A Comparative Study of the Influence of the Hidden Curriculum on the Sex-Role Socialization of American and Nigerian Primary School Children.

Author: Abe, Iyabode Idowu

Supervisor: Oloko B. A.

This thesis demonstrates and compares, in a two-part study, the influence of the school's hidden curriculum on the sex-role socialization of American and Nigerian primary school children. Selected aspects of the hidden curriculum, namely - instructional materials and teacher-classroom behaviour - were investigated. In all, fifteen hypotheses were tested, while six different instrument were used to collect data for testing the hypotheses. These included a Checklist for Coding Sex-bias in Instructional Materials (CACSIM); and adapted version of Flander's (1970) classroom observation schedule into Teacher-Initiated. Interaction Analysis Categories (TIAC); researcher-made Teacher Rating Scale (TPS); Children's Sex-role Perception and Adoption Questionnaire (SPAQ); Sex-role Adoption Test one and two (SRATs I and II), and Mothers' Responsibility training and Activity-exposure Questionnaire (MORAQ) A total of 252 subjects, consisting of 120 pupils and their mothers and twelve teachers were involved in the study. In the analyses, cross-tabulations, using percentages, means, chi-square test and t-test were used and the tests were held significant at the p<0.05 and 0.01 alpha levels. The first part of the study re-establishes and establishes that the hidden curriculum of the American and Nigerian schools was sex-biased, respectively. Employing CACSIM, TIAC and TRS for this aspect of the study, the finding included the following:- 1. More male than female characters predominate both as leading and subsidiary characters. 2. In terms of the quality of character presentation, male characters were more favoured than their female counterparts. 3. There was evidence of gross inequality in teacher-classroom behaviour both in terms of number and the quality of such interactions. 4. Teachers had more favourable perception of, and expectations for, boys than for girls on selected personality attributes and school subjects. 5. However, as anticipated, the hidden curriculum of the Nigerian school was found to be more sex-discriminatory than that of the American School. Having re-established and established that the hidden curriculum of American and Nigerian schools was sex-stereotypic respectively, the second part of the study focused on the probable influence of sex-biased schooling process on children's sex-role socialization. In addition, a comparison of such influence in the two schools was undertaken. In investigating the likely effect of the hidden curriculum on children's sex-role adoption, we relied on the assumptions inherent in the cognitive developmental approach (Kagan, 1964; Kohlberg, 1966), and the social interactionist self-theory (Mead, 1934; Rose, 1962). The SPAQ, SRATs I and II were employed to collect data for this part of the study, Five hypotheses were tested and the findings included the underlisted:- 1. While there was no significant sex difference in children's academic self-concept, we observed a significant sex different in their social self-concept. 2. There was significant sex difference in children's educational and vocational aspirations. 3. Children were found to be sex-stereotypic in attributing leadership and occupational roles to women and men. 4. Nigerian children were found to be more sex-biased than their American counterparts. 5. Age was a significant factor in children's sex-role adoption. In addition, familiar variables, particularly, mothers' responsibility training was investigated in order to ascertain the relative influence of the school over other agencies of socialization, specifically, the home, on children's sex-role adoption. MORQ was utilized to collect relevant data to test the three hypotheses generated on this part of the study, all of which were accepted. The findings included the underlisted:- 1. That children's sex was a significant factor in the volume and type of domestic tasks mothers allocated to them. 2. That there was a significant sex differentiation in mothers' academic and occupational expectations for children. Data from a subgroup of mother and children subjects indicating that their homes appeared equigender really highlighted that the school might be more critical in children's sex-role socialization because children from such homes were found to be as stereotypical in attributing leadership and occupational roles to women and men as their counterparts from sex-stereotypic homes. Finally, our findings were interpreted based on the assumptions underlying cognitive self theory. Based on the findings of the investigation, certain conclusion were drawn and suggestions were made for sex-equity in the schooling process. Some of these suggestions included:- 1. Creating general awareness about the unintended outcomes, particularly that of sex-bias in the schooling process. 2. Training and retaining of teachers in anti-sexism and establishing a non-sexist orientation in all academic areas, particularly among authors and publishers. 3. The role of the universities should include the establishment of women's studies programmes and intensifying research work on women. Considering the pioneering nature of the study, and the limitations which included, among others, the fact that only two of the three major ethnic groups were represented in the sample, the findings and conclusions were held generalizable only to the southern part of Nigeria.