Friday, 12 October 2012

The "Hidden Curriculum"




•The teacher "teaches" and the students "sit and listen" or learn passively.
•There is one "right answer" to any question, and it is in the book to be read.
•The answer to most questions can be given in one or two words, and no one will challenge you to go deeper.
•Books and teachers are always "right", and we learn only from them, not from any other resource in the room, such as our friends.
•If we wait long enough, a teacher will answer her own question, so we won't have to do much work. The teacher is the only one worth listening to.
•If we ask enough questions about a difficult assignment, we can get the teacher to make it easier and less demanding.
•"Thinking" is not something we talk about.
•If I memorize enough stuff, I can get a good grade.
•Most tasks and tests will demand recall of isolated pieces of information, and I will not have to show how concepts and ideas are related or how facts illustrate underlying principles.

 Barrell (1991)

2 comments:

Diane E. Main, GCT NorCal 2006 said...

Funny. When I present, I often talk to educators about my "hidden agenda." And that is the total opposite of what is described here.

Sure, students are working with a partner, using Google Maps to create a timeline of the battles of the American Revolution. There's all kinds of geography and history that goes into that. And some writing too.

But what's my hidden agenda? Students are learning by trial and error. They're communicating with a partner, practicing bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating by compromising at times. They're learning to persevere when the computer does only what they tell it to and can't read their minds to do what they WANT it to. They're trying a bunch of times so that when they do ask for help, they can articulate exactly what the problem is. And, much of the time, they get help from peers before they reach me. They're learning to work with the content and adapt new skills on the fly.

When I work with students . . . and with teachers . . . I always have a "hidden curriculum." And it is most certainly not focused on me, what I know, or my authority. It's learner-centered.

And I'm not bragging. I'm just sharing what I've learned, after 20 years in this field, about letting go and allowing the students to be the ones who benefit from this whole education thing.

Darren Cannell said...

Learner centered will always allow the students to surprise us on how far beyond what we expect them to be capable of achieving...

Thanks for the comment