The Hidden Curriculum Is More Complicated Then I Thought!

September 19, 2021 2 By Gledi Toci

While still continuing to look at topics for my first assignment. The hidden curriculum topic intrigued me the most since we first mentioned it. I never knew what the hidden curriculum was or what it stood for. It was not so long ago introduced to the concept of the hidden curriculum and its issues. I realized how much I relate to all the issues students experience with the hidden curriculum. Therefore I have been mostly researching the hidden curriculum and came across three interesting articles, and mainly focusing on one written by a foreign girl from India, and her relatable struggles.

After reading the article “Uncovering the hidden curriculum” by Janani Hariharan multiple times, I have come to a realization of the issues of the hidden curriculum. In her article, Janani talks about how she slowly realized her manners towards the teachers and other students were apparently “too nice”. Due to coming from a different country, Janani struggled to speak up to her teachers and voice her opinion, since she was taught to believe that was wrong. Janani was also used to very traditional learning, with homework and tests/exams, and was new to the idea of group work, presentations, and projects. I related to this, since I came from a country with a traditional learning style, and struggled at the beginning with the Canadian curriculum. The author also mentions how she struggled with the school system overall, including the grading and it was never explained to students like her since it’s assumed everyone knows. She explains how she found out about the hidden curriculum through Twitter instead, rather than being helped out by teachers and feeling included. These issues really got me thinking about the issues the hidden curriculum causes for many students, especially foreign students and Janani is a prime example.

To support the previous article and the variety of issues presented by Janini, I came across two other articles to support it. The articles “Curriculum in conflict: how African American and Indigenous educational thought complicates the hidden curriculum” and “The Hidden Curriculum”, both go hand and hand with the issues presented in the first article. The hidden curriculum favors those who grew up with it, and even then it has its flaws. Especially for newcomers from different backgrounds, students struggle to understand and fit in, what is considered “common sense”. A quote from “The Hidden Curriculum” really stood out to me when “We could say that there is like a ‘ghost’ dialogue, which directs the
intention of the adults to the young learners modeling their personality”. That is a common issue, and for some students, that ghost dialogue is misunderstood and assumed by some. For some students, they view the teachers as their mentor and someone they can talk to, for some their teachers have power over them, which can change students’ behavior. “Curriculum in conflict…”, challenges the hidden curriculum and focuses on the change that needs to take place. The “commonsense” from the hidden curriculum has been constructed over many years and is in desperate need of change.

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In my critical summary, I will mainly focus on the issues that come with the misaddressed hidden curriculum. Mainly focusing on Janani’s article, I will explore the difficulties students of diverse backgrounds experience in schools due to the hidden curriculum. The first paragraph will focus on the different learning systems/styles, that foreign students are introduced to. It’s far different from what they are used to, due to being used to a different “hidden curriculum”. The second paragraph will mainly focus on the manners that are hidden in the curriculum, which students from diverse backgrounds are expected to know. Lastly, the hidden curriculum is all based on what’s assumed to be known, and when diverse background students miss the obvious, harassment and feeling excluded could occur. Therefore we need to challenge the hidden curriculum and address the ‘obvious” questions.