«Nicht für die Schule, für das Leben lernen wir»
Das «hidden curriculum» vonPreparatorias in Guadalajara, Mexiko
Based on 7 months of fieldwork in 2000 in two preparatorias (college preparatory schools) in Guadalajara, Mexico, the article deals with school as a place of cultural and social production and reproduction. The «hidden curriculum» plays a vital role in this process. According to ideas that go back to the Mexican Revolution, young people should become responsible, tolerant and democratic citizens in the course of their schooling, with the teachers helping them in their role as trainers or coaches, not as omniscient authorities. Teachers sometimes allude to these ideals, especially at the beginning of the term when presenting the teaching goals in each subject. But as the term progresses, an alternative and contradictory view becomes manifest. Neither students nor teachers always stick to the rules. Rather, there are large margins of negotiation with regard to the students’ presence in class, home-exercises, exams and grades. These modes of behavior are closely related to political culture. There, two contradictory concepts prevail: first, a view of the individual as equal to all others, having the same rights and duties and to be judged by his or her objective (academic) achievements. According to the second view the person is a node in a network of social relations that is created and sustained by mutual obligations and favors. In preparatoria students learn to shift between these two viewpoints in their negotiations with teachers, and thus produce and reproduce a political culture pervasive in other realms of Mexican society and politics. The preparatoria is therefore an important site of learning for life in general.