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Reinforcing the values of the mechanistic paradigm through the hidden curriculum: Implications of a teacher's actions for students in a secondary classroom

1 May 1992


Educators do not concern themselves enough with monitoring the messages they may convey to students through what has come to be known as the hidden curriculums's. Value systems influence teachers through their own socialization process and through their educational experiences. As a result, most of the values society deems important become integrated into the educator's ideology and pedagogy. The validity of society's value system must be evaluated, and perhaps even altered, because the biases of a patriarchal, mechanistic world view are embedded within it. A patriarchal , society values archetypally masculine modes of thinking (analytical) because males have, for centuries, been the dominant figures in our communities. The mechanistic paradigm asserts that we can "know!,' '" our world through scientific method and this world view is also characterized by its roots in the patriarchal society. Teachers must take care that such narrow-minded ways of seeing the world are not transmitted to students and are not treated as the only means of describing the world. Based on over two weeks of observation time within a high school English classroom,research provided some suggestions about the origins and implications of the teacher's hidden curriculum. In addition to observations, a literature review on the hidden curriculum and the mechanistic paradigm contributed addition insight, along with informal interviews of teachers, and a brief questionnaire administered to students, comprised the bulk of this naturalistic inquiry. Conclusions based on inferences made regarding classroom procedures indicate that values and norms that reflect society's adherence to the mechanistic paradigm have permeated teachers' hidden curriculum. It seems that, in society, much more emphasis has been placed on the significance of masculine modes of thinking (which are analytical, linear), rather than on a balance between both masculine and feminine (which are intuitive, non-linear) modes of thinking. Educators must begin to realize that messages they transmit through the hidden curriculum may carry hints of the mechanistic ideology to students and therefore may perpetuate the ideals associated with a patriarchally-influenced society.


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