Transforming the Subject Matter: Examining the Intellectual Roots of Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Sep. 20, 2007

Source: Curriculum Inquiry 37 (3),  2007, pp. 279–295.

This article questions the basic assumptions of pedagogical content knowledge by analyzing the ideas of Jerome Bruner, Joseph Schwab, and John Dewey concerning transforming the subject matter.

It argues that transforming the subject matter is not only a pedagogical but also a complex curricular task in terms of developing a school subject or a course of study. This curricular task, however, has been obscured by the concept of pedagogical content knowledge that construes transformation as primarily a pedagogical task in terms of transforming the subject matter of an academic discipline into pedagogical forms.

The article further argues that what constitutes the subject matter of a school subject is an essential issue of curriculum research and inquiry—an issue that is crucial yet largely underexplored in Shulman and associate's conceptualization of teachers’ specialized subject matter knowledge.

Updated: Feb. 17, 2008