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The Hidden Curriculum: What Is It and Why Should I Teach It?

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1 The Hidden Curriculum: What Is It and Why Should I Teach It?
Paraeducator VideoConference Series The Hidden Curriculum: What Is It and Why Should I Teach It? Allegheny Intermediate Unit Training and Consultation Adapted from, Tina Lawson Donna Salkin Pattan

2 PaTTAN’s Mission The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Education working in partnership with families and local education agencies to support programs and services to improve student learning and achievement.

3 PDE’s Commitment to Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Recognizing that the placement decision is an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team decision, our goal for each child is to ensure IEP teams begin with the general education setting with the use of supplementary aids and services before considering a more restrictive environment.

4 Local Policy Your local school district, IU, preschool or employing agency’s policies regarding paraeducator job descriptions, duties, and responsibilities provide the final word! This slide refers participants to their local district policies for the final word on paraeducator duties and responsibilities since there is a wide variance among districts across the Commonwealth. 4

5 AGENDA Welcome The Hidden Curriculum Identifying the Hidden Curriculum
Strategies for Teaching the Hidden Curriculum Today we will talk about the Hidden Curriculum, identify places where the hidden curriculum may be in operation, and I will give you some strategies to teach the skill lessons the children need.

6 Learner Outcomes Participants will: Define the hidden curriculum
Name an environment in which the hidden curriculum operates List 3 strategies for helping students to understand the hidden curriculum These are the objectives we will accomplish today. The following skill and knowledge areas will be addressed: Standard # 2 – Development and Characteristics of Learners K1 Effects an exceptional condition(s) can have on an individual’s life Standard # 4 – Instructional Strategies K1 Basic instructional and remedial strategies and materials S3 Use strategies as directed to facilitate effective integration into various settings S4 Use strategies that promote the learner’s independence as directed S5 Use strategies as directed to increase the individual’s independence and confidence Standard # 5 – Learning Environments & Social Interactions K1 Demands of various learning environments S4 Use strategies as directed, in a variety of settings, to assist in the development of social skills

7 Hidden Curriculum A term used to describe the unwritten rules and expectations of behavior that we all seem to know, but were never taught Bieber, 1994 Curriculum is defined by the American Heritage dictionary as “a course of study, often in a particular field.” You might think of math or science curriculum. Each year there is a book that leads you through a group of lessons on various topics. Just like there are academic curricula, there is also a social curriculum. Social curriculum is not as scripted as academic curricula. There are few books that can give us the definitive rules for appropriate social behavior that are as definite as the addition or subtraction facts that you teach your students. The Hidden Curriculum is not written…it’s observed. Those who are good observers of the hidden curriculum are socially adept. Those who are not good observers of this unwritten curriculum are often considered weird, rude, or social outcasts. For example, students quickly learn that gum chewing in some classes will be accepted while in other classes it won’t be accepted. No book teaches them the skill for determining where gum chewing is accepted. For example, most students know that it’s not a good idea to tell an off-color joke in front of an adult…especially a teacher. Most students know that it’s not smart to argue with a teacher or policeman…even if they are wrong. These are skills that most students seem to know but were never taught. The phrase “hidden curriculum” was coined by Phillip Jackson in Life in Classrooms, He used the idea to draw attention to the fact that schools do more than transmit knowledge…we need to understand education as a socialization process. We learn both written and unwritten rules and the unwritten rules are often the hardest to learn.

8 The Hidden Curriculum What are some social skills that students just seem to learn without being taught? Ask participants to talk with their neighbor and list 3 social skills. Ask for some of these untaught social skills to be shared. Participants may say things like: not cursing in front of the principal not fighting on the playground, who to sit with in the cafeteria

9 Hidden Curriculum When you’re ready to say:
I shouldn’t have to tell you… Everyone knows that… Common sense tells us… It should be obvious that… Myles, 2004, with permission How do you know if a social error is a hidden curriculum error? These phrases provide a clue. It’s common sense that and everyone knows that…(examples) you don’t tell the principal that if he were nicer to kids they would like him better You don’t pick you nose You should not have to pay students to be your friend You don’t pass gas in class These are all indicative of information most students understand without being taught explicitly

10 Hidden Curriculum When your teacher gives you a warning about behavior and you continue the behavior, you are probably going to get into trouble. Do not tell other students they smell and they need to wear deodorant. These are some examples of the hidden curriculum. Many students do not understand the first bullet. Some students just do tell other students they smell, they are fat, they are ugly, whatever. To some students what is …is. Tony Atwood tells a story about a student who was in line with his mom at the market. The woman in front of them was exceedingly heavy. The boy looked at his mom and said in a loud voice: “she’s fat.” The mom was embarrassed and said “Shhhhhhhhhhh that’s not nice.” The boy yelled in a loud voice” but mommy she is fat!” This is an example of a student who does not understand the hidden curriculum of what you can and cannot comment on!

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12 Hidden Curriculum Just because the bell rang, that doesn’t mean the teacher is finished teaching. If a classmate tells you to do something that might get you in trouble, tell them to do it themselves. Many times students need to be taught that they have to wait until the teacher tells you to go or until you see the other students packing up their things. Some students have to be taught that friends do not ask friends to do something that will get them in trouble. They need to be taught that this will not make you seem cool, it will make you seem gullible and laughable. Sometimes students with Asperger’s Syndrome are so desperate for friends they will do anything. These students are smart enough to know they want friends, but not socially aware enough to make friends.

13 Hidden Curriculum When a teacher tells another student to stop talking, it’s not a good idea to start talking. When you hear another person using incorrect grammar, do not correct every time. When a teacher tells Johnny to stop talking, is that teacher only talking to Johnny? NO! The teacher is telling everyone in the class to stop talking. Children with Asperger’s are likely to correct anyone! They are the police of the school rules. This doesn’t endear them to other students or teachers…especially when teachers use grammatically incorrect sentences. VIDEO OF SOCIAL SKILL LESSON

14 Hidden Curriculum Different teachers have different rules.
When another child is getting in trouble, it’s not a good time to show the teacher something. Do not draw violent scenes at school. Some teachers allow you to talk and others do not allow you to talk. The rules will always change…it won’t do any good to focus on the fact that it’s not fair. Some children like to draw very explicit drawings Many are thought to be threatening because of drawings. If this is a student with autism, he may have been modeling something he has seen. For some students, this might be a sign that here is a problem. Talk to your teacher or guidance counselor if this happens. These are some hidden curriculum items that have to be explicitly taught to some students. We will talk about strategies to teach the hidden curriculum a little later. Now we’re going to look at some other places the hidden curriculum exists.

15 Hidden Curriculum When you are taking a shower in a group setting, do not sustain eye contact or watch other people. When you are with classmates or coworkers, do not pick your nose, pass gas, or scratch a private body part. This is critical to teach your students who are going to be taking PE in school or joining a gym. Some students have to be taught where to look. Your students have to be taught where to do this. These are things that most people do. Teaching the student not to do it is not the answer. Teaching them where to do it is the answer!

16 What other words or phrases might have two meanings?
The Hidden Curriculum Can include words: Shut up Fat Take your time What other words or phrases might have two meanings? “shut up” can mean…stop talking but it can also mean “wow” or “amazing” Fat can mean an overweight person or it can mean “cool” or “hip” The meaning of these words depend on the context in which they are used. Many of our students lack that understanding. How many times have you used the phrase “take your time’? What can that phrase mean?

17 What other body language might students have to read?
The Hidden Curriculum Can also include body language: Smiles Frowns Eye rolling Finger pointing What other body language might students have to read? Body language is how we communicate or speak with our body. It includes gestures, facial expressions, body posture, and tone of voice. Understanding body language is an important aspect of being able to develop relationships. (Myles, 2004) A smile can mean I’m happy to see you because I like you but it can also mean I’m happy I got you in trouble. A frown can mean one is unhappy…what else can a frown convey? What can eye rolling or finger pointing mean?

18 What are some other examples of the Hidden Curriculum?
Differs across: Age Gender People Cultures What are some other examples of the Hidden Curriculum? AGE: A 9 year old boy who wants to get a girl’s attention, may pull her hair, make silly faces, or gently push or bump into her. A 16 year old boy trying to get a girl’s attention using those behaviors would be considered weird. A 25 year old male who engaged in those behaviors would seem like a menace or dangerous. Gender: A girl may say “I like your shirt” or “Your hair is pretty.” Generally boys don’t make these comments. No one ever teaches them, they just know not to make them. People: Adolescents may slip in a curse word with friends but know that cursing in front or your principal, or minister, or teacher is not a good thing. In some cultures, a loud belch at the end of a meal signifies appreciation for a good meal. In other cultures, it’s just plain rude!

19 What else might you have to teach?
Hidden Curriculum What most students just “know” in the first few days of school, you may have to teach What is cool to wear and what is a “no no” Which teachers allow gum chewing When you can curse! What else might you have to teach? Richard Lavoie, an expert in supporting students with challenging learning profiles, teaches hidden curriculum items that teachers do not generally teach such as: The shortest way to travel from class to class Which teachers or administrators are “safe” people to talk with if you don’t understand something that was said or done. For example, if another student uses a word or phrase you don’t understand, who can you ask the meaning without getting in trouble? Which kids will give you an honest answer without trying to get you in trouble

20 Does this person need instruction in the hidden curriculum?
Select a clip. Try episodes of the big bang theory or Parenthood. Or describe a student you know.

21 The Hidden Curriculum Gym Church/synagogue/mosque Funeral Home
School assembly Police Station ACTIVITY Group yourselves in twos or threes and discuss the hidden curriculum that a student might need to learn to function in each of these settings. Be prepared to share your thoughts. Participants may suggest: Gym—wear what the other kids wear for gym Church—talk quietly. Do what others do, (stand, sit or kneel). Don’t talk back to the person conducting the ceremony. Don’t ask questions,. Funeral Home—talk quietly. Don’t ask to touch the body School Assembly—sit quietly or cheer based on the nature of the assembly, clap when others clap. Do not boo or say that’s stupid Police Station—do not say you did something if you didn’t—even if the officers say you can go home if you say you did it. Do not hit the officer. Note that it’s important to pay attention to the cultural expectations.

22 Does this person need instruction in the hidden curriculum?
You can add videoclips that show individuals who do not understand the hidden curriculum of an event. For example: Inappropriate dress for a party Talking back to a police officer Going to school in pajamas or some other inappropriate dress. Exhibiting poor table manners.

23 Hidden Curriculum Eating: Chew with your mouth closed
Keep your food in your mouth Put your napkin on your lap, not under your chin Do not eat someone else’s food without asking Don’t blow your nose in the napkin Do not put ketchup on everything…it may gross out others Burping out loud is not nice Here are some hidden curriculum skills that we commonly follow.

24 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Before teaching begins: Assess the environment List the expectations Decide what information the student needs to learn Identify situations that may alter the environment Devise a method for teaching the skill What is it about the environment that the student may have to be taught directly? Is the environment predictable? Does the PE teacher always follow the calisthenics, then run, then game routine or does it vary daily? What are the expectations of the teacher? For example: students may need to be taught that the PE teacher likes to be called “Coach” instead of Mr. Jones. Does Coach require school sanctioned gym uniforms or can students wear whatever they want to wear? What does the student need to learn? For example, how the student will know if Coach is angry or pleased; how to ask for help; whether you can joke with Coach or not; teacher’s pet peeves What might alter the environment? A shortened schedule might shorten the length of PE. A substitute teacher might change the order of the class activities, the rules in PE may change on field day How will we teach the skills needed to operate in this environment? We might use direct instruction, videomodeling, or a visual strategy as a reminder.

25 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Teacher-Pleasing behaviors: Expectations Pleasing behavior Likes and dislikes A look “might mean: time to work, or that’s correct, or I am not pleased, etc” Each teacher will have different characteristics Teacher expectations have to be taught because they vary teacher to teacher. Some teachers like teacher-pleasing behaviors and some teachers are annoyed by them. Some student have to be taught the “teacher look” and how to know if a teacher means business. Sometimes you need to take a picture of the teacher to teach the “teacher look.” Students have to be told which teacher will accept a joke.

26 Does this person need instruction in the hidden curriculum?
You can add video clips that show individuals who do not understand the hidden curriculum for teacher expectations. For example, video clips might show: A student who is arguing with a teacher A student who doesn’t understand that the teacher is angry with the student A student who makes a joke and clearly the teacher doesn’t appreciate the joke

27 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Social skills must be: taught in a direct and explicit manner just like you teach academic skills practiced just like you practice your golf swing! Direct and explicit mean that you have a lesson plan and that you demonstrate what the student is supposed to do, allow the student to practice the skill that you are trying to teach, and that you provide situations where the student can demonstrate his or her understanding of the skill. Once and done does not work. It takes 21 days to make or break a habit. These skills need to be practiced daily. Tiger Woods didn’t learn to be a golfer by playing one game, then going on the pro tour.

28 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
REMEMBER: If you are ready to discipline a student for a social error… ASK YOURSELF: Have I taught and practiced the skill the student needs? _____________ is from the Greek word meaning ___________! Discipline is from the Greek wording meaning TEACH. Have Participants fill in the bottom of the slide.

29 A Social Skill Lesson You may look to identify a video that shows a social skill being explicitly taught. How to raise your hand and ask a question How to enter a group and be included in the conversation Where to stand when talking to another person.

30 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
SAFE PERSON Understands the student’s characteristics and perspective Respects the student and can listen without interrupting and judging Knows when to listen and when to offer advice Understands triggers that can lead to a meltdown Brenda Smith Myles 2004 The Hidden Curriculum is ever changing based on many factors such as school, classroom, teacher, parents , etc. As instructors of students who are socially challenged, we have to be able to have a variety of strategies to teach students the skills they need to operate in and learn from their environment. This strategy is one of my favorites and one that every student needs, particularly a student who is socially challenged. A safe person can be anyone in the student’s environment who can explain the meanings of words, phrases, or situations in a way the student can understand without being judgmental or offended by the nature of the question. This slide contains some of the characteristics of a Safe Person.

31 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Teach phrases that will get students the information they need from the Safe Person: What does_______mean? Help me understand…. When (person) says/does _____, what do they mean? Show me a better way to… Students must be taught how to get the information they need. You might consider teaching these phrases in non-threatening ways so that when the student is upset he or she is fluent with the language he or she needs. What does___________ mean can be taught during reading. Help me understand (how to put this puzzle together, do a math problem, etc.) After you’ve taught the phrases, provide these sentences on an index card the student carries with him or her. When the student begins to get upset over a schedule change, you can point to the sentence that says help me to understand…why gym is ending at 1:00 instead of 1:30. When a person says YOU ROCK, what do they mean? I’m not a rock!

32 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
SOLVE Strategy S Seek Seek to understand all aspects of the Hidden Curriculum O Observe Observe what people are doing and NOT doing L Listen Listen to what people are saying and NOT saying V Vocalize Vocalize…ask questions, check for understanding E Educate Educate…teach and learn Knowledge is power! HANDOUT 1 IN YOUR HANDOUT PACKET SOLVE can be a way of viewing the world and can be used in most environments. This is not only a way to teach students to look at their world, it’s a way that adults can look at the environment so that they can observe what hidden curriculum operates and how to teach it to students. SEEK: Since the hidden curriculum is always changing, this step reminds us to be on the lookout for social situations in which the student will need explicit instruction. OBSERVE: Observation is one way we can learn about the Hidden Curriculum. Take time to evaluate the social situation before interacting. Teach students to watch how people act with each other; watch their movements; watch to see if others join a group or stand alone. LISTEN: Pay attention to what others are talking about…movie, concert, book, music? Listen so you can join the conversation by talking about what they are talking about. VOCALIZE: If you are unsure of an idiom, slang term or gesture, quietly ask for someone to explain it to you. If you don’t know what to wear to an event, ask a safe person. (If you’ve taught the sentences for safe person, the student will have the words he or she needs to ask.) EDUCATION: If you see someone struggling to understand a situation, you may want to help by explaining it. Remember that sometimes others don’t like to take advice. If you are a safe person, the student will probably want help. If you’re not sure, ask if you can help. Myles, 2004, with permission

33 Does this person need instruction in the hidden curriculum?
You can add video clips that show individuals who do not understand the hidden curriculum for teacher expectations. For example, video clips might show: A student who is arguing with a teacher A student who doesn’t understand that the teacher in angry with the student A student who attends a swim party dressed in a tux. HANDOUT 2 IN YOUR HANDOUT PACKET Pair with another person, watch the video, and Use the SOLVE strategy to help the student understand the issue at hand. Prepare to share your work.

34 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Clothing Generally, pajamas should not be worn outside When you are in public, go to the bathroom to adjust your underclothing Do not take off your clothes in public no matter how hot you are These seem like common sense. When you see students breaking these rules…they don’t understand the hidden curriculum and have to be taught these rules. This slide also reminds us that the hidden curriculum changes with social mores. It used to be true that pajamas should not be worn outside; however, as one of my colleagues puts it: “have you been in the mall lately?”

35 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Power Card Strategy Script Brief scenario written at the child’s comprehension level using a favorite hero or special interest Power Card A business or trading card containing a picture of the special interest and solution to the problem Visual aid that uses a child’s special interest to help understand social situations, language, hidden curriculum. SCRIPT:The script discusses the child’s hero who experiences a problem similar to the one experienced by the child. A statement that tells why the positive behavior is needed for the hero is included. A 3-5 step strategy is then presented in the script outlining the problem-solving method used by the hero, including a description of how the hero experiences success with this strategy. The solution to the problem behavior is generalized back to the child and a note encouraging the child to try the new behavior is written into the script. POWER CARD: This card is designed to be portable to promote use across the many environments and eventually generalized. It can be velcroed to a notebook, locker, or corner of a desk. The next slide provides an example.

36 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
Chef Jean-Paul wants you to choose one of the following ways to help calm yourself: Take 5 deep breaths, exhaling slowly after each breath. Close your eyes and slowly count from 1-20. 3. Listen to your favorite CD with your headphones on. Go to a quiet place and look at cooking magazines. Jeff is a 9 year old boy who is interested in French cooking. He wants to be a chef when he grows up. If he doesn’t understand what he has to do, he becomes frustrated and begins pacing and becoming verbally aggressive. Using a hero based on his special interest (Chef Paul), Jeff’s power card gives him 4 options, or appropriate choices, to help him calm. SCRIPT: Being a French Chef is fun. It is exciting to cook new foods. Yet sometimes Chef Paul gets frustrated, especially when he doesn’t understand the directions of a recipe or what his assistant was explaining to him. He used to get upset and yell at people or not listen to them when they tried to tell him things. But he realized this was not the best way to handle his frustrtions. Instead he has learned several ways to self-calm. He wants to share these ideas with you. If you start to get upset, just try one of the following. If you are still upset, you can try a different one. The script is reviewed many times during the day, particularly before an activity that may be frustrating for the student. The student doesn’t carry this long script, he carries the Power Card as a reminder of how to calm down.

37 Power Card Lesson You may look to identify a video that shows the use of the power card strategy.

38 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
The Incredible 5 Point Scale Name Rating Looks like Feels like I can try 5 4 3 2 1 Buron and Curtis (2003) created the Incredible 5 Point Scale to help individuals with social challenges learn to understand their emotions and reactions to events in their lives. This tool can help them to regulate their responses. It has a variety of uses. Using the scale, students are taught to recognize stages of behavioral challenges and learn methods to self calm. HANDOUT 3 IS A BLANK OF THIS PAGE THAT YOU CAN TAKE WITH YOU AND TRY, IF YOU WANT. Buron, K.D. & Curtus,M. (2004)

39 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
The Incredible 5 Point Scale Name Rating Looks like Feels like I can try 5 Kicking or hitting My head will probably explode Call my mom go home 4 Screaming and almost hitting Nervous Go to see Mr. Peterson 3 Quiet sometime rude talk Bad mood or grumpy Stay away from other kids 2 Regular kid not weird Good Enjoy it while it lasts 1 Playing hockey A million bucks Stay that way This is an example of an Incredible 5 Point Scale. It was developed with Colton, a fourth grader who has difficulty getting along with others. He likes to be in control and gets upset when he perceives if something is wrong…like if someone cuts in line…Colton may feel the need to kick that person. His ability to control his responses varies day by day. The team decided to devise this scale so Coulton could check in 4 times a day with a teacher to rate his control. Coulton decided that when he’s a 1, he has lots of control. He feels good and can make a good choice. He says sometimes he has pretty good control and usually makes a good choice and that’s a 2. Sometimes he says he doesn’t feel great. He may not want to be at school. He may not feel like talking. On these days he doesn’t have good control and that’s a 3. When he get up on the wrong side of the bed, he is grumpy and may not make good choices. At this time, he may not have much control at all. He calls this a 4. At 5, he’s having a really, really bad day. They don’t happen often but when they do look out. Sometimes he just loses all control. He can’t make good choices and may hurt someone else. The student is always part of the development of the Incredible 5 Point Scale. Buron, K.D. & Curtus,M. (2004)

40 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum
The Incredible 5 Point Scale I NEED TO LEAVE I NEED SOME SPACE PLEASE DO NOT TALK TO ME I AM A LITTLE NERVOUS I CAN HANDLE THIS! Buron, K.D. & Curtus,M. (2004) This is a general 5 point scale that can be taught to students.

41 Hidden Curriculum References
Buron, K.D. & Curtus,M. (2004). The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assisting student s with autism spectrum disorders in understanding social interactions and controlling their emotions. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Gagnon, E. (2001) The Power Card Strategy: Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with Aspergers Syndrome. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Myles, B.S.,Trautman, M.L., &Schelvan, R.L. (2004). The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations. Winner, Michelle Garcia. (2002) Thinking About You Thinking Thinking About Me. San Jose, CA: Michelle G. Winner Publisher.

42 Outcomes Participants will: Define the hidden curriculum
Name an environment in which the hidden curriculum operates List 3 strategies for helping students to understand the hidden curriculum These are the objectives we will accomplish today.

43 Upcoming Paraeducator Training
Please check the PaTTAN website: Paraeducators should watch the PaTTAN website (www.pattan.net) for information about future training opportunities. As of this date, these trainings are scheduled. What activities should I list here or should I delete the slide?

44 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Department of Education
Contact Information Tina Lawson Donna Salkin Allegheny Intermediate Unit Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Edward G. Rendell, Governor Pennsylvania Department of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak, D.Ed., Secretary Diane Castelbuono, Deputy Secretary Office of Elementary and Secondary Education John J. Tommasini, Director Bureau of Special Education Patricia Hozella, Assistant Director


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