Implied Curriculum Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


Within the modern cultural experience, classroom curriculum takes on a greater role than ever. As society continues to evolve, so must the classroom in order to maintain the rubric necessary -- to educate and prepare students for the challenges of the modern world. There remains a set of challenges, though, for educators, parents, and students alike. With so much new information available, how does the modern school add important new subjects into the curriculum while not crowding the basics and diminishing the ability to provide important tools that each student needs? Thus, the political, social, and cultural changes, most especially those that have occurred since 1970, are in direct conflict with skills in reading, math, and science -- all of which show an uncomfortable stagnation in America's school systems (Erwin, 2004).

In many ways, though, the set of learning of objectives that are planned or guided by the school board of a given area, in other words the curriculum has both objective and subjective value for the modern learner. Most define the curriculum as the holistic or total learning experience provided by the school -- the cultural norms, methods, strategies, experiences, and of course, the content of lessons. However, since we know that nothing in school exists in a vacuum, there is both an objective curriculum and an implied or subjective curriculum. The objective curriculum is easy to define; it focuses on the structure and materials that require mastery over the course of the educational experience. This is often measured through quantitative means -- tests, exams, standardized scoring, etc. However, the implied or subjective curriculum may or may not be as articulated and focuses on culture, values, emotions, and preparation for the social aspect of teaching young people how to be valuable citizens (Kelly, 2009).

In the objective curriculum, committees plan, purchase and implement standards. In the implied curriculum, which may affect the learner as much if not more than the objective curriculum, teachers may not plan the implicit nature of values, norms and cultural behaviors since each teacher is unique with their own set of values, norms and behaviors. While the school may suggest "teach learners to be good citizens," the interpretation of this may fall well beyond an individual instructor's ability to conform -- in fact, this is so pervasive that one scholar noted "whether teachers intend to or not, they teach values" and other subtle messages about psychology, behavior and culture (Parkay, et al., 2010, p. 43).

A prime example of the disconnect between curriculum and implied curriculum comes when one reviews most schools' physical education and athletic programs within the Secondary level. The express or objective curriculum of physical education is typically a structured way to teach learners about the rules of sports, particularly lifetime sports, the importance of exercise and health, and…

Sources Used in Document:


Physical Education and Sports. (2011). HubPages. Retrieved from:

Erwin, J. (2004). The Classroom of Choice: Giving Students What They Need and Getting What You Want. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

George, J. (2009). Classical Curriculum Design. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. 8 (2): 160-79.

Kelly, A. (2009). The Curriculum. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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