Monday, November 16, 2009

Social class and the hidden curriculum of work

I really liked this article, I read it a little late because I had a lot going on but I'm really glad that I did decide to read it rather then just skip posting about it. There were a few lines right off the bat on page three that really caught my eye and have been making me uneasy about the way some teachers teach.

"The teachers rarely explain why the work is being assigned, how it might connect to other assignments, or what the idea is that lies behind the procedure or gives it coherence and perhaps meaning or significance."

"Work is often evaluated not according to whether it is right or wrong but according to whether the children followed the right steps."

- I think the first quote really upset me because if a student doesn't know why they are doing something than why should they bother doing it in the first place? Students need to get the respect that they deserve, they have the right to know why they are doing something and how it connects to a lesson. That is what teaching is about, making connections to the outside world as well as in the walls of the classroom. Students need to have things explained to them more than once in order for them to learn and keep something with them. I'm in my second year of college and I know that I still need things repeated several times until I fully understand, for younger students this is more critical.

- The second quote is a little disturbing to me as well, just because a student doesn't follow instructions word for word even though their work is proven to be good should they be punished? I don't think so, you can not follow some of the right steps and still have a great outcome. For students they need a little leeway so they can do trial and error for what works best for them.

"In the middle-class school. work is getting the right answer. If one accumulates enough right answers, one gets a good grade. One must follow the directions in order to get the right answers, but the directions often call for some figuring, some choice, some decision making."

- I don't believe that it is always about getting the right answer, its about trial and error and seeing which method works best for you and your learning style. Yes getting good grades is about getting the right answers and doing well but I believe that it is also about the effort that you put in. Someone who tries with all they have and gets the wrong answer in my book should get just as much credit as someone who put in little or no effort and got the right answer.

"I want to make sure you understand what you're doing so you get it right"; and, when they go over the homework, she asks the children to tell how they did the problem and what answers they got."

-I personally think is is a great way to teach. You are letting the students tell you how they got an answer and if they happen to get the wrong one then you can go through it with them and see where they might have gone wrong rather then not paying attention to it.


  1. That first quote you choice got me upset to. I would never teach that way. Rarely explaining things to students and not comparing it to other things isnt going to help stimulate the students minds. Its just going to fustrate them and have them lose interest.

  2. I agree- I think the worst thing teachers can do is to not explain to their students why it is important to learn certain things and the reasons for doing what they are doing. No one, whether it is a child or an adult, wants to spend time working on something if they feel like it is 'pointless'.