Professor Liz Mossop: What we don’t know we are learning: the power of the hidden curriculum

As we sit in classrooms and learn new skills and knowledge we may think all our development comes from what a teacher is telling us, or what we are discovering in books and from our classmates. For those of us who teach, it is easy to assume that our students learn according to the curriculum we write, deliver and assess. However, the formal curriculum does not tell the full story.


Simply being in a complex learning environment like a university or indeed a workplace means that we are developing other knowledge, skills and behaviours through the power of the hidden curriculum.

The hidden curriculum was first described in the context of the school classroom – as well as learning how to write and do sums, children were noted to be learning “the rules of the game”. Strong role models influence their behaviour and attitudes, and further elements such as rules and rituals also make up this hidden curriculum. This is also classically described in the training of medical students, with their professional behaviour being most strongly influenced both positively and negatively by aspects of the environment in which they are being taught.

This talk will question the concept of the curriculum and what we think we are teaching or learning. Liz will draw on her own research and discuss how the hidden curriculum can be a positive influence when we are encouraged to reflect on our own development. It will inspire you to reconsider what you know about how we learn, and how to teach our students more effectively.

  • Wednesday 22nd May
  • Lecture 18:00
  • Wine Reception 19:00
  • Location: Jackson Lecture Theatre, Minerva Building

Professor Liz Mossop is Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Development and Engagement at the University of Lincoln. She is a veterinary surgeon who graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh and worked for several years in a private veterinary practice before commencing her academic career. She has a Masters degree and PhD in Clinical Education, and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy in 2016.

Liz is passionate about student engagement and the student experience, and has led multiple projects focussing on these topics leading to awards such as the Guardian University Award for Employability Initiative in 2017 and the ASPIRE Award for Excellence in Student Engagement in 2016 from the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE).

This talk is free to attend, but booking is essential, book your tickets here

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