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Essay: Balancing Academics with Co-curricular Activities (CCA)
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A hidden curriculum is often easier to notice when resources are scarce. Rather than looking at policies or what is written in documentation, we can look at the allocation of resources to see what is really valued. One of the scarcest resources for both teachers and pupils is time. Looking at how time is prioritised has therefore been of great interest to researchers looking at what type of learning is valued since this will help to reveal the hidden curriculum. A key concept in higher education is surface and deep approaches to learning. Richardson et al included this concept in their analysis of which types of pupils get better grades at university, and found that a strategic approach was actually more successful than a deep approach, while a surface approach was the least successful.
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This is a strong indication that the way students are assessed at university reflects a hidden curriculum, since the students who behave like they are meant to taking a deep approach are actually less successful than students who learn to 'play the game' of assessment.
One way of attempting to avoid the negative impact of a hidden curriculum is to reduce the power held by policy-makers or teachers by reducing the amount of summative assessment. If pupils are not forced to do as much work in a set way, they have more freedom to make their own value judgements. By reducing the power we hold over our pupils and students and giving them more choice, we reduce the implied or hidden message that they must defer to authority.
How might a hidden curriculum affect learners? Will this always be negative? The concept of a hidden curriculum is highly problematic in higher education because a university tutor is often both teacher and assessor.
It is therefore difficult to decide how much help students should be given, and how much they are expected to struggle on their own. Thinking about the difference between hidden curriculums in schools and universities helps to explain why the hidden curriculum does not necessarily always have a negative impact on learners. Becker et al.
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It is therefore desirable that some expectations are hidden or deliberately vague because students can only meet those expectations indirectly. At school level, the curriculum is set through policy and it interpreted for pupils by their teachers, typically through using past exam papers or guidance from examination boards. Since the teacher does not have any insider knowledge of the assessment in the same way that a university tutor does since school exams are set by examination boards , there is less conflict in the role: the teacher and pupils are 'on the same side' as they try to figure out how to get the best marks on assessments.
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Some teachers might still want to include their own values, such as rewarding hard work when grading coursework or other in-class assessments, but mostly the teacher is attempting to clarify the expectations and norms of the examination board's hidden curriculum. This means that while university tutors are more likely to use Snyder's definition of a hidden curriculum, school teachers are more likely to relate to Jackson's definition.
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There are also positives to having a hidden curriculum at school level. If pupils knew all of the expectations that they were required to meet, they could feel overwhelmed or place too much importance on particular criteria. A teacher therefore acts as a buffer or interpreter, deciding what their pupils are ready to know.
A teacher might also decide to be highly strategic, hiding some expectations from their pupils and showing them short-cuts in order to get the best marks possible. Google Tag Manager. Advertise About Contact Subscribe.