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Official Knowledge

  • By: Walter S. Gershon
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Official knowledge is the explicit academic content that students are intended to learn and the often-implicit social content that both lies within and contextualizes academic content. Because of its particular blend of academic, social, explicit, and implicit knowledge, official knowledge shares its borders with at least the following three central aspects of curriculum studies: (1) hidden curriculum, (2) formal curriculum, and (3) institutionalized text perspectives. This entry focuses on questions of knowledge and its reproduction through the processes of schooling.

Over 130 years ago, Herbert Spencer wondered what knowledge is of most worth, a question that has served as a touchstone for inquiry about the content teachers deliver and students learn in schools. Official knowledge can be understood as a given society or culture's responses to ...

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