Types of Curriculum

It is easy to see how commonsense influences our curriculum.

The written /mandated curriculum is obviously influenced by commonsense.  Those in power decide  what knowledge is important and what should be taught. Keeping in mind that not everyone would share the same ideas, the written curriculum can offer one singular view of what commonsense is.  For example, only one worldview is often expressed due to limited resources. The written curriculum is oppressive or exclusive to some people.  The written curriculum shows us what we should teach.

The hidden curriculum (what students learn but isn’t part of the formal curriculum) contains commonsense elements.  The first thing that comes to my mind as a future inclusive educator is segregation! What are we teaching students if we segregate those with different learning needs? Students will learn that those students are different or do not belong and soon enough it becomes a common/shared idea.  Once exclusive ideas are formed they are almost impossible to change.  Actions are more powerful than words.

Curriculum as a place can involve the commonsense of a specific community, culture, religion, etc. This shows that there is not one commonsense idea and that it changes from place to place.

Furthermore, the null curriculum (what we leave out or do not focus on) shapes what kids believe should happen or is important.  For example, I am telling my students that race doesn’t matter if I never teach them about it, whether I believe that to be true or not.

Since we are surrounded by commonsense ideas everyday, it does not surprise me that or class definition about curriculum largely reflects a commonsense view. As future teachers, we have the power to reshape ideas of commonsense through our words, but more importantly, through our actions. We need to consider who our resources favor, how our actions may exclude a group or person and the message we are sending our students when we don’t teach something.  If we think about those things and critically look at our teaching we will be able to offer an education for our students that goes past the basic status quo.

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