Hidden Curriculum and School Culture as Postulates of a Better Society

Hidden Curriculum and School Culture as Postulates of a Better Society

Renata Jukić (J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5799-9.ch001
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When considering the role of school as the most widespread institution among all social organizations, one cannot avoid the question of its educational role in the development of each individual, but also of its function as an instance of transfer of socially desirable values. In following the sociological and pedagogical perspectives, it is necessary to ask oneself which mechanisms within the school enable the adoption of attitudes and building of the value system in children and young people, how much can be systemized, prescribed, and controlled by pedagogical experts and teachers, to what extent they are aware of the entire process, which part of it belongs to intentional education, and which part belongs to the field of the hidden, implicit curriculum, and what the role of the institution (school) culture in the formation of value patterns in the contemporary society is. This chapter explores this hidden curriculum.
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According to Jacques Ullman, the education theory is necessarily normative. No matter how one defines it, it strives to define and achieve a human ideal. Yet, every definition of such a human ideal is necessarily linked to the attitude in relation to human nature. It is possible to believe that human nature must be adjusted to the teachings on nature or, on the contrary, that the purpose of the education is to influence the human nature. In any case, the theory of education presupposes a consideration in relation to man, to what he is, and what he is asked to be (Jacques Ullman, 1987; according to Polić, 1993, p. 101).

The starting point of the national curricula are the educational values ​​and goals delivered through the educational structure consensus, as expressed in the national educational standards, which form the framework for drawing up of the school curricula. Apart from achieving the educational and academic outcomes, we expect schools to, by means of their educational work, respond to challenges of today’s time in which we are increasingly speaking of the crisis of values. We expect them to respond in a way that is most approachable to children and young people, and to help them adopt the basic human values. Human dignity, kindness, freedom, justice, social equality, solidarity, dialogue, tolerance, diligence, honesty, peace, health, preservation of nature and the human environment, and other democratic values ​​represent the preconditions for the survival and development of the human community, and the basic premise for creating a better, more humane society. The systematization of values ​​which represent the basis of the educational work in schools is one of the issues pertaining to educational systems in all modern countries. The national curricula place the same requirements before all schools, expecting respect for the same values and following of the same ethical and moral norms and principles, yet each school responds to these requirements in its own way (Male, 2012). The internal life of the school, apart from the legal regulations, curriculum documents, and school policies, is likewise determined by the behaviour of teachers, its administrative and auxiliary staff, and students, by the general atmosphere within the school, and the school ethos (Kasen, Berenson, Cohen & Johnson, 2004). The target approach to education cannot be reduced to teaching contents, methods, and forms of work, and the evaluation procedures because school also feature hidden, undefined, often unintentional influences because of which the process of adopting the values ​​does not follow the same “rules” and patterns as the process of acquiring knowledge, i.e. academic achievement.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Curriculum Theories: The theories that explore the relationship between the goals and outcomes of the educational system, and the goal and purpose of the entire curriculum-oriented analysis of the educational system in a society.

Functionalist Theories of Education: The theories according to which the social cohesion is based on society values, and in line with which the school—alongside the primary socialization institutions (i.e., school and religion)—represents the strongest mechanism for the transfer of values.

Values: A basic principles and beliefs according to which people direct their lives and behaviors.

Society: A complex concept, most broadly defined as the entirety of human relationships toward nature and mutual human relationships (i.e., a sum of social phenomena that do not represent only the living and working communities, but communities of behavior, values, customs, tradition, and traditional values).

Social Reconstruction: One of the curriculum ideologies focused on various society issues and injustices toward its individuals, which perceives the school as a place of reconstruction of social system and of creation of a better, more just society.

Teacher: A humanist, organizer, and leader of the teaching process, coordinator and supervisor, motivator, rightful stakeholder, facilitator, and predictor of the school culture improvement.

Upbringing: A systematically, intentionally organized process through which positive personality traits, attitudes, worldviews, as well as personal, moral, working, and social values are developed.

Role of the School: The school is a place where children and young people grow up, connecting the family and society. The role of the school is to enable the development of young personalities into rightful and competent society members, which implies the educational aspect – adoption of general theoretical and professional knowledge, but also of society norms, attitudes, and values.

Interaction: The relationship between two or more persons, which leads toward an interdependency in their behavior or experiences, the key notion of the entire education on the quality of which the education system quality is based.

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