Friday, October 9, 2015

The Unsaid: An Implied Curriculum

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Only Tommy Lee could say so much with a look!
An implied curriculum when aligned with an institutional philosophy can be a powerful and effective union that brings together a community and a school. However, when an implied curriculum runs in contrast, the effects can be counterproductive and corrosive. These are, as Jackson suggests, “subtle or not-so subtle messages that are not part of the intended curriculum” (as cited in Smagorinsky, Boggs, Jakubiak, and Wilson, 2010).

Inside a classroom this implied curriculum pushed upon by the teacher’s “assumptions about the social futures of children implicitly shape their present action to bring about those very futures” (Smagorinsky, 2010). In a negative light, a teacher who subscribes preconceptions that in turn drives instruction, discipline, social interactions, and reaction against the grain of the institution or philosophical stance of the school can cause great conflict. However in a positive light, the effect can be highly successful as in my current placement.

Smagorinsky et al., (2010) believes that when educators “consider whose values become institutionalized in the school structure, what social futures are projected for students, and how teachers—either consciously or unconsciously—help to bring [positive outcomes] about those futures” (p. 6). This is the case in my current placement, the implied curriculum is aligned with the educational philosophy of the school. How we interact and the classroom management plan within each classroom is charged by this implied curriculum that is not displayed throughout the school, nor is it policy, or a selling point to our enrollment. The Life Space Crisis Intervention program is the underlying implied curriculum that is “suggested” and “promoted” by administration. Training is provided on a voluntary basis. This is why I believe this an implied curriculum. It helps us speak, interact, and empathize with our students while promoting our overt curriculum.


Smagorinsky, P., Boggs, G. L., Jakubiak, C., & Wilson, A. A. (2010). The implied character curriculum in vocational and nonvocational English classes: Designing social futures for working class students and their teachers. Journal of Research in Character Education, 8(2), 1-23. Retrieved from

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