Assess the claim that the hidden curriculum is predominantly a Marxist concept [20 marks]
A hidden curriculum is a side effect of an education, "[lessons] which are learned but not openly intended” such as the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in the classroom and the social environment. Although an important Marxist concept is also recognised by functionalist and feminist.
Althusser describes education as an ISA (Ideological State Apparatus) transmitting hidden ideology messages that support capitalism. He argues that the hidden curriculum conditions working class young people to accept social inequalities.
Functionalist would challenge this cynical and negative view, saying that ‘school seek the success of everyone.’ Functionalist in contrast to Marxist, see hidden curriculum as largely harmless, reinforcing consensus values and helping to prepare students for the workforce.
Durkheim identified two main functions of education: creating social solidarity and teaching specialist skills. He argues that society needs a sense of solidarity; that is, it s individual members must feel themselves to be a part of a single ‘body’ or community. He argues that without social solidarity, social life and cooperation would be impossible because each individual would pursue their own selfish desires. He believes that the education system helps to create social solidarity by transmitting society’s culture.
Parsons however draws of many of Durkheim’s ideas. Parson sees the school as the ‘focal socialising agency’ in modern society, acting as a bridge between the family and wider society. This bridge is needed because family and society operate on different principles, so children need to learn a new way of living if they are to cope with the wider world.
Parsons also argues that schools also perform a second function: that of selecting and allocating pupils to their future work roles. By assessing individuals’ aptitudes and abilities, schools help...