What Should Schools Teach?
Disciplines, subjects, and the pursuit of truth

Paper: 978 1 78277 217 0 / $32.95
Published: November 2017  

Publisher: UCL IOE Press
172 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/5"
The blurring of the distinctions between pedagogy and curriculum, and experience and knowledge, has resulted in a generation of teachers who are confused about the part that each of these plays in the education of children. Schools may still teach through subjects, but there is little consensus about what constitutes a subject and what they are for. The aim of this book is to contribute to a more robust rationale for, and understanding of, what schools should teach – the curriculum. This is not to dismiss the significance of pedagogy, how children learn or the personal knowledge and experiences they bring to the classroom. Rather, to become a successful teacher depends upon understanding the respective roles of each. But the curriculum – what to teach – is logically prior to how to teach it. There is no more important question in education.

Table of Contents:
Foreword, by Michael Young
1. Disciplinary knowledge and school subjects, by Alex Standish and Alka Sehgal Cuthbert
2. Mathematics, by Cosette Crisan
3. Foreign languages, by Shirley Lawes
4. Physics, by Gareth Sturdy
5. Biology, by Fredrik Berglund
6. History, by Christine Counsell
7. Geography, by Alex Standish
8. English Literature, by Alka Sehgal Cuthbert
9. Art, by Dido Powell

Reviews & Endorsements:
"A necessary corrective to the corrosive impact of naive post-modernist thought on curriculum theory, this book provides secure foundations for both curriculum theory and curriculum design. It should be essential reading for both policymakers and teachers."
- Tim Oates, CBE, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, Cambridge Assessment
"A highly accessible exploration of the relationship between social-realist approaches to knowledge production and ways of making such knowledge available through school subjects. Readable and thought-provoking."
- John Beck, Emeritus Fellow, Homerton College, Cambridge