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The Knowledge-based Bookshelf
By Robert Peal.
Parents and Teachers for Excellence are campaigning for more schools to adopt a â€˜knowledge-based approach to learningâ€™. But what does this really mean? Well, a number of recently published books can help answer this question.
These books tend to fall into one of two categories: culturalist and cognitivist. Culturalist books make an argument for knowledge on the basis of what is often termed â€˜core knowledgeâ€™ or â€˜cultural literacyâ€™. This encompasses key events, concepts, ideas, people, places and â€“ yes â€“ facts, which once learnt allow pupils to lead a rich intellectual life and engage in human societyâ€™s great conversations.
Cognitivist books take a more scientific approach. Influenced by recent work in the field of cognitive psychology, they argue that complex thought can only be achieved once a requisite amount of information has been stored in oneâ€™s long-term memory. Such books have a practical bent, offering teachers clear strategies for improving pupilsâ€™ memory of subject content, and the complexity of their thinking.
Both culturalist and cognitivist arguments play a vital role in this debate. Below are listed ten books that will help you find out more.