Knowledge and knowers in teaching and learning: an enhanced approach to curriculum alignment

  • Sherran Clarence University of Cape Town


John Biggs’ well-known curriculum design approach, constructive alignment, is widely used in
higher education in the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. Developed with one
dominant account of learning through curriculum, this approach has a gap in terms of accounting
for other kinds of knowledge building, and associated knower development. This paper proposes a
complementary approach that accounts for different kinds of knowledge and knower building.
Using Legitimation Code Theory’s concept of Specialisation, the paper argues that accounting for
what makes a discipline ‘special’ in terms of its basis for legitimate achievement can enable
curriculum writers to align curricula more effectively with that basis in different disciplines. Using
a case study approach, this paper shows how this tool can provide lecturers and academic
development practitioners with a useful mode of analyzing curriculum alignment to more ably
account for differential development of disciplinary knowledges and knowers.

Research Articles