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New book series on knowledge and the curriculum launches

7 January 2021

A new book series edited by UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academics on Knowledge and the Curriculum launches today (7 January).

Teacher speaking to class. Image: Phil Meech for UCL Institute of Education

The series, published by UCL Press, explores the nature of knowledge in contemporary societies, academic disciplines, school subjects and other fields of knowledge production. In doing so, it aims examine the relationships between knowledge disciplines in schools and elsewhere.

The series emerged from the Subject Specialism Research Group at the IOE and a major international network of curriculum theorists (KOSS) centred around research groups in Karlstad (ROSE) and Helsinki (HuSoEd). It draws upon the expertise of all three research groups for its editors and advisory board.

Two books have been published today to mark the new series: a second, expanded edition of ‘What Should Schools Teach?’ and ‘Knowing History in Schools: Powerful Knowledge and the Powers of Knowledge’.

'What Should Schools Teach?' examines curriculum design and the nature of knowledge and its value to learners and society. It addresses a number of questions, including: What is knowledge for? What knowledge is important for children to learn? How do we decide what knowledge matters in each school subject? And how far should the knowledge we teach in school be related to academic disciplinary knowledge?

The book provides a rationale for what schools should teach that offers key understanding to teachers of the relationship between knowledge (what to teach) and their own pedagogy (how to teach), and how both need to be informed by values of intellectual freedom and autonomy.

'Knowing History in Schools' explores the central role that subject knowledge plays in education, and the need for new thinking about how we understand knowledge and knowledge-building in learning and teaching History. It aims to help history education students, history teachers, teacher educators and history curriculum designers navigate the challenges that knowledge-building processes pose for learning history in schools. The book explores these issues in dialogue with the eminent sociologist of curriculum Professor Michael Young and his conceptualisation of 'powerful knowledge.'

Two online events marking the launch of the series are due to take place on 20 January and 24 February. Additionally, as part of the IOE Coffee Breaks series, ‘The knowledge-led curriculum in turbulent times’ takes place on 22 February 2021.

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Image: Phil Meech for UCL Institute of Education.