Hidden Curriculum

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The Hidden Curriculum consists of the "invisible" lessons that teach us how to behave in accordance with our assigned place in the Social Order.[1] For example, the hidden curriculum of gender teaches individuals how to speak, dress, and behave in accordance with socially acceptable gender expectations. Sanctions (e.g. ridicule, exclusion, violence) are applied against those who do not learn to speak, dress, and behave in accordance with social expectations.

Related Terms

Hidden Curriculum > Mode of Exploitation, Regime of Accumulation


In addition to the hidden curriculum of gender, there is also a Social Class hidden curriculum. A different curriculum applies to members of the Working Class as does to members of the Ruling Class. For example, those from the lower classes learn the "value" of hard work, the importance of punctuality, the importance of compliance, the "honor" of deference to authority (i.e. management/officers/clergy, etc), and so on. Members of the elite learn the importance of control, the mechanisms of power, justifications for their privilege, and so on.

Hidden curriculum is taught by parents, grandparents, teachers, and other Agents of Socialization.

Note, at first glance it might appear that the upper-class curriculum does not contain the same messages of compliance and obedience as the lower class curriculum does, but it does. Indeed, more so. The higher up in the hierarchies and an individual rises, the more important it is for them to be totally compliant and unwaveringly obedient to those above.


  1. Anyon, Jean. 1980. “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” Journal of Education 162 (1): 67-92 http://www.jeananyon.org/docs/anyon-1980.pdf