23 SES 10 A, Knowledge, Teaching and the Curriculum; New Agendas for Research
In the context of Network 23, this symposium relates directly to the Network’s sub-theme on “The politics of knowledge and the knowledge-policy relationship”. It builds on the recently revived interest in and debates about knowledge and curriculum policy, that was initiated in symposia and keynotes which two of us led at ECER at Vienna, Gothenburg, and Cadiz and on the symposium led by Biesta and Priestley in Istanbul: all extremely were extremely well attended.
Collectively the four papers are concerned with the question “what is it that we want students to know by the time they leave full time education?” which is explored through research undertaken in South Africa, Australia and England. The Discussant will be invite to contrast the different uses of Bernstein's ideas and their conceptual possibilities, and the parallels and differences between the contexts in three countries which have very different histories but share certain common educational traditions. The papers all draw on Bernstein's theory of knowledge and the curriculum and aim to extend existing work in four directions;(i) the knowledge-signalling role of testing and test results, (ii) the relationship between the disciplines of the university curriculum and the subjects of the school curriculum, (iii) the potentual of Bernstein's conceptualisation of knowledge relations for analysing examples of the professional curriculum , and (iv) the ways that curricula preparing students for different occupations draw on the relevant disciplinary knowledge and the demands of specific occupations . The first paper by Muller and Hoadley moves beyond the familiar critiques of ‘teaching to the test’ and asks how some forms of testing signal the powerful knowledge that we want students to acquire. It draws on research conducted in schools in Western Cape in South Africa. The second paper by Yates focuses on the issue of disciplinarity and how a discipline-based curriculum raises rather than solves questions of content selection. It draws on findings from an Australian Research Council funded enquiry into knowledge building in history and physics in schools and universities. The third and fourth papers by Young and Shalem and Allais explore a key condition for students gaining access to knowledge, an adequate curriculum for preparation of teachers; in both cases, specialist vocational teachers.
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