Week 7: Constructions of School Systems

3 things I learned

  1. Hidden Curriculum

In the lecture of this week, I learned a new term: Hidden curriculum. It “refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school” (Great Schools Partnership, 2015). It includes unspoken or implicit academic, social, and cultural messages that are delivered to students while they are in school, such as how they perceive different races, groups, or classes of people, or what ideas and behaviours are considered acceptable or unacceptable. I think that hidden curriculum has more powerful influence on students than the formal curriculum does, as it has a great possibility to embed false ‘common sense’ in students.

 

  1. Four Philosophies of Education

There will be many more philosophies of education obviously, but we have explored four among them this week. Each has its own distinct point, however I find the purpose of education and the role of teacher are quiet interesting points to look at:

 

  • Perennialism: Purpose of education is to transmit truths through the use of “the great classics” and historical accounts. Teacher as expert.
  • Essentialism: Purpose of education is to teach basic skills and mastery of subject matter. Teacher as expert.
  • Progressivism: Purpose of education is to develop the whole child. Teacher as facilitator.
  • Reconstructionism: Purpose of education is to challenge inequity and create a better society. Teacher as facilitator.

(Source from: February 26th Lecture PowerPoint)

 

It is hard to say which one is better than the other, as all philosophy features both pros and cons. However, I wish I could learn more about reconstructionism, as it goes along with one of my teaching philosophies: Create anti-oppressive environment of embracing the diversity in classroom.

 

  1. Interrelated impacts in societal and educational aspects

Last thing I noticed from this week –  actually I have been recognizing this more and more, as I study education – is how much society and education have impacts on each other. Although it may take long time, and may result unexpected outcomes, adjustments are made in the education when the society feels that students are not learning what they need to learn. Whereas, education shapes what the society looks like and how it functions. It is reciprocal relationship that can make a huge change on each other.

2 Connections

  1. First connection I made is about the philosophy of perennialism and essentialism. Throwback to my schooling, I think that many of my teachers valued these two ideas. Especially in high school, when you are supposed to devote the whole effort and time to prepare for college entrance exam, I remember that the lessons were very teacher-oriented and I would just sit straight and take note all the time to make sure I am not missing a single information the teacher is delivering; I saw my teachers as experts in what they were teaching.
  2. Another connection I made was with hidden curriculum. It was interesting to learn how different the views are toward the hidden curriculum. Traditional views see this in a positive way, as it helps pass on social norms and values, whereas contemporary views negatively because the creativity gets oppressed while passive acceptance of norms is promoted. And I think that until this semester, I was more familiar with the traditional views because the majority of teachers I have met shared this viewpoint. However, now I am glad to learn that it could bring negative results in students, because this understanding will keep me from teaching the false common sense to my future students.

 

Question:

One of the critical roles of teachers is to help students unlearn inequities, biases, and prejudices. To achieve this, there are some of topics that I would like to incorporate in my lessons, such as Indigenous and LGBTQ education. However, I was wondering what would be a good starter to initiate anti-bias education? Is there an ideal grade year to talk about? If yes, when and why?

 


Reference

Great Schools Partnership. (2015). Hidden Curriculum. In The Glossary of Education Reform for Journalists, Parents, And Community Members. Retrieved from: https://www.edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum/

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