaching when to speak is not part of the curriculum. The teacher is not paid to make sure the students know when and how to talk to people. This is what is known as a hidden curriculum. Let's see what it consists of, its characteristics and its importance in teaching.

What is the hidden curriculum?

The concept of the hidden curriculum refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school.

While the “formal” curriculum consists of the courses, lessons, and learning activities that students engage in, as well as the knowledge and skills that educators intentionally teach students, the hidden curriculum consists of messages unspoken or unspoken academic, social, and cultural issues that are communicated to students while they are in school.

The hidden curriculum concept is based on the recognition that students absorb lessons in school that may or may not be part of the formal course of study , for example, how they should interact with peers, teachers, and other adults; how different races, groups, or classes of people should be perceived; or what ideas and behaviors are considered acceptable or unacceptable.

Hidden curriculum is described as “hidden” because it is generally not recognized or scrutinized by students, educators, and the community at large. And because the values and lessons reinforced by the hidden curriculum are often the accepted status quo, it can be assumed that these "hidden" practices and messages do not need to change, even if they are contributing to undesirable behaviors and outcomes, whether it be bullying, conflicts or low graduation rates and college tuition,

It should be noted that a hidden curriculum can reinforce the lessons of the formal curriculum, or it can contradict the formal curriculum, revealing hypocrisies or inconsistencies between a school's mission, values, and stated beliefs and what students really believe. they experience and learn while at school.

What are their characteristics?

Schools act to provide the economy with a workforce equipped with the right skills, personalities, and attitudes .

This is a 'hidden' function of schooling because it runs counter to the prevailing ideology of schooling, which sees school as a device for promoting social reform and social mobility.

The hidden curriculum consists of discovering that:

  • The knowledge is beyond the power of the students and, in any case, none of their business.
  • Remembering is the highest form of intellectual achievement: the gathering of "facts" is the goal of education.
  • The voice of authority must be trusted more than independent judgement.
  • Your own ideas and those of your classmates are irrelevant.
  • Feelings are irrelevant in education.
  • There is always a single unequivocal answer to any question.
  • Passive acceptance is a more desirable response to ideas than active criticism.

Therefore, among the characteristics of the hidden curriculum we can highlight the following:

  • Ubiquitous – Works at any time
  • Omnimode - can have various forms of influence
  • Repetitive – activities are mechanically repeated in routine activities
  • Invaluable : its repercussions are often not valued

Importance of hidden curriculum in education

The hidden curriculum in education refers to the unspoken and unofficial aspects of education that are not explicitly taught but are still learned by students through the school culture, social interactions, and the overall learning environment. These unwritten lessons can have a significant impact on a student's development, attitudes, and behavior.

Here are some reasons why the hidden curriculum is important in education:

Shapes students' values and attitudes:

The hidden curriculum influences students' beliefs, values, and attitudes towards various issues. For example, the way schools promote or discourage certain behaviors can shape how students perceive them, and this can have a long-lasting effect on their behavior and decision-making in the future.

Reinforces societal norms:

The hidden curriculum reinforces the norms and values of society. Through socialization and peer pressure, students learn what is expected of them, how to interact with others, and what is considered acceptable behavior in their community.

Helps students develop social skills:

Socialization is an essential part of education, and the hidden curriculum provides opportunities for students to learn how to interact with others, how to communicate effectively, and how to navigate social hierarchies.

Prepares students for the real world:

The hidden curriculum provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the real world. For example, students learn how to follow rules and routines, how to manage their time effectively, and how to work collaboratively with others.

Overall, the hidden curriculum is an essential part of education, and it plays a significant role in shaping students' development, attitudes, and behavior. It is essential for educators to be aware of the hidden curriculum and to ensure that it aligns with the goals and values of their educational institution.

How and when is the hidden curriculum produced?

The hidden curriculum begins early in a child's education. Students learn to form opinions and ideas about their environment and their classmates.

For example, children learn 'appropriate' ways to act in school, meaning what will make them popular with teachers and students. They also learn what is expected of them. These attitudes and ideas are not formally taught, but are absorbed and internalized by children through natural observation and participation in classroom and social activities.

The hidden curriculum areas in our schools that shape student perspectives address issues such as gender, morals, social class, stereotypes, cultural expectations, politics, and language .

Gender roles, for example, become very apparent in the early grades when socialization is divided into boys and girls. Many books at this early age support the idea of gender separation, which, in turn, encourages these norms in the early years. The importance of boys' athletics used to be a clear example of the hidden curriculum, but many school districts have striven for a better balance for girls' and boys' teams.

The hidden curriculum is often found within the formal curriculum of a school. This may be partially in what is not taught. For example, if an English class only assigns reading material with Caucasian main characters or with stories set in our own country, this can teach students, including English learners, that our school systems do not appreciate other cultures and languages. The influence of this can lead to a negative self-image or a hatred of reading.

The hidden curriculum appears when:

  • the field of values is approached.
  • we wonder about the kind of society we are building.
  • we question ourselves about the values related to competitiveness, to individualism.
  • religious or moral values are addressed.
  • We express our thoughts in a certain way.
  • new forms of communication are established.
  • new codes of gestures, postures and gestures arise.

The importance of the hidden curriculum in teaching-learning

The role of the hidden curriculum is considerable and probably effective in adolescents, especially in social treatments. Perhaps the most important effect of the hidden curriculum concept is the observation by researchers of education and training, teaching and learning, as a text that must reveal its paraphrases or hidden meanings.

The hidden curriculum is not written anywhere or taught by a teacher . Rather it is taught by the educational environment as a whole. Regardless of the conversation of the teachers, or the development of the curriculum, the students suddenly find themselves with something that they had not talked about before. Affected by the hidden curriculum of the school, they gradually find a special view regarding life, education and learning.

The curriculum has the greatest influence on the social education of students . Social education is one of the challenges in the country's educational system, which is affected by the entire system and the foundations of society.

There are social problems and challenges in today's society, such as: the spread of crimes, especially among adolescents. , inappropriate and immoral use of the media, such as mobile phones, inappropriate and immoral use of the Internet, diminishing the role and value of the family, increasing family disunity, etc.

The school, as a social and worthy foundation, has an important responsibility in education. A teenager spends much of his time at school so he will come to imitate the social behaviors that are instilled in it. But the hidden curriculum is also of great importance in early childhood education .

The role of the teacher

Teachers need to be evaluated on the atmosphere they create in their classrooms and the degree of trust they have established with their students.

Classroom Culture: The hidden curriculum of a school begins in each individual classroom. Faculty should be given the opportunity to discuss their school's hidden curriculum, as a whole group, as it will bring them closer to alignment with the school's core ethical values and agreed practice on the ground.

In this case, the following should be considered:

  • Do teachers make specific decisions about room configuration to reflect respect for each individual and the classroom community?
  • Do they show compassion by establishing a variety of ways for students to reflect on and celebrate their learning?
  • Have teachers devised an assessment process that feels fair to each student, and have they been honest and transparent in implementing the system?
  • Do teachers take responsibility for their own learning in the classroom and for mistakes that may occur along the way?

These are all examples of classroom practices that create a culture of integrity and build high levels of trust with students. As faculty have the opportunity to discuss the behaviors and teaching options that will address each core value of the school, they are moving closer to an aligned school philosophy and powerful culture.

Classroom Content: It is important to assess teachers on their performance in their own subject using a variety of criteria, and one of those criteria should be the teacher's understanding and communication of the ethical dimension of what students are learning.

The original and larger purpose of schools as organized institutions of society has always been to shape the kind of people we are preparing for the future. Each subject has a direct relationship to that higher purpose, yet teachers' thinking and understanding of this relationship is often limited. Teachers must be aware of and capable of articulating this specific dimension to their work.

Teachers must be held accountable for helping students make connections between real life and content areas through ethics for two important reasons.

Curriculum, values and ideology

Schools can decide on curricula based on the views and values of the local community regarding educational content and methodology. But matters of curriculum and ideology in particular are taken very seriously. School boards have limited ability to remove materials from the curriculum, especially when a removal is based solely on " ideological content ," such as the community's views on politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.

When attempting to ensure that the discretion of the school board is exercised in a constitutionally permissible manner, individuals must examine the intent of the board members. The courts are not limited to examining the objective motivation of the board but may consider individual motives and even the mental processes of board members. In general, the board must make curricular decisions that foster "legitimate pedagogical concerns."

Of course, teachers, parents, and other members of the community can challenge the ideology of a curriculum, but such challenges must take place outside the classroom.

First, parents and teachers with concerns about the ideological content of a curriculum should consider becoming more involved with their local board of education or other curriculum design authority. This will allow interested parents to review and comment on the curriculum before it becomes established policy.

The hidden curriculum and minorities at school

Cultural diversity , present in the school, can facilitate the social learning of all students if it is experienced as a natural fact. However, it is accepting the complexity that it entails and being willing to make collective processes of mutual adaptation and change, sometimes not easy.

Being different does not have to mean adding new difficulties to those already experienced by ethnic minority students at school. The school is an institution to welcome everyone in equal conditions , to facilitate meaningful, relevant and personalized learning, from real practice in the classroom, without the desire to standardize those who are different, stimulating the personal autonomy of students and educating to live in plural, diverse and multicultural societies.

The school has often tended to culturally homogenize the student body, has hidden or stopped promoting cultural differences . There is a hidden curriculum, which does not convey information about ethnic and cultural characteristics in the classroom, nor does it contemplate them, in fact, in teacher training.

The idea of the inclusive school affirms the right to difference, to be educated without differences, the recognition of the right to an equal education for all, also for people with disabilities and the "different".

The fundamental task is the creation of good interpersonal relationships in the classroom, between the students and with the teaching staff; create climates of respect, mutual acceptance and trust; promoting the achievement of communicative and social skills. Also diversifying the organization of time and space in the classroom; scheduling assessable activities with the participation of the various agents involved.

Differences between hidden resume and null resume

Let's see the differences between hidden and null resume through examples .

The null curriculum is what is not taught. Failure to teach a particular idea or set of ideas may be due to mandates from higher authorities, a teacher's lack of knowledge, or deeply ingrained assumptions and prejudices. Many teachers are under pressure not to teach evolution.

On the other hand, the hidden curriculum has to do with how particular assumptions about schooling and learning play out in practice. It is about the structure that is not officially recognized by teachers, administrators and students, but that has a significant impact; it is usually determined by appropriate values, attitudes, and behaviors.

Hidden resume examples

While the hidden curriculum in any school encompasses a huge range of potential intellectual, social, cultural, and environmental factors, too many to catalog here, the following examples will help illustrate the concept and how it might play out in schools:

cultural expectations

Academic, social, and behavioral expectations set by schools and educators communicate messages to students. For example, one teacher may assign difficult assignments and expect all students to do well on those assignments, while another teacher may assign relatively easy assignments and routinely award grades to all students who pass, even when their quality of work is poor. short.

In the high-expectations class, students may learn much more and experience a greater sense of accomplishment, while students in the low-expectations class may do just enough work to get by and be relatively uninterested in the lessons that follow. they are teaching them.

Cultural values

Values promoted by schools , educators, and peer groups can also carry hidden messages. For example, some schools may expect and reward conformity while punishing nonconformity, while other schools might celebrate and even encourage nonconformity.

In one school, students may learn that behaviors such as following rules, acting in expected ways, and not questioning adults are rewarded, while in other schools students learn that self-expression, initiative, or questioning of authority are valued and rewarded behaviors.

Similarly, if biased or disruptive behaviors and statements are tolerated in a school, students may adopt the values that adults and other students accept or model, either explicitly or implicitly.

cultural perspectives

How schools acknowledge, integrate, or honor diversity and multicultural perspectives can convey both intended and unintended messages.

For example, some schools may expect newly arrived immigrant students and their families to “assimilate” into the country's culture, for example by requiring students to speak English at school at all times or by not providing translated informational materials. or other specialized assistance.

However, other schools may actively integrate or celebrate the multicultural diversity of the student body by inviting students and parents to share stories about their country of origin, for example, or by publishing informational materials in multiple languages.

Curriculum topics

The subjects teachers choose for courses and lessons may convey different ideological, cultural, or ethical messages .

For example, the history of Spain can be taught in a wide variety of ways using different historical examples, themes, and perspectives.

Curriculum topics can also often intersect with or be influenced by political and ideological issues.

teaching strategies

The way schools and teachers choose to educate students can convey both intended and unintended messages.

For example, if students earn good grades or extra credit for turning in homework on time, listening carefully, participating during class, raising their hands, and generally doing things they are told to do, students can learn that compliance is important and behaviors will be academically rewarded and allowed to make up for learning deficiencies.

On the other hand, instructional strategies such as project-based learning or community -based learning can communicate specific messages, for example, that skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, and attributes such as persistence, ingenuity and self-motivation are valued and important.

school structures

The way a school or academic program is organized and operated can convey messages to students.

For example, if non-English speaking students are largely separated from their peers for most of the school day, or students with physical or learning disabilities are enrolled in specialized programs that are relegated to windowless basement classrooms , these organizational decisions may have unintended effects on students' sense of cultural belonging, self-esteem, or academic potential.

In addition, the structure of a school program can also reflect or reinforce cultural biases. For example, students of color and students from low-income households are often disproportionately represented in lower-level courses, and special education programs can reinforce some of the social stigmas children and adults with disabilities experience outside of school. from school.

institutional rules

Formal rules in a school can communicate a wide variety of intended and unintended messages to students.

For example, some schools require students to wear school uniforms, some prohibit certain types of dress, and others have very liberal or permissive dress policies.

While the intent of formal school rules and policies is to tell students how they should behave, the extent to which they are or are not enforced, or the ways in which they are enforced, can communicate messages that undermine or contradict their intent. declared.

In this case, stricter dress code policies may communicate that students will be judged on appearances both in and out of school, while more flexible policies may communicate that they will be judged on other qualities.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Luke is passionate about fostering student involvement and connection. He studied psychology for his major and likes learning about the past. Luke aims to specialize in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. .

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