Learning Development and the Hidden Curriculum

#Becomingeducational What has the Hidden Curriculum got to do with me?

In this powerful blogpost, Helen Webster discusses the power of the Hidden Curriculum: the ‘rules’, mores, tropes of university ; of our disciplines; and of the way we teach, learn and assess.

Helen is not discussing issues of ontology or epistemology – but the underlying assumptions of what students are expected to know and do as university students: be punctual, attend, be this way, write that way… know the rules and don’t ask questions!

Critical pedagogues like Freire speak of colonising student minds with the way that we practice and the way that the narratives and discourses of teaching and learning are not made explicit – and thus are not open to negotiation and challenge.

But what, you might ask, has this to do with me as a learning developer or academic skills tutor?

Well – one thing that we can do is reveal these often hidden narratives and sets of expectations… We can meet our students where they actually *are* – welcome them for the human beings they are with the the talents that they do have… We can devise ways to help them showcase their strengths and develop their emergent academic identities without losing who and what they are already.

Moreover – we can work to defuse negative labels – especially those attached to ‘non-traditional’ students – who tend to be treated as deficit if they do not already know what our rules are…

Anyway – don’t just take it from us – check out Helen’s post for yourself…

Best,
Sandra & Tom

rattus scholasticus

I learned about the hidden curriculum during my PGCE. It was an eye opener.

What is it?

The hidden curriculum is the incidental, unintended, internalised, informal, unacknowledged, unofficial lessons that are embedded – ingrained – in the curriculum so deeply that we’re hardly aware we’re passing them on with the learning outcomes that we openly state. This is good behaviour, this is the correct way to communicate, this is the appropriate thing to do, this is the right sort of person to be. The hidden curriculum is the result of our own social norms, values, beliefs etc, that creep in alongside what we intend to teach. Education is after all a form of socialisation.

These implicit lessons may help to create a positive learning environment, but they may also take the form of prejudice; invisible lessons about gender, class, ability or race, as we socialise students into what we feel is ‘their place’ in academia and in doing so…

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Behaviourism and Learning Development

#Becomingeducational What is an Academic Mentor? What should an Academic Mentor do?

AT LondonMet we have developed an innovative Academic Mentor Scheme – with learning developers embedded within every School, working closely with staff and students to improve student success…

This week we had an excellent session with Janette Myers and Rosie MacLachlan of St Georges – looking at the embedding of learning development in the curriculum via small, repeated drips of practice that teach, model, rehearse and reinforce successful learning practices…

As a timely follow up, we are re-blogging this post from Helen Webster exploring behaviourism and what it might teach us about how we can help students study successfully.

This post is the beginning of a short series on HOW STUDENTS LEARN… and how we can help them…

rattus scholasticus

I’m currently thinking again about what training for Learning Developers might look like. The day on One to One work focussed on the professional skills we need for this context, but bits kept creeping in from what I called the What of LD, rather than the How.

One of the elements I suggested might form the What of LD was an understanding of How Students Learn. To support the development of learning, a learning developer probably should understand what learning is and how it comes about! I’ve been looking back and reviewing things I learned during my PGCE, and in this and future posts, wanted to re-examine the theories I learned then, and reflect on how they might come into my work as a Learning Developer rather than a teacher. Theory is often derided as abstract and irrelevant, but to me, it’s a very practical tool to understand what…

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