Mode 3 Knowledge: What It Is and Why We Need It
Throughout Alice's Adventures in Wonderland the matter of knowledge and Alice's lack of it is a constant source of wonderment to her newly met companions. Characters expect her to know things of which she has had no experience and, not surprisingly, she is often bewildered.
When we speak of ‘knowing’ something in Education, it too can be bewildering. To what are we referring? Is it knowing how young people in our schools learn about civics and citizenship? Or is it knowing the ways in which the historical circumstances of schooling have developed in different contexts or economies? Or, perhaps, is it knowing how to structure teacher education to meet the new demands of Web2.0 technologies? When we start to scope the nature of professional knowledge building in as diverse and widespread a practice of education, it becomes clear that the field is governed by so many variables as to be vast, with some corners immensely fertile and well cultivated, while others are virtually uncharted. For this reason we cannot hope to discuss the professional knowledge itself, although we have already aired the notion of schools themselves being knowledge-creating organisations in Chapter 2. Rather, in this chapter we are interested in exploring how such knowledge has been accumulated, evaluated and subjected to critique and debate. We shall seek to blur the boundaries between those who are understood to be the producers and those who are the users of professional knowledge in terms of their functions and the esteem that is attached to them.