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December 20, 2008 / C H Thompson

Hidden Curriculum


What is the hidden curriculum? – as well as the formal curriculum (maths, English, PE etc) schools also teach norms and values  to their students – this is known as the hidden curriculum.

Examples of norms and values we’re taught are being punctual to lessons, dressing smartly in school uniform, working hard to achieve your best and receiving rewards for those efforts .  It’s called the hidden curriculum because you don’t have formal timetabled lessons on dressing smartly, instead your teachers constantly remind you to be punctual or ‘tuck your shirt in’. You also learn respect for authority and following instructions

It is important to recognise that Functionalists appreciate the virtues of the hidden curriculum as being good at secondary socialising students to:

  1. look smart via the school uniform
  2. punctuality through disciplining people who are late
  3. shows children how to follow instructions
  4. as well how to read and follow a timetable
  5. and the benefits of working hard and doing additional work at home (homework)

 In contrast Marxists like Bowles and Ginitis argue that the hidden curriculum is just an instrument or tool to prepare children for the workplace, hence their term ‘long shadow of work’. They see the hidden curriculum as:

  1. school rules, detentions and rewards teach people to conform to society whether you like it or not!
  2. school assemblies teach respect for dominant ideas
  3. boys and girls to accept different roles in society with boys learning to be masculine and girls feminine
  4. to follow teachers’ instructions without question in the same way you have to follow a bosses orders
  5. being punctual as your time belongs to your teacher/school and not you. This again replicates the way a future boss owns your time and so you’re being prepared for the world of work!




Leave a Comment
  1. sexyparisienne / Nov 5 2017 5:35 pm

    Reblogged this on

    • C H Thompson / Nov 10 2017 5:10 pm

      Thanks for reblog 🙂


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