The Hidden Curriculum......

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Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 10 2005 20:33
The Hidden Curriculum......

Has anyone ever read any of Bowles and Gintis' theory on education? Remember doing them in sociology and being absolutely enthralled by what they had to say embarrassed

Anyway

They described how capitalism needed an obedient, hard working and docile work force that was too fragmented to challenge its authority and that school was the arena in which the socialisation needed for such a system took place.

Their studies found that pupils who attained lower grades tended to be aggressive, independent and creative and that for a pupil to be succesful it was necessary to have good punctuality, do as the teacher says, have the ability to remember and replicate what they were told and in general be obedient to a hierachy of power and knowledge. Now this is pretty obvious, the best way to learn is, of course, to follow the information and guidance of someone who knows better, thats why we have the SWP.

They later go on to say that an acceptance of hierachy is created and matured through schooling, if a student is to do well he or she will follow instructions, obey orders and stay in line, it is essential that authority is defered to the teacher, the teacher is in effect the boss or the line manager.

The children are motivated by external rewards, they may be pressure from parents or simply the attainment or Grades. These are necessary because the actual work undertaken, as in life, is often boring and monotonous. The Grade is a compensation for the fact that they have little or no say in the information they are being filled with and the passive acceptance of authority that must acompany this learning process if they are to be 'succesful'.

For Bowles and Gintis the division of subjects and roles in school is similar to the division of labour, subjects are compartmentalised and divided up, the pupil studies subjects which are completely seperate from each other, without connection. Different specialists teach different subjects, just as a different boss may supervise one workforce thats condition and actions are completely seperated from another workforce whose tasks differ in their process and technicalities.

They also believe that education helps develop the myth of equal opportunity and the idea that if you work hard and do as your told the 'world can be your oyster'. This myth quickly comes crashing down for many once they leave the confines of education and sell themselves on the market, for others it persists and they spend their whole lives sitting in line so in order to one day be able to have the pleasure of making others sit in that line and thus wield the power of perpetuation in their turn.

In short Bowles and Gintis believe that school is essential to capitalism as without it it would not be able to produce obedient, punctual, subservient workers who are compelled to immerse themselves in work that is monotonous, boring, and often without logic, in order to be able to pay the bills and put food on the table.

WeTheYouth
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Dec 10 2005 20:38

Yeah i think the book was called 'Schooling in Capitalist America'. Its main thing from my reading was that without a strong education system churning out varying degrees of skilled,unskilled and intellectual workers who are obedient, capitalism could not function in the capacity it does today.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 10 2005 20:44

of course their arguments being taught in A level kinda pisses on their bonfire, but only in the way that the introduction of the minimum wage for some suggests that the labour party is the party of the working class!

I bet Bowles and Gintis would love to visit the average school in britain with kids pulling knives on teachers and skiving for weeks on end, only returnng to school to pull a gat on the head master in assembly!

WeTheYouth
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Dec 10 2005 20:52
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
of course their arguments being taught in A level kinda pisses on their bonfire, but only in the way that the introduction of the minimum wage for some suggests that the labour party is the party of the working class!

I bet Bowles and Gintis would love to visit the average school in britain with kids pulling knives on teachers and skiving for weeks on end, only returnng to school to pull a gat on the head master in assembly!

My A Level sociology was amazing, best subject, best tutors and best planned course i have ever taken.

Yeah but i think it Willis?? Who did 'learning to labour' where he basically said that working class failiure is something which the capitalist system needs as it produces cheap unskilled labour and that when students rebel against school, im the long term its what the bosses wanted. So all the people who took knives to school or whatever are basically fulfilling the role the education system has set out for the working class.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Dec 10 2005 20:57
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
of course their arguments being taught in A level kinda pisses on their bonfire, but only in the way that the introduction of the minimum wage for some suggests that the labour party is the party of the working class!

So 'doesn't kinda piss on their binfire'? confused

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Bodach gun bhrigh
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Dec 10 2005 23:24

I reckon schools are conformity factories, kids hate the school system, so they take it out on each other, thus destroying class solidarity, and letting the teachers off the hook, hence the hatred of neds, chavs, trevs etc. People are more inclined to look down on these people as they've made a mess of their lives in school, with all its factions, rather than recognising their intrinsic solidarity. If kids didn't have to spend 7 hours a day forced to stay in contact with other kids with all their hormonal troubles, the world would be a lot happier place. And a lot more tolerant.

WeTheYouth
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Dec 10 2005 23:39
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
I reckon schools are conformity factories, kids hate the school system, so they take it out on each other, thus destroying class solidarity, and letting the teachers off the hook, hence the hatred of neds, chavs, trevs etc. People are more inclined to look down on these people as they've made a mess of their lives in school, with all its factions, rather than recognising their intrinsic solidarity. If kids didn't have to spend 7 hours a day forced to stay in contact with other kids with all their hormonal troubles, the world would be a lot happier place. And a lot more tolerant.

Its the way kids are taught and the lack of relevance which causes trouble not to mention the competative nature of modern education.

afraser
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Dec 11 2005 00:20

Sounds related to John Taylor Gatto

John Taylor Gatto wrote:
Our problem in understanding forced schooling stems from an inconvenient fact: that the wrong it does from a human perspective is right from a systems perspective. You can see this in the case of six-year-old Bianca, who came to my attention because an assistant principal screamed at her in front of an assembly, "BIANCA, YOU ANIMAL, SHUT UP!" Like the wail of a banshee, this sang the school doom of Bianca. Even though her body continued to shuffle around, the voodoo had poisoned her.

Do I make too much of this simple act of putting a little girl in her place? It must happen thousands of times every day in schools all over. I’ve seen it many times, and if I were painfully honest I’d admit to doing it many times. Schools are supposed to teach kids their place.

I picture this animal Bianca grown large and mean, the same Bianca who didn’t go to school for a month after her little friends took to whispering, "Bianca is an animal, Bianca is an animal," while Bianca, only seconds earlier a human being like themselves, sat choking back tears, struggling her way through a reading selection by guessing what the words meant.

WeTheYouth
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Dec 11 2005 00:22

Is he a social pyschologists??

I think its pretty obvious that schooling has a definite aim to create in part an unskilled workforce.

afraser
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Dec 11 2005 00:46

No, teacher: "He quit teaching on the OP ED page of the Wall Street Journal in 1991 while still New York State Teacher of the Year, claiming that he was no longer willing to hurt children." His writings are online at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/prologue.htm - sound like Bowles and Gintis and also Ivan Illich [http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6405]. He might be involved with US Libertarian Party.

WeTheYouth
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Dec 11 2005 01:08
afraser wrote:
No, teacher: "He quit teaching on the OP ED page of the Wall Street Journal in 1991 while still New York State Teacher of the Year, claiming that he was no longer willing to hurt children." His writings are online at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/prologue.htm - sound like Bowles and Gintis and also Ivan Illich [http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6405]. He might be involved with US Libertarian Party.

Ill have to check it out when im more awake! thanks.

ticking_fool
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Dec 11 2005 08:44

The ever wonderful Harry Cleaver does an analysis of grades in terms of Marx's analysis of piece wages which is really effective, here (http://www.eco.utexas.edu/facstaff/Cleaver/OnSchoolwork200312d.pdf) linked from here (http://www.eco.utexas.edu/facstaff/Cleaver/hmchtmlpapers.html). I give the short version out to my (undergrad) students as part of a self assessment exercise - pointless, but it gives me a minor buzz of satisfaction. Kind of ironic really, it looks like I'm subverting the role of schooling but in fact I'm still acting as the foreman for alienated labour.

random
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Dec 15 2005 17:14

also useful are deschooling society by ivan illich and pretty much anything by john holt.