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Open Access Curriculum principles, didactic practice and social issues: Thinking through teachers' knowledge practices in collaborative work

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Previous subject-specific education research has shown that education in social studies subjects is dominated by strong subject traditions, while current social issues are seldom addressed and the connection to academic disciplines is weak. Putting this result into context, we discuss how the debate initiated by Michael Young about 'powerful knowledge' as a curriculum principle for the selection of school knowledge gives important theoretical insights. However, we argue that these insights can be developed further by linking them to continental Didaktik theory, in particular to Wolfgang Klafki's models of 'categorical Bildung' and 'critical-constructive didactics' and Ingrid Carlgren's perspective on teaching as different knowledge practices. These ideas make clear the link between the selection of knowledge at curriculum level and the selection and transformation of knowledge at classroom level. Based on this theoretical argument, we discuss how researchers and teachers can collaborate around the selection and transformation of knowledge in a school setting, thereby contributing to a knowledge reservoir for the teaching profession. We conclude with a discussion of an ongoing case study taking place in an upper primary school in Sweden, which exemplifies our theoretical argumentation, showing how a 'time-geographical' perspective can inform teaching about migration as a phenomenon and current social issue.
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Keywords: EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL; KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE; POWERFUL KNOWLEDGE; RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CIRCLES; SELECTION AND TRANSFORMATION; SOCIAL STUDIES SUBJECTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2018

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

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