The problem with thinking ‘content is king’ in education

Jan 1, 2014 by

By Larry Cuban –

Entangled, impossible to separate, that is what content and pedagogy have been and are in U.S. schooling. But not to reformers.

For decades, in science, math, and history policymakers, researchers, teacher educators, practitioners, and parents have argued over what kind of content should be taught in classrooms, playing down the inevitable presence of pedagogy or how the subject should be taught. Amnesiac reformers, pumped full of certitude, have pushed forward with “new science,” “new math” and “new history” curricula many times over the past century believing that the content in of itself — particularly delivered by academic experts — will magically direct teachers how to put innovative units and lessons into practice in their classrooms.

Well-intentioned but uninformed, these reformers have ignored how knotted and twisted together they are. Knowing content is one strand and how to teach it is the other. Entwined forever.

Recently, educational researchers have acknowledged this age-old marriage by calling it “pedagogical content knowledge.” They have expanded it to include knowledge of how students learn, the context in which teaching occurs, and other areas. Alas, this idea has yet to crack the mindset of reform-minded policymakers.

via The problem with thinking ‘content is king’ in education.

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