Knowledge selection in initial teacher education programmes and its implications for curricular coherence

  • Lee Rusznyak WITS


There are a multitude of concepts and techniques that could be important for teachers to
learn during their initial teacher education (ITE), but indiscriminately including all of them
would result in an overcrowded and fragmented curriculum. Given the limited time for ITE,
rational knowledge selection choices must be made if coherent programmes are to be
offered to prospective teachers. This paper explores the approaches taken to addressing the
critical challenges facing education in South Africa and the principles from knowledge
selection that arise from these approaches. Different conceptions about how best to address
these challenges offer directed priorities to guide knowledge selection decisions for ITE
curricula. Examples of knowledge selection principles that variously promote conceptual or
contextual coherence are presented and analysed, and tradeoffs associated with each one are
considered. Although some recontextualising principles are mutually incompatiable, others
have the potential to coexist. In a four-year qualification, where sequencing choices can be
made, there exists the possibility of introducing different principles at different times
without unduly compromising internal coherence. A challenge for those who design ITE
curricula is to design conceptually coherent and/or contextually responsive curricula fully
aware of the affordances and limitations offered by different recontextualising principles

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