Glossary Term

Hidden curriculum

The way policymakers, school administrators, teachers, and learners interact with each other (and the community) teaches them the values and the existence of power structures and relationships. Hidden curriculum is closely linked to social norms and collective behavior and must be taken into account in any learning and teaching effort attempting to influence attitudes and behaviors. Hidden curriculum is what is taught outside the prescribed curriculum; it goes beyond the specific content of the subject matter, and can be expressed in the school environment, in the classroom climate and its furniture arrangement, in the pedagogical methods, in teacher-student interactions, in the student-student interactions, and in many other invisible dynamics. Sometimes the hidden curriculum reinforces the prescribed curriculum, sometimes it contradicts it. For instance, the prescribed curriculum may promote a better understanding and value of democracy, but if the teacher (or the school climate) is highly authoritarian, the democratic lesson may become distorted.