Knowledge at the Crossroads? Physics and history across school and university

Year: 2016

Author: Seddon, Terri, Farrell, Lesley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Today the purposes of formal education are in question, and both school curriculum and university teaching and research are subject to new forms of steering, governance, accountability. This symposium brings together some findings and perspectives from an ARC-funded Discovery Project, Knowledge Building Across School and University – policy strategies and effects (carried out 2011-2015) that set out to examine knowledge issues in the context of formal education and the changes taking place in Australia. Using interviews and document analysis, the project focused on two traditional disciplinary fields, history and physics, and on both secondary school curriculum and university teaching and research phases. In terms of purposes related to theory, it aimed to examine the shape and the pertinence of these traditional disciplinary fields in the face of current debates in the curriculum literature, and contending perspectives on knowledge and the purposes of schools and universities. In relation to policy and reform agendas, it aimed to see the impact of government agendas and governance forms, and of institutional practices and conditions on the educational and research practices of teachers and academics. In this symposium we discuss some key findings of the project and of our new book from the project (Knowledge at the Crossroads? published by Springer). The three papers are written by the researchers who worked on this project (Lyn Yates, Victoria Millar, Kate O'Connor and Peter Woelert). They discuss our thinking in the light of our project about knowledge, disciplinarity, physics and history, and the debates about regulation and education purposes and, in particular, how Australia is placed in these. The papers will be followed by responses from Professor Lesley Farrell and Professor Terri Seddon who also work on issues relating to knowledge and research in education, but from different contexts, and who contributed to an earlier mid-project workshop on the work in progress.