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Knowledge-building Karl Maton University of Sydney.

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1 Knowledge-building Karl Maton University of Sydney

2 2 Plan How can we build powerful and influential ideas? 1.How to build cumulative knowledge –compares the modes of theorising exemplified by Bernstein and Bourdieu 2.How to win friends and influence people –analyse nature of intellectual fields such as Education and sociology

3 3 Everybody is somebody’s bore ‘many of his readers profess to find his ideas difficult, obscure and elusive’ (Atkinson, 1985: 6) ‘extraordinarily difficult for novices to get to grips with’ (Power, 2006: 492) ‘the renowned complexity, if not obscurity of his conceptual framework’ (Nash, 2004: 609) ‘obscure, complex and intimidatory’ (Jenkins, 1992: 10)

4 4 Current model hierarchical and horizontal knowledge structures –‘verticality’: progress by vertical integration and subsumption (hierarchical); or horizontal addition –‘grammaticality’: ability to generate unambiguous empirical referents internal (L1) and external (L2) languages of description –stronger / weaker

5 5 Questions 1.what is the basis of verticality (or stronger L1)? 2.what is the basis of grammaticality (or stronger L2)? do they work together to enable or constrain cumulative knowledge-building?

6 6 LCT (Semantics) Semantic gravity –degree meaning is dependent on context e.g. stronger SG = more context-dependent Semantic density –degree meaning is condensed within symbols e.g. stronger SD = symbol condenses more meaning (more is ‘packed up’ into symbol) Each stronger / weaker (+/-) –two continua of strengths (SG+/-, SD+/-) –processes of strengthening and weakening

7 7 Developing theorisationSemantic gravity Semantic density 6. pedagogic device 5. pedagogic codes:____E____ +C ie / +F ie 4. classification & framing (+C, +F) 3. visible & invisible pedagogies 2. criteria, hierarchy, sequencing rules 1. empirical features of progressive classroom Direction of arrows is from weaker to stronger. Internal relations: Bernstein

8 8 Internal relations: Bourdieu logic of practice: field, capital, habitus [(habitus)(capital)] + field = practice horizontal relations: –field, capital, habitus are inter-defined –‘practice’ is these three brought together limited vertical development –does not explore principles underlying habituses or fields or capitals

9 9 Internal relations Bernstein’s mode of theorising (SG-, SD+) higher-order concepts: –abstract underlying principles of lower-order concepts –condense meanings of lower-order concepts Bourdieu’s internal language (SG+, SD-) relates concepts horizontally extends less far vertically

10 10 External relations: Bernstein key external relation is to empirical data (stronger epistemic relation, ER+) need for principles of translation to enable dialogue between theory and data: ‘external language of description’ anyone can use theory or scrutinise analysis (weaker social relation, SR-) => knowledge code grammar (ER+, SR-)

11 11 ‘L2 is equally an imaginative act as L1 but is rarely constructed to warrant that adjective. It is essentially what research is about. The rest can be done in an armchair. Armchairs do not change one, only accommodate. Research is the means of change.’ (Bernstein, personal communication)

12 12 Semantic gravity Coding of responses Form taken by student responsesExample quote from student answers AbstractionPresents a general principle or procedure that moves beyond the cases to address wider or future practice. Legal and intellectual property issues are a major consideration when developing a product. GeneralisationPresents a general observation or draws a generalising conclusion about issues and events in the case. Precious time would be wasted and deadlines not met when members did not have a full concept of the project. JudgementGoes beyond re-presenting or interpreting information to offer a value judgement or claim. While each metaphor provides a realistic learning environment..., I felt that the Nardoo metaphor assists with navigation, while the StageStruck metaphor was a barrier to effective navigation. InterpretationSeeks to explain a statement by interpreting information from the case or adding new information. May include use of other literature or personal experience. While not alluded to in the interviews, this may have caused problems for the team, as there would have been a new software to work with, and transferral of information from Hypercard to MediaPlant. Summarising description Descriptive response that summarises or synthesises information presented in the case, including re-wording and re-structuring of a number of events into one statement. Does not present new information from beyond case. This involved creating the overall structure and content of the project, with design briefs and statements being forwarded to the client, with the final design statement being signed off by the client, giving a stable starting position for the project. Reproductive description Reproduces information directly from the case with no elaboration (i.e. quotations). The NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) approached the Interactive Multimedia Learning Laboratory (IMMLL) at the University of Wollongong to develop an educational multimedia package.

13 13 External relations: Bourdieu ‘There is no doubt a theory in my work, or, better, a set of thinking tools visible through the results they yield, but it not built as such...It is a temporary construct which takes shape for and by empirical work’ (in Wacquant 1989: 50) ‘The important thing is to be able to objectify one’s relation to the object’ (1993b: 53)

14 14 no external language of description –weaker epistemic relation sociological gaze: ‘You have some general principles of method that are in a sense inscribed in the scientific habitus. The sociologist’s métier is exactly that - a theory of the sociological construction of the object, converted into a habitus. When you possess this métier, you master in a practical state everything that is contained in the fundamental concepts: habitus, field, and so on.’ (Bourdieu et al 1991: 253) –stronger social relation => knower code grammar (ER-, SR+)

15 15 How to build knowledge Verticality vertical relations between concepts of –lower context-dependence and –higher condensation –(SG+, SD-) Grammaticality relations between theory and data of –higher context-dependence and –lower condensation –(SG-, SD+)

16 16 Modes of theorising Bernstein’s (cumulative modality) –internal language: SG-, SD+ –external language: SG+, SD- Bourdieu’s (segmental modality) –internal language: SG+, SD- –external gaze: SG+, SD-

17 17 Stimuli to development internal language: excavation –every answer raises a new question e.g. (+C, +F) => pedagogic device e.g. (ER+/-, SR+/-) => epistemic device external language: expansion –new objects raise questions of theory e.g. study of constructivist learning environments => ‘semantic gravity’

18 18 ‘being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch- dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time’ (Pratchett, T. & Gaiman, N. Good Omens 1990, London, Corgi)

19 19 Current model and beyond basis of insight and identity: –hierarchical KS: explanatory power –horizontal KS: less clear; ‘weak’ model less explicit where knowledge structure less explicit Moving forward fields as ‘knowledge-knower structures’ ‘knower structure’ key to humanities and social sciences

20 20 Questions 1.what underlies a field’s structure of positions? are ideas and actors positioned within this structure? 3.why are segmental theories more popular than cumulative ones?

21 21 Cosmologies fields with hierarchical KS –epistemological cosmology fields with horizontal KS –axiological cosmology –moral ordering of ideas, practices and actors

22 22 Constellation building ‘During the 1990s, we have witnessed a convergence of learning theories never before encountered. These contemporary learning theories are based on substantively different ontologies and epistemologies than were traditional objectivist foundations for instructional design… The past decade, we believe, has witnessed the most substantive and revolutionary changes in learning theory in history... We have entered a new age in learning theory. Never … have there been so many theoretical foundations that share so many assumptions and common foundations.’ (Jonassen & Land, 2000, p. iii, v-vi) Internal relations

23 23 ‘Learning’ constellation ‘Student-centred learning environments’ include: problem-based learning project-based learning inquiry-oriented pedagogies such as open-ended learning environments cognitive apprenticeships constructivist learning environments microworlds goal-based scenarios anchored instruction social-mediated communication authentic learning, etc (Jonassen & Land, 2000) Internal relations

24 24 Internal relations

25 25 Teacher-centredStudent-centred abstract, symbolic symbolic reasoning theoretical disembodied conceptual, memorial decontextualized idealist, rational objective, stable, fixed laboratory objective, modelable contextualized, authentic, experiential situated learning everyday experiential perceptual embedded in experience pragmatist subjective, contextualized, fluid in situ experiential, interpretive Weaker semantic gravityStronger semantic gravity Internal relations

26 26 Teacher-centredStudent-centred receptive, reproductive transmission / acquisition directed compliant reductionist encoding, retention, retrieval objective, stable, fixed symbol processor well-structured mastery, performance constructive interpretation, construction intentional self-regulated complex, self-organizing articulation and reflection subjective, contextualized, fluid symbol builder ill-structured meaning making StructureAgency Internal relations

27 27 Teacher-centredStudent-centred individually interpreted individual mind-centred internal, mental atomistic, decomposable possessed independent central processing architecture socially negotiated, co- constructed collaborative community-based, culturally mediated social gestalt distributed emergent distributed architecture Low socialityHigh sociality Internal relations

28 28 Teacher-centredStudent-centred Abstract (SG-)Concrete (SG+) StructureAgency IndividualsSocial Realism (positivism)Constructionism external reality dualism, absolutism psychology internal reality cultural relativism, perspectival anthropology, sociology, ethnography Internal relations

29 29 Axiological charging Key tenets of literature on student-centred learning: 1. ‘the reliance on active rather than passive learning, 2. an emphasis on deep learning and understanding, 3. increased responsibility and accountability on the part of the student, 4. an increased sense of autonomy in the learner 5. an interdependence between teacher and learner, 6. mutual respect within the learner teacher relationship, 7. and a reflexive approach to the teaching and learning process on the part of both teacher and learner.’ Lea et al. (2003: 322) External relations

30 30 ‘We believe... that there is a need to humanise the online experience with greater compassion, empathy and open-mindedness.’ (Herrington, et al. 2003: 69) design research as ‘socially responsible research’ (Reeves, et al. 2005) post-structuralist approaches as ‘critical theory’

31 31 Condensation & abstraction dominant orderdominated Other socially conservativesocially progressive disempoweringempowering instructivismconstructivism teacher-centredstudent-centred teachinglearning

32 32 ‘For what is it that we - we that is who are intellectuals of the dominant class... - fear most in the reception of our thought? It is precisely that we might be perceived as numbered among those who accept the dominant order of our society’ (Nash 2001: 69) ‘difficult to talk about the dominated in an accurate and realistic way without seeming either to crush them or to exalt them’ (Bourdieu 2000: 233-234)

33 33 Moral concerns obsession with language in terms of moral and political connotations –misreading of ‘restricted code’ –+/-, stronger/weaker = judgement terms as emoticons terms as ‘bonding icons’ (Martin & Stenglin 2007) limited life-span of moral charging

34 34 Axiological cosmology Internal relations –constellations created through associations External relations –moral charging of constellations through symbolization creating a ‘structure of feeling’ –mediated relations to characteristics of knowers

35 35 Earlier slide Bernstein’s (cumulative modality) –internal language: SG-, SD+ –external language: SG+, SD- Bourdieu’s (segmental modality) –internal language: SG+, SD- –external gaze: SG+, SD-

36 36 Interpretive latitude ‘paradoxically the conceptual looseness of habitus also constitutes a potential strength. It makes possible adaptation rather than the more constricting straightforward adoption of the concept within empirical work’ (Reay 1995: 357; emphases added). ‘one cannot grasp the most profound logic of the social world unless one becomes immersed in the specificity of an empirical reality.’ (Bourdieu, 1993, p. 271)

37 37 Faustian pact or false dichotomy Moral viceMoral virtue StructureAgency, creativity Abstract, symbolicConcrete, experiential KnowledgeKnowers Cumulative modeSegmental mode

38 38 Conclusions how to build knowledge –cumulative modality of theorising how to influence people –‘The truth is no guarantee of belief’ –axiological issues crucial to knower code fields Need to see both knowledge and knowers

39 39 Points of engagement epistemic relation to empirical world –faith in reason social relation to knowers as objects –showing how means do not reach ends social relation to knowers as subjects –being appealing and open

40 40 In memory of my Grandad, John Wilson (1928-2008)

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