Revealing the Hidden Curriculum
One of the projects I've been working on recently is conducting a needs analysis of Bible college students for whom English is not their first language. We know that academic English is one of the barriers preventing many students from achieving their potential in tertiary education. Yet language is not the only barrier. The unspoken expectations hidden within every discipline form an academic culture which may impede progress, and lead to frustration and even failure. The aim of this project is to reveal academic cultural norms in the study of theology in order to make explicit the expectations within this community in which students are being taught and assessed.
“The student has to learn to speak our language, to write as we do, to try on particular ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, reporting, concluding, and arguing that define the discourse of our community" (Bartholomae 1985:134).
This research project, in partnership with the Australian College of Theology, uses surveys, interviews and essay analysis to reveal the hidden curriculum causing barriers for L2 students. The findings will provide a strong base on which to build the English for Theological Education textbook, online course, diagnostic tools and teacher training. Stay tuned!
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”