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Toolkits, Translation Devices and Conceptual Accounts

Essays on Basil Bernstein’s Sociology of Knowledge

Series:

Parlo Singh, Alan R. Sadovnik and Susan F. Semel

For over four decades, Basil Bernstein researched ‘the internal organisation and educational context of the school’ specifically, and educational systems generally. In particular, he was interested in the powerful forms of knowledge transmitted through schooling systems; who gained access to these forms of knowledge; how they did so; and with what consequences. His research began by examining the differences between language and communication patterns in the institutions of the home/family and of the school, and extended to examining the structuring of pedagogic discourse from the level of the state to the classroom.
This collection brings together chapters by researchers from South Africa, Portugal, the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia, to build on the theoretical concepts developed by Bernstein to explore issues of access and acquisition to school knowledge. In addition, contributors explore the strengths and limitations of Bernstein’s work for understanding the structuring of educational institutions, as well as the potential of the theory for assisting educators to make a difference in the lives of students.

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Chapter 10: Pedagogy and Moral Order 161

Extract

INTRODUCTION We can see that the key to pedagogic practice is continuous evaluation (Bernstein, 1996, P. 50). This chapter considers the concepts of instructional and regulative discourse specif- ically in relation to the pedagogic device. In doing this, two issues are drawn out. We argue for a consideration of two forms of regulative discourse in operation in the theory—a regulative modality operating at the macro level, and an ‘expressive order,’ which is concerned with classification at the level of the distributive rules. Tracking Durkheim’s influence on Bernstein, this leads us to consider how the ‘what’ is constituted at the level of the distributive rules. At the level of the recon- textualising rules, we identify a second regulative modality operating in terms of framing.This is generally expressed as control over the hierarchical rules, but it also regulates the instructional discourse. According to the theory, the regulative dis- course at this level regulates the instructional discourse—both in terms of what is selected and how it is to be transmitted. Bernstein is emphatic when considering the recontextualising rules that the regulative discourse is dominant. Thinking about the regulative discourse in terms of two levels, we argue that current classroom based empirical work has focused attention on regulative dis- course solely at the level of the recontextualising rules. Instructional discourse in C H A P T E R T E N JOHAN MULLER AND URSULA HOADLEY Pedagogy and Moral Order Sadovnik_8 to 11.qxd 2/11/2010 12:32 PM Page 161 these...

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