“Hidden Curriculum”, I started thinking…. “Oh, Crap! What did I miss. We never
talked about that in college. Is it a Math curriculum? A really good Reading
Curriculum?” I was perplexed but didn’t want to embarrass myself by asking what
it was, since it must be what all the great teachers use in their classrooms.
“Am I the only one who doesn’t know what this curriculum is?” I had to find
quick internet search. So, I’m about to let you in on the secret of what the
hidden curriculum is, if you were like me, and didn’t know!
really good English Curriculum. I was super wrong on both of those fronts! It’s a term that is used to describe all of the
unwritten rules and expectations of our behaviors that we all seem to know, but
were never explicitly taught.
That’s COMMON SENSE?!
Need an example? Have you ever tried to
tell a student that something is “Common Sense”? What about “Everyone knows
that…” Chances are everyone doesn’t know, and it is not common sense. Most students pick up on these social
indicators. Students with disabilities, especially Autism have a difficult time
picking up those social cues.
A few examples :
that they smell and should use deodorant.
something, but it may get you in trouble. They don’t always have your best
interests in mind.
all the time.
have to change clothes in the gym room, don’t stare at others while they
How do you teach the hidden curriculum?
The hidden curriculum can be taught in many meaningful ways!
1. Try Video Modeling! Record a situation and play it back for students. Ask them if there was anything wrong with the situation? Was the rule broken, a hidden curriculum rule? or a known rule? What could they do to change the outcome of the situation?
2. Community Experiences- Many rules can be taught out in the community. Field trips are great to practice many skills. Going to a restaurant can help teaching using money and ordering, but some of the hidden rules can also be taught. Hidden Rules like Not Yelling that your food is taking too long, understanding that you pay after you eat at sit down restaurants, but before you eat at fast food restaurants. Waiting in line until it is your turn to order is another hidden skill that might not be explicitly taught.
3. Mistakes- Sometimes you start to tell a student that something is common sense, or they should already know about something. IF you are finding yourself saying this, double check to make sure the item is not a hidden curriculum skill. If it is, it’s the perfect opportunity for a learning moment. We ALL learn from mistakes. It’s often times the best way to learn.
4. Game it Up! – Make it a fun game. Have students play a wheel of fortune style game that let’s them answer questions about the hidden curriculum once they have learned some hidden curriculum rules. It’s great for review! I use this game I made in my classrooms! Click here to check it out!
I’d love to know what items you have found yourself teaching, or how you teach the Hidden Curriculum in your classroom! Leave a comment below with your answers! I can’t wait to hear from you!