Teaching the Hidden Curriculum: One Item at a Time

Teaching the Hidden Curriculum 1 Item at a Time

It’s time to move on to teaching the hidden curriculum. Today I want to focus on one of the most common ways to teach it–introducing and discussing 1 item per day.  Keep reading for ways to fit this into your classroom routine as well as pros and cons of this type of instruction.

Teaching the Hidden Curriculum 1 Item at a Time--3 Ways to Introduce Them to The Class

If you follow any of my social media accounts in the last month or so, you have seen the little squares that make up the picture above.  I have been trying to post 1 item from the hidden curriculum of our classrooms, workplaces and communities each day.  The ones above are just some examples.  Here are some easy ways to fit this type of hidden curriculum into your teaching routine.

3 Ways to Incorporate 1-A-Day Hidden Curriculum Items Into the Day

  • Example of the hidden curriculum of appropriate behavior in an elevator, which changes in different regions.Review the hidden curriculum items each day as part of the morning meeting or calendar routine.  Just like the weather, the students could draw a card of hidden curriculum items and discuss them.  Have them give examples of how it might occur and even role play how they should respond appropriately in a situation, depending on the item.  For instance, they role play how to interact appropriately in an elevator.
  • Make the hidden curriculum part of a daily journaling routine by using them as a writing prompt or having students respond to the item.
  • Incorporate reviewing items during daily social skills lessons.  Start your lesson with it as an ice breaker kind of routine.  Once you start talking about the item in the hidden curriculum, it’s easy to jump off into other social skills issues.

It’s easy to implement the hidden curriculum instruction this way, but there are definitely some pros and cons of using just this type of instruction alone.

Pros of Introducing 1 Hidden Curriculum Item a Day

  • By the end of the year, you have covered 180 items of common items.  That’s 180 items that the students didn’t know to be aware of.
  • It’s easier to fit this type of instruction into the day without significant disruption to other curriculum needs, like academics.
  • It’s easy to pull items from some of the books about the hidden curriculum (see affiliate links below for examples).
  • You can also easily interject items that come up that are particularly relevant to your students at that time (i.e., situations they have encountered recently).

Cons of Introducing 1 Hidden Curriculum Item a Day

  • It doesn’t teach the students how to recognize these issues on their own, so while they know these individual items, each item still has to be individually taught (which isn’t terribly efficient).
  • It tends to be rote learning that teaches rules, but it’s difficult to teach the flexibility that some items require (e.g., things it’s ok to do in one setting but not in another).
  • Because the rules are sometimes not immediately applicable to their current situation, it’s sometimes difficult to help the students see the importance of what they are learning, which may affect their motivation.

So, as I said there are plusses and minuses if you just use this type of instruction for the hidden curriculum.  In my next post, I will focus on a way to teach the skills a little more flexibly.  In the meantime, if you are looking for hidden curriculum items to teach, check out the books below.  Disclosure: These are affiliate links.  This means I receive a small commission if you purchase them, but your price is the same.  I only recommend items that are ones I use and these are definitely on that list.

Until next time,

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