Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Overt Curriculum

We've all heard of the "hidden curriculum", the stuff that schools genuinely care about teaching: conformity, unquestioning obedience, the surrender of family life to the demands of the institution .  I believe it is no longer accurate to call this curriculum "hidden".  We should call it the "overt curriculum", or, in some schools, the "only curriculum".  We  should let kids major in the important subjects like "Sleep Deprivation", "Busywork Completion", "Erasure of Personal Life",  and "Random Factoid Upchuck".

I've noticed that teachers increasingly make no distinction between learning actual subjects and learning how to do school.   Getting Mom's signature has the same importance as working actual math problems.  Classroom rules are included on the science (!) test.   You know you're in trouble when the teacher claims to teach "responsibility" and "time management".

What would school look like if the goal was to teach actual subjects in the most efficient, streamlined way possible?  I'd like to find out.

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