Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • McCutcheon, G. (1997). Curriculum and the work of teachers. In D. J. Flinders & S. J. Thornton (Eds.), The curriculum studies reader (pp. 188-197). New York: Routledge.

This book chapter examines the relationship between curriculum and teachers' work. Rather than thinking of these as separate from one another, McCutcheon looks for the relationships between them. She discusses the hidden curriculum, that which students have an opportunity to learn through everyday goings-on at school. The hidden curriculum is not the intended student learning. She provides examples, such as the stereotyped messages about minority and ethnic groups due to messages implicit in teachers' actions or textbooks. The hidden curriculum may consist of the development or lack of development of a work ethic. The null curriculum constitutes what students do not have an opportunity to learn at school, either because courses are not offered, or because students are restricted from enrolling in certain courses, or because materials and other resources are limited. The overt curriculum is the formal course of study developed at a policy level. McCutcheon compares the interaction between teachers and the overt curriculum from the traditionalist view and from the deliberationist view. The traditional view is that teachers are to teach the overt curriculum as mandated from above. Their ability to do this is limited by their understanding of the intentions of the curriculum and their skills and knowledge to do what is intended. According to the deliberationist view, teachers develop the curriculum based on intentional decision-making informed by an understanding of how students learn in their classrooms. Their role is that of active creators of classroom curriculum rather than passive interpreters.

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