I’ve tended to think about the importance of teaching specific knowledge in terms of effectiveness. Specifying a coherent body of knowledge, teaching it explicitly, testing it frequently, all help to build mental schema in long term memory, which are vital for advanced thought and communication. But until reading Hirsch’s latest, Why Knowledge Matters, I hadn’t thought enough about another vital aspect of building a clear, coherent, specific curriculum: the question of justice.
Once we have clarified the curriculum, we have opened it up to everyone who wishes to master it. We have made it available to all pupils, and to all teachers. Instead of a guessing game which will always favour the most advantaged, we have created a fair contest where the rules are known by all.
Imagine that footballing ability were made the major marker of employability and social prestige, but the rules of football were not clearly…
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