Recontextualisation and the teaching of subjects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
8 Downloads (Pure)


This paper interrogates the concept of recontextualisation and discusses its relevance for understandings of the knowledge required for teaching subjects. While various distinctive approaches to recontextualisation can be identified, this analysis primarily draws on the work of Bernstein, with recontextualisation discussed in the broader context of work on the sociology of educational knowledge. It is argued that Bernstein's approach to recontextualisation can be usefully extended by absorbing insights derived from recent work conceptualising expertise and practice, through a reconsideration of disciplinarity, and by reflecting on historical studies of the transformation of specialised practical knowledge. It is suggested that recontextualisation can help us better understand (i) the structure of subjects and their relationship to disciplines and (ii) the relationship between knowledge and ‘content’ in the process of curriculum making. Recontextualisation is nevertheless problematic without an acknowledgement of the role of teachers in shaping and enacting recontextualisation principles and navigating recontextualisation rules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-606
Number of pages15
JournalCurriculum Journal
Issue number4
Early online date7 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding information: none

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author. The Curriculum Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association.


  • Bernstein
  • curriculum making
  • subjects
  • teacher knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Recontextualisation and the teaching of subjects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this