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R8C1 Progression: Does the curriculum-as-delivered provide an appropriate sequence and depth of learning experiences?

Teaching which consistently achieves cumulative progression for learners requires high levels of...

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Andrew Pollard
5 May 2010

Teaching which consistently achieves cumulative progression for learners requires high levels of subject knowledge, three components of which were identified by Schulman (1986).

‘Content knowledge’ is fundamental. Teachers in full command of the raw material of their subject are better able to guide, support and extend the learning of their pupils.

However, teachers must also understand how to use such knowledge in their teaching. Through this ‘pedagogical content knowledge’ expert teachers connect the subject to the learner. The teacher understands the best way of explaining key points, of framing particular tasks, of using examples for their subject. One TLRP project studied the most effective ways of teaching secondary science (Millar et al, 2006). Another investigated ‘threshold concepts’ – big ideas without which further understanding in a field is blocked (Land et al, 2006).

The third and final form of subject expertise is ‘curricular knowledge’. This concerns understanding the way subject material is ordered, structured and assessed by national requirements, institutional policies or other circumstances.

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