Tag Archives: Curriculum Studies

Aligning intellectual development with curriculum, instruction and assessment

Cantwell, R. H., Scevak, J., & Parkes, R. J. (2010). Aligning intellectual development with curriculum, instruction and assessment. In R. H. Cantwell & J. Scevak (Eds.), An academic life: A handbook for new academics (pp. 16-24). Camberwell, Victoria: ACER Press.

I have two co-authored chapters in this primer for new academics, both of which explores aspect of curriculum design in higher education. This particular chapter argues that University curriculum is complex and abstract, and becomes increasingly more complex and abstract as students progress through their degree programmes. It explores the kinds of intellectual demands that typify academic learning, how these change over time, and how to align curriculum, instruction and assessment to ensure rigour in learning design.

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The tutorial as cognitive apprenticeship: Developing discipline-based thinking

Parkes, R. J. & Muldoon, N. (2010). The tutorial as cognitive apprenticeship: Developing discipline-based thinking. In R. H. Cantwell & J. Scevak (Eds.), An academic life: A handbook for new academics (pp. 55-64). Camberwell, Victoria: ACER Press.

I have two co-authored chapters in this primer for new academics, both of which explores aspect of curriculum design in higher education. This chapter focuses on tutorials as a space for enacting cognitive apprenticeship. Tutorials are a pedagogical cornerstone of on‐campus academic learning environments. They are frequently constructed as the complement to a lecture program, and remain a default feature of contemporary courses in higher education. Their purposes are many and varied, and it is beyond the scope of this chapter to present the kind of comprehensive survey that would be required to do justice to the many forms and structures that tutorials take in the contemporary academy. However, one feature that all tutorials have in common, regardless of their structure, is the opportunity they provide for students to interact closely with a disciplinary expert. While we recognise this is not their only purpose, it is this opportunity presented by tutorials that we want to focus upon in this chapter. We see the tutorial as an important space within which complex disciplinary understandings can be made visible through careful learning design. To make clear how tutorials might operate to build complex disciplinary understandings, we explore the tutorial within a learning design framework called “cognitive apprenticeship”.

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On the Mistreatment of Management


Gore, J. M., & Parkes, R. J. (2008). On the Mistreatment of Management. In A. Phelan & J. Sumsion (Eds.), Critical Readings in Teacher Education: Provoking Absences (pp. 45-60). Rotterdam, Sense Publishers.

This chapter addresses the odd place that classroom management occupies in the structure and conduct of teacher education programs and in discourse on teaching and teacher education. As evident within the curricula of teacher education programs, and recently produced policy documents describing teacher standards, the idea of “management” has come to occupy a privileged place in discourse on teaching. It is our argument that “management” is mistreated in discourses of teaching and teacher education, and that this mistreatment derives in part from a misunderstanding of pedagogy. However, our argument extends beyond this simple critique, a position that has advocates throughout the field already. Rather, we seek to make what we consider a more significant point. Adopting a theoretical lens provided by the work of Michel Foucault to examine the absence of critical engagement with “management” discourse in the context of teacher education, we argue that this discourse operates as a “regime of truth” that constructs a particular conception of “the good teacher” as “classroom manager” and, through the operation of this regime on and through the individual student teacher, produces a situation in which teachers are likely to desire classroom order over the construction of an intellectually engaging learning environment. In reading management discourse as a regime of truth, we seek to challenge what has become part of the “common-sense” of teaching and teacher education, not to reject it outright, but to explore its productive effects in the constitution of particular kinds of teachers, with very specific desires, practices, and goals.

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Conceptions of social science knowledge: Assessing the impact on pedagogical reform

Griffiths, T. G., Parkes, R. J., Downey, J., Gore, J. M., Ladwig, J. G., & Amosa, W. A. (2008). Conceptions of social science knowledge: Assessing the impact on pedagogical reform. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 30 November – 4 December.

This analysis is set in the context of Immanuel Wallerstein’s work on the structures of knowledge, in particular the place of the social sciences past and present, and the potential contribution of a more integrated approach (historical social science) to the broader political project of building a more democratic, equal and just world-system. Our analysis finds that knowledge in the social science subjects tended to be treated in only a mildly problematic way, with moderate outcomes in terms of its connection to students’ lives and cultural backgrounds, and its authentic application, despite substantial attention to such characteristics of curriculum content, evident in the evolution of the History curriculum. Further we find that outcomes on these measures are substantially stronger in primary rather than secondary classrooms. We conclude by arguing that social science teachers’ meaningful engagement with the Quality Teaching framework, as part of a significant, system-wide pedagogical reform initiative, is contingent on their re-thinking the nature of their subject knowledge and its treatment in their teaching. Further, we argue that seen through the lens of Wallerstein’s world-systems theorising, this strengthens the case for the type of pedagogical work reported here to support curricular reforms in the social sciences and contribute to students’ complex understandings of their world.

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