A Bernsteinian & realist synthesis to critique instrumental & constructivist theories of knowledge & learning
MetadataShow full item record
The aim of this paper is to defend the place of theoretical knowledge in vocational education and training curriculum in Australia by drawing on the theories of Basil Bernstein and critical realism. Competency-based training is the mandated model of curriculum for publicly funded Australian VET qualifications. Such a defence is required by the near-hegemonic dominance of constructivist theories in learning theory on the one hand, and by instrumentalism in curriculum as enforced in VET in Australia on the other. Whilst there are many differences between Bernstein's theories and critical realism, drawing from each provides insights that together can be used to effectively critique the marginalising of theoretical knowledge in VET curriculum. Theoretical knowledge in the curriculum is important for both social and epistemic reasons, and Bernstein's analysis provides insights into the former, while critical realism provides insights into the latter. Both are predicated on acknowledging boundaries between different forms of knowledge, and on providing students with access to the structures of knowledge, the nature of the boundaries between different kinds of knowledge, and the means to traverse them.
4th International Basil Bernstein Symposium
© 2006 Rutgers University. Refer to the Proceedings of 4th International Basil Bernstein Symposium for access to the definitive, published version. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper.