The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education

The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education

The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education

The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education

Synopsis

The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education is a daring look at the way colleges and universities produce race, class, and gender hierarchies and reproduce conservative ideology. These original and provocative essays shed light on all that remains hidden in higher education.

Excerpt

Most of those who write on hidden curricula focus their attention on “curriculum.” We want to begin by making a few observations on the concept of “hidden.” In her important article, “What Should We Do with a Hidden Curriculum When We Find One?”, Jane Roland Martin identified two sorts of hiddenness: “Something can be hidden in the sense of which a cure for cancer is hidden or in the sense in which a penny in the game Hide the Penny is hidden.” Is the curriculum yet to be discovered or has it been hidden by someone? Martin also noted that a curriculum can be revealed to some, while remaining hidden to others: “Until learning states are acknowledged or the learners are aware of them, however, they remain hidden even if sociologists, bureaucrats, and teachers are all aware of them. Thus a hidden curriculum can be found yet remain hidden, for finding is one thing and telling is another” (Martin 1994, 162). This discussion is helpful, but does not go far enough in investigating hiddenness.

We hide to conceal or protect. To secrete. We hide our wealth in a hoard, we hide our feelings, we hide our intentions. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Purloined Letter,” a seasoned investigator has been called upon by the French police to lend his intuitive skills to solving a mystery. He asks the police about their search for critical clues: “I presume you looked to the mirrors, between the boards and the plates, and you probed the beds and the bed-clothes, as well as the curtains and carpets?” To which they reply: “Certainly; we opened every package and parcel; we not only opened every book, but we turned . . .

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