The USM Teacher’s Handbook Decodes the Hidden Curriculum and Inequalities in Early Education

Wed, 04/27/2022 – 09:40 | By: Ivonne Kawas

How do class, race, teacher interactions, and friendship influence student achievement?

Drawing on a rich ethnographic study of first-grade classrooms across the United States, Dr. Karen Kozlowski, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), seeks to uncover the potentially unseen, but whose race and social class impact student success in the early years of schooling in his latest Routledge-published textbook, “The Hidden Academic Curriculum and Inequality in Early Education.”

As her text points out, children from affluent and racially advantaged households live and do better in school than economically and racially disadvantaged children in the United States. and more equitable education for children.

“These differences exist at all levels of education, from preschool through middle school, and place children on lifelong trajectories of inequality,” Dr. Kozlowski said. “My research aims to explore how this inequality emerges and develops in students’ early school years, understanding how first-graders learn—from their families, schools, and peers—what to to succeed academically. Decoding the curriculum and hidden processes can help us provide a better and more equitable education for children in the United States.”

As part of his study, Dr. Kozlowski conducted an eight-month ethnography in four first grade classrooms at two racially and socioeconomically diverse schools. In addition to observing how teachers deliver instruction and how students experience it in the classroom, Dr. Kozlowski interviewed families from a variety of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds about what they thought it took to succeed on the job. academically, the types of strategies they used to teach these skills to their children. , and how the children themselves interpreted their own classroom experiences.

For preschool teachers, Dr. Kozlowski encourages them to develop strategies for being aware of the hidden curriculum.

“Teachers need to be aware of the hidden curriculum and be much more explicit about what students are expected to learn—and how students can convey their knowledge of what they’re learning—from instructional activities. Strategies to achieve this could be learned and practiced through teacher training and professional development.

She adds, “Families, teachers, and peers all play a role in shaping children’s skills and understandings of academic success. Encouraging, modeling, and even evaluating good collaboration for students of all demographic and friendship groups could help foster skill development and content fluency for all students.

The text offers key recommendations and in-depth analysis that will be of interest to postgraduate students, researchers and scholars in the fields of early childhood education and the sociology of education. Those interested in racial, ethnic and social inequalities more generally will also be interested in the analysis.

To learn more about Dr. Kozlowski and his research, see his USM Professor profile. To learn more about the manual, visit Routledge.

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