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ERIC Number: EJ948153
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 95
ISSN: ISSN-0958-5176
Making Geography Visible as an Object of Study in the Secondary School Curriculum
Firth, Roger
Curriculum Journal, v22 n3 p289-316 2011
This article considers disciplinary-based knowledge and its recontextualisation and acquisition in the secondary school curriculum. It starts from the premise that teaching disciplinary knowledge is important. The focus is the subject of geography and the increasingly influential realist school of thought in the sociology of education and the endeavour to "bring knowledge back" into education. Social realist theorists emphasise the importance of the explanatory power of specialist or disciplinary knowledge. Basil Bernstein's ideas of hierarchical and horizontal knowledge structures are being developed in order to bring into view the epistemological principles that underpin the recontextualisation of such knowledge within the school curriculum that can support meaningful learning. The generative capacity of Bernstein's typology is illustrated by the work of Maton who places knower structures and legitimation codes alongside Bernstein's knowledge structures. The article outlines this "structure of knowledge" approach before discussing the nature of geographical knowledge. Consideration is then given to how these ideas about the structuring of knowledge might influence thinking about the geography curriculum and pedagogy. In recognising the significance of the social realist approach to knowledge and the link between discipline and curriculum, the article ends with some thoughts about the limitations of social realism as an overarching theory of knowledge for educational purposes. These revolve around the nature of epistemic communities and specifically: the extent to which social realism recognises the socio-epistemic relation between educational and disciplinary contexts; the under-theorisation of the field of knowledge production itself; and the fact that social realist theorists tend to ignore a key aspect of the epistemic relation of knowledge--what knowledge is about. Engagement with such issues is necessary to support a model of education centred on the student, the teacher and knowledge and concerned with knowledge orientation as well as knowledge acquisition. (Contains 5 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A