W. Justin Highfill (Remember last name and pg number in right hand corner) Professor Rieman English 1101X 2 February 2010
The Hidden Curriculum (Aim for a more descriptive title)
The "hidden curriculum" is the supposed process by which schools "prepare" their students to enter certain class-specific jobs and lifestyles. The hypothesis, laid down in Jean Anyon's essay "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work," is that the class of the school, determined by the social class of the students and their parents, decides the social class the students are prepared for. That is, a lower or working-class school gears its students to enter into the working class, while an upper class school sets its students on the path to an upper-class lifestyle. In theory, this is accomplished through psychological and behavioral conditioning. The differences are not so much in the material as they are in their methods of presentation, with the overall goal not to develop class-specific skills, but to inflict a class-specific mind set. Great summary of Anyon’s essay. Consider whether or not you want to indicate what you’ll do in your paper here. This is done primarily through the attitudes and observed outlooks of the teachers. Seems an odd way to begin a paragraph, as if you are already in the middle of a point instead of starting a new thought. Where a lower class teacher might demand a strict and mundane regimen, using menial tasks and base repetition as a form of teaching, a higher-class teacher might place
emphasis on understanding the concept, which is arguably "teaching" vs. "learning." The focus change is based on the student, with the "teaching" method requiring little actual thought on the part of the student, while the "learning" approach hinges on and develops the student’s ability and willingness to grasp a concept. The projected result of these different teaching styles is a mindset custom tailored to the job line one is supposed to enter. The lower-class education accustoms the student to menial labor, strict organizational hierarchy, and an unquestioning acceptance for rules, a mindset fitting with working-class jobs. The higher-class education, on the other hand, having expanded the students problem solving, critical, and analytical thinking skills, is a well-suited preparation for upper class jobs involving decision making and management. You do a great job up to this pint of summarizing Anyon’s argument. I’m still curious about what you will aim to prove. It is here that the question arises. Should the schools decide what social class a child should ultimately enter? But before that question should even be raised, we need to look at the extent and deliberateness of this "hidden curriculum" theory. Anyon's essay portrays the hidden curriculum as a product of teaching styles, and thus, primarily dependant on the teacher. Are all teachers calculatingly guiding their students through subtle manipulation? Or are the varying teaching styles an indiscriminate product of environment? This paragraph feels a bit disjointed to me. Anyon's focus stems toward the end result. I’m not sure what you mean by this. What end result are you referring to here? In her quest to expose what she believes to be a grievous wrong, she fails to thoroughly examine the different possible causes of the varying classroom activity. Frame your quote: Introduce it, state what you think it means, and be sure to contextualize it.
Your use of this quote could be more effective in supporting your point if you give more information about it. "What is of primary concern is not the immediate cause of classroom activity." (Anyon 246) While this outlook spotlights the result over the origin, (Consider rephrasing this for clarity. I’m not sure what you mean here.) it does not fail to exhibit Anyon's personal opinion, and the reader ends up with a slanted view, angled toward the beliefs of the author. The causes for her observations, the reason behind the "hidden curriculum" cannot be ignored. Whether a result is insidious in nature, or the natural product of a set situation, who is to blame, if it can, or even should be changed, these are all dependent upon the why (Hmmm...I'd like to see some clarity here as well). By overlooking the origins of this situation, the Anyon's reader is forced to act upon her assumptions, her belief that the hidden curriculum is both manufactured and wrong. (Do you think that Anyon believes the classroom teaching is deliberately manufactured?) Many would argue that the hidden curriculum, (at least in the sense that Anyon portrays it) does not exist, and that differing methods in teaching are in direct response to the behavior of the children. A misbehaved, unmotivated, or uncaring group of students would not respond to the teaching attempts of the upper class teachers. They would abuse their freedom, and ultimately, the teacher would be forced to amend her teaching habits, accepting that only strict regimens could coerce orderly conduct from her students. (But isn’t it more than just classroom rules and regulations that differentiate the schools?) After a time teaching in such an environment, the teacher would abandon her former style completely, relying on regimen for all of her new classes. Consequently, in a classroom of well-behaved, self-motivated, eager students, the same teacher would be freer to allow the children to explore on their own, knowing that they have the willingness and capability to both learn and thrive, and thus she would be able
to abstain from trite, regimental methods. This argument asserts that schools do not teach social class, so as to instill it, but teach to the class of their students, tailoring their lessons and teaching methods to best suit the learning capabilities of their students. John Taylor Gatto, an ex-teacher turned activist for school reform, and author of books such as Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992), carries the opposite opinion. Introduce your quote "The current system of government factory schooling is based on belief that ordinary children cannot accomplish much, will not work hard unless coerced, tricked, or bribed, and will inevitably work, for the balance of their post school lives, - if they work at all - in large government, corporate, or institutional employment pyramids managed by a professional elite." (Gatto) These circumstances would perfectly explain the current system. According to this view, the lower class, or by this definition, ordinary students, would not be viewed as capable. They would not be expected to "accomplish much" or even to be able to work diligently without manipulation. In this case, they would be taught down to, set strict, infantile rules to keep them in place, and even treated with an obscene lack of respect, all aspects portrayed in Anyon's essay. At the same time, this view looks upon the upper-class children as "above ordinary." Those children would be held to a different standard of schooling, one tailored toward their growth and advancement, allowing them to thrive. Under this argument, in direct opposition to the previous assertion, the personality or quality of the students has no affect on their schooling. They are gauged solely on the social standing of their parents, and are treated accordingly. Both of these arguments serve to qualify the current system of schooling. Both achieve the same results, but under completely different methods. With one, the reasons are arguably good, even beneficial, and the outcome is natural. With the other, the reasons would most likely
be considered wrong, and the outcome an unjust product. (And…why is this significant? Be really blunt about why what you conclude here is important.) In conclusion, while the reasons for the current system of schooling are inconclusive, and it is even unclear if the outcome is just or unjust, both students (Both working class and the
upper classes? Or both students in Anyon’s model and those in Gatto’s model?) end
up able to perform in school. They both are afforded the academic resources to further their education through college, and with a college education, to change their place in society, be it established by school or not.
Title your works cited page
Anyon, Jean. "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Writing Conventions. Eds. Lu and Horner. New York: Pearson 2008. 246. Print Gatto, John Taylor. "Mudsill Theory, the Lancaster Amish and Jamie Escalante." www.spinninglobe.net/amishmudsill.html. 1997. Web. Justin, Please include your self-assessment next time. You do an excellent job of seeing the big picture that Anyon hopes you’ll see and articulating it clearly back to your reader. It’s also great that you’ve brought in some Gatto—we’ll be reading some of his works later in the semester. What I’d encourage you to work on as you revise is 1) making your overriding point exceedingly clear to your reade; 2) going back and working on sentence-level clarity. Your prose is very fluid and understandable in most areas, but there are enough places where your language is too vague or obtuse. You don’t want to leave your reader wondering what you are really talking about.