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Open Access Powerful knowledge, transformations and the need for empirical studies across school subjects

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In this article, we explore the concept of 'powerful knowledge' which, from a curriculum studies perspective, refers to the aspects of content knowledge towards which teaching should be oriented. We then consider how the concept of 'powerful knowledge' can be developed and operationalized as a research framework within studies in subject-specific didactics across the curriculum by relating it to the analytical concept of 'transformation'. Transformation is perceived in this case as an integrative process in which content knowledge is transformed into knowledge that is taught and learned through various transformation processes both outside and within the educational system. We argue that powerful knowledge cannot be identified based on the discipline alone, but needs to consider transformation processes and be empirically explored. A variety of theories and frameworks developed within the European research tradition of didactics are described as ways to study transformation processes related to powerful knowledge at different institutional levels as well as between different subjects and disciplines. A comparative research framework related to subject-specific education is proposed around three research questions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 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.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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