Hidden Curriculum

The ‘hidden curriculum’ refers to the unwritten or unofficial values, language, skills and perspectives that students learn in school that may or may not be part of the formal curriculum. These unofficial lessons are often unnoticed by school staff, parents and the wider community, hence why it is known as the ‘hidden curriculum’.

The ‘hidden curriculum’ often schools teenagers on what to wear / or how to make their uniform ‘cool’/fashionable; how they should interact with peers, teachers, and other adults; how they should perceive different individuals or groups of people; or what ideas, language and behaviours are considered acceptable or unacceptable.

Below is a link to a presentation by Brenda Smith-Myles of the Ohio Centre for Autism and Low Incidence. The presentation addresses the hidden curriculum and its applicability to individuals on the autism spectrum. The hidden curriculum is comprised of items that are not typically taught to neurotypical children and youth, but are assumed and expected knowledge. Despite not being directly taught, the hidden curriculum is extremely important. Violation of hidden curriculum rules can have an adverse effect on school performance, physical well-being and how well a student/child is able to positively relate to the community and home.