The Hidden Curriculum
For centuries, schooling has been closely linked to the workplace. But what does this ‘Hidden Curriculum‘ mean for students? In 1976, political scientists Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis proposed a radical theory about the purpose of education in capitalist societies: Schools are used to prepare children for working in capitalist businesses. This theory is known as the Correspondence Principle. In this blog post, we’ll explore this theory and how the hidden curriculum are both important to students future socialisation.
According to Bowles & Gintis, schools have a hidden curriculum that prepares children for becoming hard-working and obedient employees. This involves teaching students to accept authority structures and meritocracy – i.e., those who work hard will be rewarded. Conformity is also rewarded; students who challenge authority or don’t follow the rules are often given lower grades than their peers. Correspondence principle theory shows us that these patterns become ingrained over time so that by the time they graduate, they’re well-prepared to enter the workforce without questioning the status quo.
In addition to teaching acceptance of hierarchy and meritocracy, schools also teach students to be motivated by external rewards such as grades and recognition from teachers and peers. Students learn that if they do something well, they will be rewarded with praise or recognition from others – which reinforces their willingness to work hard for external rewards rather than intrinsic motivation. In other words, school teaches us that “the ends justify the means” – even if those ends (grades) may not actually align with our true interests or goals in life.
Bowles & Gintis’s Correspondence Principle has some troubling implications for how we view education today. It suggests that school is not just a place where we learn facts and figures; it’s also a place where we learn values and beliefs about our place in society – values that may not always align with our own personal interests or goals in life. As students, it’s important to recognize this hidden curriculum so we can make informed decisions about our educational paths and question any institutionalized beliefs or practices that don’t line up with our own values or aspirations in life.
The hidden curriculum of schooling is an important concept for students to understand when considering their education paths, as it can help them make informed decisions about their future and recognize any biases or institutionalized beliefs they may encounter along the way. By understanding the implications of Bowles & Gintis’s Correspondence Principle, students can better equip themselves for success both inside and outside of school.
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