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Education and Gender

5. Gender and the Hidden Curriculum

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In this lecture, we think about the ways education might reinforce gender differences through the hidden curriculum, focusing in particular on: (i) the meaning of the term “hidden curriculum” within sociology, as the implicit, unofficial messages schools transmit; (ii) some key ways in which the hidden curriculum imparts ideas about gender, such as teachers’ different expectations regarding girls’ and boys’ behaviour; (iii) two key concepts in thinking about gender in curricula – androcentrism and patriarchy.


In this course, Dr Sam Shields (Newcastle University) explores the ways in which gender shapes educational experiences and attainment. In the first lecture, we think about how gender has influenced patterns of schooling historically, with a particular focus on girls’ education in Britain. In the second lecture, we consider the gender attainment gap which has emerged in recent decades, whereby girls perform better than boys in most subjects. In the third lecture, we look at two key explanations for this – “feminisation” arguments and gender socialisation. Next, we look at gendered patterns of subject choice. In the fifth and final lectures, we turn to think about how gender differences might be shaped and reinforced within schools by the hidden curriculum.


Dr Sam Shields is Lecturer in Education at Newcastle University. She has written on a number of topics within education studies, focusing especially on gendered experiences of education and research methods in educational settings. Her publications include Working Class Female Students’ Experiences of Higher Education: Identities, Choices and Emotions (2021) and Research and Education (2015, co-author).

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APA style

Shields, S. (2021, December 06). Education and Gender - Gender and the Hidden Curriculum [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Shields, S. "Education and Gender – Gender and the Hidden Curriculum." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Dec 2021,

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