The choice and the adaptation of subject matters for school lessons is one of the main concerns of didactic research in science and in practice; teachers and educationalists have been intensively preoccupied with that task time and again. In this context, mainly three questions have been investigated: a) Which subject matters are so fundamental and elementary that they have to be included in the syllabus? b) On which theoretical reasons are those choices based? c) How can subject matters be so far elementarized (i.e. reduced or transformed to essential, understandable elements) and simplified that they can be grasped by children and young persons as well as by adults against the background of their specific learning abilities?
The following problems shall be dealt with at the conference:
How is the prevailing knowledge of schoolbooks generated? Which principles and procedures of didactic reduction are used, quantitatively and qualitatively? How strong is the influence of the scholarly and the social discourse on the processes of elementarization? Do the authors ponder upon their own ways of proceeding? Is the prevailing elementarization reasonable with regard to the subject matter and to the target group? Is there a limit to elementarization? Is it possible to develop signs of quality for a successful didactic reduction?
At the conference, historical, historical-systematic and current approaches to the topic – from an internationally comparative perspective – are welcome. For example:
– research on particular historical periods (e.g. “Methods of didactic reduction in schoolbooks of the progressive education movement”);
– from the perspective of the history of the different subjects: research on specific educational trends and concepts (e.g. “The Herbartian principle of the levels of civilization as a method of didactic reduction”);
– from the perspective of the different sciences and/or their didactics: research on the possibilities and the limits of elementarization, simplification, didactic reduction with regard to particular topics in different subjects.
Please send an outline of your paper on a scale of at least 300 words (including fundamental literature) and some biographical notes (present professional occupation, main emphasis of work, up to five publications or rather topic of dissertation) until the 31st of March 2006 to Dr. Carsten Heinze (firstname.lastname@example.org).
International Society for Historical and Systematic Research on Schoolbooks e.V., Annual Conference, Bayerisches Schulmuseum Ichenhausen, 6th-7th of October 2006
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