Rethinking the foundations: towards powerful professional knowledge in teacher education in the USA and England

Brian Barrett, Jim Hordern

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, we aim to outline what foundations can offer in terms of understanding education and educational practice, and thus for providing a basis for teachers’ professional knowledge. We look critically at the struggle foundation disciplines often experience with coherence and integration in terms of both their relation to each other and to broader (e.g. philosophical or sociological) thought. We begin to rethink foundations more as a (strong, disciplinary and professionally orientated) region rather than a singular or a set of singulars (to use Bernstein’s terms), although one that is rather different from other regions. In doing so, we suggest that Bernstein’s work, in providing a rich lens to understand curricula and pedagogic practice while holding social and political issues and implications close, is a useful exemplar of the type of educational knowledge which should be at the core of the foundations. A revitalized region of educational foundations can offer the ‘powerful professional knowledge’ that will enable teachers to make knowledgeable professional judgements in educational practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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