The “curriculum shadow” may be defined as a curriculum that is initially disdained, then reflected upon, and eventually balanced (see Uhrmacher, 1997). The idea behind the concept presumes a loose reading of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (see Eisner, 1994, p. 50), which suggested that the structure of a language influences thought and behavior. Language provides ways of seeing and ways of not seeing. When one lacks a term to describe a thing or process, those things and processes generally go unnoticed. Hence, the importance of creating curriculum terms. Such was the impetus behind the creation of the curriculum shadow.

Given that it is important to have a semantically rich vocabulary so that researchers and practitioners alike may enhance their educational perceptions, the curriculum shadow was created to account for the dark aspects of curricula. That is, one may ask, what does the curriculum privilege and what does it disdain? The “curriculum shadow” refers to what is disdained. But more, the term reveals how any curriculum has a shadow that can be discovered through reflection, and through such reflection one can create a balanced curriculum. Simply put, the curriculum shadow encourages one to find out what is disdained; reflect on that which is disparaged; and then strive to create a balanced curriculum. This concept has utility for researchers and practitioners alike, as both, in different ways, may focus on creating, implementing, and evaluating curricula.