Education is a critical process aimed at preparing students for life and being active and productive members of society. Nevertheless, students from varying backgrounds and attending different schools do not receive the same education. There is an educational disparity between social classes, in particular between the affluent and marginalized communities. This essay will discuss Jean Anyon’s article Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work on examining social class and schools’ physical, educational, and cultural characteristics that contribute to the divide between social classes.
Anyon’s paper Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work addressed the issue of students from different socio-economic backgrounds having notably varying educational experiences. The author argues that the social class designation of the school results in a “hidden curriculum” being offered to students affecting the content and quality of education that they receive (Anyon 68). Anyon utilized ethnographic research to collect necessary data on curriculum and teacher-student relationships in different schools. Specifically, the author collected data from five schools with varying social class designation using classroom observation, student and staff interviews and assessed the materials and formal curriculum offered to the pupils. In order to determine the social class of each school, Anyon collected additional information on the incomes and occupations of parents whose children attended the schools participating in the study.
In addition, the author developed his own understanding of social class and what characteristics define it. According to Anyon, social class “is a series of relationships,” including ownership relations, relationships between people, and relationships between people and their occupation (69-70). For example, a person from a working-class is likely to be involved in the production process, being a source of profit for others and “a small, fragmented part of a larger process” (Anyon 70). Thus, the author views social class from the point of view of the relation of people towards the production process and the process of creating capital.
In education, the designated social class of the school translates into the nature of work students are required to do. For example, in working-class schools, pupils need to follow a specific set of steps, whereas, in middle-class schools, they should work to get the correct answer (Anyon 73-77). Meanwhile, affluent profession school allows pupils to engage in creative activities, and in upper-class executive elite schoolwork for students constitutes developing analytical skills (Anyon 79-93). Therefore, it can be argued that the nature of assignments offered to students focuses on preparing them for a specific role within the system of creating capital, conditioning them for specific ownership relations. Thus, schools with varying designated social classes facilitate the development of specific economic relationships, supporting the persistence of the economic inequality between social classes in future generations. Overall, Anyon’s research provides unique insight into the impact of education on economic development and the role of students from different socio-economic backgrounds in it.
In summary, Anyon’s article Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work considers how the designated social class of the school affects the curriculum that students are exposed to and their future roles in society. The article holds substantial value as it grants a better understanding of how education shapes students’ future relationships with their work, ownership, and other people. It also illustrates one of the reasons for the economic inequality between social classes persisting in existing and growing.
Anyon, Jean. “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” The Journal of Education, vol. 162, no. 1, 1980, pp. 67-92, Web.