SOCB26H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Hidden Curriculum, Meritocracy, Deeper Understanding

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Published on 1 Feb 2013
Curriculum isn’t just what’s learned in class, it also involves
school rules, procedures, and routines.
o Has to nurture personal traits and technical
competencies to create citizens who will participate in
civic and economic realms
o Includes:
Teaching facts
Promoting arithmetic and grammar
Boost skills in debating, reasoning, persuading,
and critical thinking
Promote authority, respect, trust, honesty,
civility, fairness, responsibility, and tolerance.
In today’s world, schooling can only capture a slice of what is
known. The sum of human knowledge could never be
condensed into one curriculum
Educators constantly need to decide what to teach, when, and
the best ways to do it
o Sociologists seek to understand and explain these
Schools use curriculum to sort and select students
o Create curricular tracks that stratify students then
decide which students go to which track
Example: Academic vs Applied in high schools.
o Testing creates stratification.
Success in school is tied to occupational
Schools also aim to socialize students into competent
members of society.
Sociologists often distinguish between manifest and latent
functions of schools
Content: The Multiple Dimensions of Modern Progressivism
Traditional Style: teaching was centered on the teacher, and
students were drilled on the acquisition of disciplinary content
Progressive Style: Child centred. Make school more
egalitarian and humanistic. Focus on the needs of the
The shift happened because:
o Courses should be useful
Example: Latin and Greek classes were dropped
from curriculum
o Needed to accommodate the needs of more students,
as students were forced to stay in school longer
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o Curriculum has become more diverse within broad
subject categories.
Example: Having various levels of math courses,
then separating it into different little subject
areas. Calculus, accounting, data management,
o Subject-based, book knowledge became more
Students today learned more at younger ages than in the
Core subjects in elementary school have remained stable
throughout history.
o Even the time dedicated to each subject hasn’t really
Form: Rationalizing and “Blocking” Knowledge
Schools have delivered a rationalized and bureaucratic
o Only a few “free schools” have de-structured and un-
bureaucratic forms.
o Among mainstream schools, the form of the curriculum
doesn’t really vary.
Involves a division of labour
o Not enough time to teach everything that is expected,
what educators have done is divide subjects into
smaller courses, called “curricular blocks”
Example: Science became biology, chemistry,
physics, etc.
o As students pass through each grade level, the
curriculum becomes more organized into blocks.
o A consequence of blocking can be that schools feel like
an assembly line. Subjects are crammed into an
unchangeable window of time.
o This process alienates students, and creates compliant
o Limits subject integration.
Blocks aren’t all bad.
o Teachers can see if students are mastering that specific
o Can promote specialized skills
Blocks are not seen as equals. Some courses are seen as
serious while others not so much.
Demographics are an important rationalizing pressure on the
curriculum. Students come to school with different abilities,
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