In her article devoted to social class and school experiences, Anyon concludes that “differing curricular, pedagogical, and pupil evaluation practices emphasize different cognitive and behavioral skills in each social setting and thus contribute to the development in the children of certain potential relationships… to the process of work” (90). From my perspective, this theory might be accurate when it comes to countries or regions with large income level gaps or when comparisons are made between children from poor immigrant families and those from wealthier crime-free communities. Regarding personal experiences, my friend’s child, a fourteen-year-old daughter of legal immigrants to the U.S., visits a title I school and notices that science teachers do not challenge students with difficult practice problems and emphasize tasks linked with everyday life calculations. At the same time, one of my distant relatives teaches maths at a private school with wealthier students, and her workplace stresses the development of abstract and strategic thinking by means of math contests for middle school students and solving mathematical chess puzzles. This difference makes me agree with Anyon’s thesis and implies that children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, unless they demonstrate exceptional talents, are provided with more basic knowledge that will enable them to solve easy and predictable everyday tasks at work. In contrast, those from richer families are not taught to rely on some ready-made instructions and are motivated to analyze problems systematically and invent unique solutions, which could support them in fulfilling leadership and managerial duties in the future. Based on this, I support the author’s viewpoint and believe that classrooms’ varying levels of intellectual challenge led to the situation in which wealthier students are taught to approach work creatively and as strategic thinkers rather than narrow-minded individuals trained to follow instructions.
Anyon, Jean. “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” Journal of Education, vol. 162, no. 1, 1980, pp. 67-92.