WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S NULL CURRICULUM?

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Teacher’s Diary

Fraught with our own typical social challenges in Nigeria today, many parents are wondering whether schools are really churning out enough individuals that have desirable personal qualities other than academic-knowledge.

Simply put, a school’s null curriculum is what is not taught or considered for teaching. It is what your students do not have the opportunity to formally learn. In other words, null curriculum are learnings that have not been included in your school’s overt curriculum.

Many times what is absent or not included in your curriculum is often immensely present in what your students are learning. Teachers must therefore be reflective about what is, but is not being taught and how they might contribute to bringing these out to the fore.

A school of thought feels that by their very omission, it is being suggested that these learnings or teaching opportunities are not important. This might be true if the omission(s) was/were intentional and done with an agenda in mind.

On the other hand, teaching materials that are not covered, taught or included in your school’s curriculum document might have been unintentionally omitted. These omissions might actually not hinder your students’ academic development if you are able to guide your students in developing their inquiry skills and natural curiosity.

A way to address these omissions might be to ensure that you are offering your students extra-curricular (also known as co-curricular) activities that teach skills mirroring your null curriculum. These may be skills reflective of and directly addressing the social situations in the Nigerian society today. For instance many schools in the US now are offering students simulated sessions on tackling random gun-man invasion into schools.

Our children and young adults face all forms of abuse and experience all types of violence and violations today. Many of our adolescents are being: groomed by Yahoo-yahoo boys, engaged in sex-trade and used to courier drugs on street. Jobs are hard to come by for our graduates; armed robbery and abductions are prevalent.

As schools go back this week and the next, I invite you to reflect on your school’s null-curriculum. It might be a rewarding exercise to come together as a teaching team to draw up all those quality teachings and potentially rewarding learning opportunities that are there but not overtly written in your curriculum document.

See whether your school can include these items you’ve deducted within your co-curricular activities. The enrichment of your extra-curricular activities foster amongst other values: the development of social skills and relationship-building; development of time management skills; development of self-esteem and builds the spirit if commitment.

Omoru writes from the UK