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Toolkits, Translation Devices and Conceptual Accounts

Essays on Basil Bernstein’s Sociology of Knowledge


Edited By 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 12: The Moral Career of Intelligence, Pedagogical Practices and Educational Psychology 197


INTRODUCTION The notion of intelligence is the conceptual lynchpin of educational psychology. Following Bernstein, we argue that shifts in conceptualizations of intelligence are associated with changes in the pedagogic discourse surrounding learning and achieve- ment, and will in turn prompt changes in the pedagogic practice of teaching (Bernstein 1990). In this chapter, we explore the changing conceptualizations and pedagogical practices associated with the concept of intelligence as expressed with- in educational psychology textbooks. These textual representations of the relation- ship between intelligence and academic success embody more than ruminations among intellectuals about the nature of intelligence.Textbooks also are written with an audience in mind: in this case, students of educational psychology, and increas- ingly, teachers (current and prospective). In this way, these texts also represent his- torical documentation of the rationalization of intelligence. Our examination of these texts reveal three distinct periods surrounding the notion of intelligence: the period of the individual (1903–1939); the period of the person (1940–1969); and the period of the self (1970 to present). We investigate the factors that shift both the conceptualization of intelligence as well as its associat- ed practices from one period to the next. A specific focus is given to links between conceptions of the moral attributes of intelligence, the student classification struc- ture, and conceptions of teaching as pedagogic practice. As we reviewed the texts, C H A P T E R T W E L V E KAREN BRADLEY AND JOHN G. RICHARDSON The Moral Career of Intelligence,...

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