The Nature of the Hidden Curriculum

The Nature of the Hidden Curriculum
According to Marxist, the main aim of the education system is to provide capitalist with a workforce equip with all the values, attitudes and beliefs that will assist them in their aim to maximize profits. If the aims of capitalism are to be achieved it will need to be consistently supplied with a docile, highly motivated and subservient workforce. The education system achieves this through the implementation of the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum consists of the things that students learn through attending school. It is not the content of lessons that is important but rather the values and beliefs that are passed from the teacher to the student during the teaching process. The hidden curriculum produces a suitable future workforce by ensuring that students learn to accept the hierarchy that exists (Bowles and Gintis). Schools are structured in a hierarchical principle of authority and control. Teachers posses all the power and control over students. They decide what is learnt and how it is taught. Students have no control over the contents of their educational life, they learn to accept the subordinate position they hold within the school stratification system.This acceptance thus prepares them for the position they will hold in the workforce, in which they will have to defer to the authority of their superiors. Within the experience of their school life students learn to be motivated by external factors. Education in itself is not intrinsically motivating to the student, as they have so little control over what they learn. They are expected to intake what is being taught without questioning it. It is therefore easy to see why most students do not find education or rather schooling a very satisfying process. As they are not obtaining any internal satisfaction, they turn to the external rewards that can be obtained as a result of acquiring an educational qualification. They therefore stay in the system now motivated by the attractive wage packages etc, which can be obtained as a result of being educated. This creation of a population motivated by external factors, according to Bowles and Gintis is essential for a successful capitalist system. This is because capitalist industries are not intrinsically motivating. The work done is monotonous, and organized to suit the needs of the capitalist. As a result of the fact that the workers will already be accustomed to seeking external gratification for tasks, they will use their wages as the driving force to encourage them to work within the industry that does not cater for their needs. The final and most important function of the hidden curriculum is that it produces a subservient workforce, fueled with passive and uncritical workers, who willingly and unquestioningly accept what functions they are told to perform. In a study of 237 members of a New York High School, Bowles and Gintis discovered that grades were awarded on a basis of personality traits and not grades. It was found that the highest grades were awarded in relation to perseverance and punctuality. Therefore, it can be concluded that the nature of the hidden curriculum ensures that a passive, obedient workforce, which is motivated by external motivated is created. The hidden curriculum thus ensures that the ruling class is able to pass on its ideology and maintain social control over the subordinate. (b) Evaluate the extent to which factors outside school influence educational achievement Educational achievement refers to the ability of an individual to succeed within the prevalent education system. Ones success within this system is influenced by a number of factors, both within and outside the school environment. For the purpose of this discussion, external factors which influence educational achievement will be analyzed. It is indeed important to note that whilst there are many factors which are influential the most important, is the relationship between social class and educational achievement. The picture of academic achievement by social class is consistent. A survey undertaken by Halsely (1980) proved the already noted fact that middle class boys had a greater chance of achieving academic success than their working class counterpart. A reason for this could be the explained in the fact that the economic stance of these children?s parents means that they will be able to provide them with all the additional toys that would facilitate success. A middle class parent would have the finance required to send their children to the best schools, where they would be taught by the most experienced educationalist. In addition to which the parent would be able to hire the expertise of private tutors, in school is fully understood. This can therefore allow the middle class privileged student to achieve success. On the other hand a working class parent as a result of their disadvantaged position within the social strata would not be able to provide their children with additional resources that will help them prevail. The culture in which the middle class student has been raised can also be used as an indicator for their achievement. The middle class child would from birth be socialized into the use of the elaborated code. According to Bernstein, because formal education is conducted in terms of the use of an elaborated code, middle class students are at an advantage. This is because they will not only be able to clearly understand what is being taught, but will also be able to express themselves in an abstract and logical manner. The working class child on the other hand, would as a result of the nature of their culture, not be exposed to this code, and would be limited in the use of the restricted code. So even in a situation in which they understand what is being said and taught by the teacher, they would be unable to express themselves in a manner that is considered appropriate, thus limiting their achievement. In addition to social class sexism and stereotype can also account for educational achievement. Girls have been limited in their ability to achieve academic success as a result of men?s? perception of them. In the year before the 1944 act, the Norwood Report accepted the view that the destiny of a boy would be to get a job and be academically successful, while for girls it was to marry and raise children. Neither of which from a males perspective required much education nor academic success. Men assumed that all women wanted to be housewives. They never considered that some women would want to be educated in non traditional areas. When girls began to receive higher education, they were only allowed to do (before the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975) traditional subjects, such as cooking, and domestic science. All of which were aimed at educating women in terms of their ?main function? which was to ?make a secure home for their children and husband? As a result of the belief held by the male members of society, that a ?women?s place was in the home? girls were unable to fulfill their educational achievement. Closely linked to the idea of sexism is the concept of stereotypes. The traditional ideas of what a woman is or is supposed to be are linked to the socialization process. From birth a girl has her position and role within society outlined. As she grows she is made aware of her duties and of what is expected of her. As a result a certain stereotype attached to girls, in which they are assumed to be domestically inclined and centered on the ?internal? world of the home, where they serve men. As a result of this girls tend to opt for subjects (despite their inclination) that do not challenge their feminine self concept. In most cases girls do not have the confidence to attempt to break stereotypical borders, by taking on non traditional subjects. So even if a girl is inclined towards sciences, and believes that she will be able to perform to her best within this area, because of sexism, the existing stereotype, and her own lack of confidence to challenge the status quo, she is limited in what academic success she can achieve. Boys on the other hand, rarely face sexism, and have stereotypes which motivate them to want to achieve academically. Males do not suffer problems of self assurance, and are aware of the wide assortment of careers that are available to them. Working class black boys are an exception to this rule. These boys are aware of the negative way in which they are viewed by the wider white society. They know that they are expected to fail and to never amount to anything. As a result of the self fulfilling prophecy, these children well eventually give up all hopes of succeeding and will live up to the negative image society has of them. Black working n boys know that they have a greater chance of failing within the education system, and as a result of this, they reject the values and ideas that are being passed on to them. This action assists in their failure, since it has been stated that success is directly related to ones ability to conform. Thus it can be seen that external factors are just as influential in determining the extent to which one is able to attain academic success.

The Nature of the Hidden Curriculum 9 of 10 on the basis of 1451 Review.