Hidden Curriculum, Its Manifestation, and Lessons Learned
A hidden curriculum is a collection of implicit factors and teachings that learners experience while attending the formal educational setting. These unintended experiences and teachings accompany the formal school curriculum (Ebadi, 2013). The hidden curriculum is one of the three major dimensions of the curriculum. It deals with the implicit or unspoken aspects in the educational environment, such as behaviors, norms, and values that are not planned for in the formal curriculum dimension (Alsubaie, 2015). The hidden curriculum encompasses behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes passed to the students without specific intents. The indirect words or actions of the teachers and members of the community are the channels of communication in the hidden curriculum. In addition to this, the hidden curriculum entails enforcing and promoting the professional, behavioral, and societal beliefs not stated in the formal curriculum and activities of the educational setting (Alsubaie, 2015). In an educational setting, the students or trainers learn many lessons often not openly taught by teachers. The students adapt to the learning environment by embracing various values and behaviors, thereby impacting their lives both within the educational setting and life in the outside world. The hidden curriculum features tasks like timely submission of assignments, working in groups, timely attendance of lessons, raising of hands to contribute to the discussions in class, and not interrupting fellow students while talking (Mullis, 2019). Students embrace these simple activities without necessarily having to be taught by teachers. The school may not write such expectations and rules, but students comply with them to avoid the possible adverse consequences. These simple behaviors and attributes shape the overall character and habits of the students, both in the learning environment, later in society, and in work environments. For instance, the timely submission of assignments will inculcate the time discipline that is helpful to an individual even in self-management and meeting job deadlines.
Hidden curriculum manifests in various ways in college settings. Colleges feature cultural messages on gender through the hidden curriculum. First, my college arranged and organized sports activities based on gender. Female students used to play their specific sporting activities separately from the male students. Ideally, the college sends a message about gender through the hidden curriculum by assigning specific types of sports to female students and male students separately. Secondly, the college also demonstrated the hidden curriculum by allocating halls of residence based on gender. Female students lived separately from the male students at the college. Thirdly, the college also designated washrooms based on gender. These three examples from my college bring out important lessons about gender. First, the hidden curriculum allows students to learn that gender is an important consideration in sports. The students learn that sports competitions depend on gender, where individuals only compete with people from the same gender in sporting activities. It prepares students to adapt to societal gender expectations. The students also learn how to behave in public places, such as public toilets and changing rooms in the swimming areas.
Tangible Suggestions to Enhance Gender Equity in the Classroom
Gender consciousness is a necessary aspect of the modern education system. This is because it determines the effectiveness of the education system or how engaging and motivating it is to all learners irrespective of their gender (Andrus et al., 2018). Gender influences the thinking and attitude of learners towards themselves, as well their view of history and their relationship with other learners (Andrus et al., 2018). As a result, professors should embrace gender equity in the classroom to ensure an effective and motivating education curriculum. The best strategies for ensuring gender equity among the professors include avoiding connecting gender to an ability, professors acting as the role models for their learners, and incorporating gender in the curriculum employed in the classroom (Waterford.org, 2020).
In the suggestion of incorporating gender in the curriculum, the professors need to choose gender-conscious textbooks when recommending to students the preferred books for each course taken (Waterford.org, 2020). This is because most books in the modern education sector have gender issues. These issues emanate from a failure to include famous gender advocates such as notable female figures. Some books also have gender-stereotyped stories that affect mostly women (Waterford.org, 2020). In this regard, the professor should try as much as possible to choose textbooks that treat both genders equitably. Additionally, professors can teach their students about the men and women who positively influence the communities in equal measure (Waterford.org, 2020).
Secondly, professors should act as gender role models for the students in the classrooms (Waterford.org, 2020). In this case, the professors should be quick in recognizing their bias when engaging students in the classrooms. Subsequently, they should be quick in correcting such biases to show the students that gender bias is not a good thing. The professors should also empower their learners by motivating them to achieve their dreams irrespective of the gender or gendered stories associated with their careers (Waterford.org, 2020). Lastly, the professors need to employ an inclusive and gender-conscious language in class that considers transgender and binary learners (Waterford.org, 2020).
Thirdly, the professors should disconnect gender from abilities or personality traits (Waterford.org, 2020). This is because the language in some instances can have dangerous gender-related assumptions. For example, some statements or assumptions, such as associating boys with personality traits such as being louder and girls being quieter, are gender-sensitive (Waterford.org, 2020). As a result, avoiding such statements will eliminate the possibility of learners feeling discriminated in class.
Alsubaie, M. A. (2015). A hidden curriculum is one of the current issues of the curriculum. Journal of Education and practice, 6(33), 125-128.
Andrus, S., Jacobs, C. E., & Kuriloff, P. (2018, October 16). Miles to go: The continuing quest for gender equity in the classroom. kappanonline.org. https://kappanonline.org/andrus-jacobs-kuriloff-gender-equity-classroom/
Ebadi, S. H. (2013). The hidden curriculum: an apparent challenge or an unexplored opportunity. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 2(3), 62-75.
Mullis, T. R. (2019). Hidden curriculum. Africa Center for Strategic Studies. https://africacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-02-AMEP-MULLIS-Hidden-Curriculum-without-videos.pdf
Waterford.org. (2020, July 16). How to encourage gender equity and equality in the classroom. https://www.waterford.org/education/gender-equality-in-the-classroom/