Author: Brian Hudson, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Sussex and Guest Professor, University of Karlstad, Sweden
The KOSS Network Knowledge and Quality across School Subjects and Teacher Education has been supported by a grant from the Swedish Research Council since 2019. The network brings together cross-disciplinary educational research groups from Sweden, England and Finland specializing in different school subjects. The research groups involved are ROSE (Research on Subject-specific Education) at Karlstad University in Sweden, SSRG (Subject Specialism Research Group) at the IOE University College London in the UK, and HuSoEd (Research Community for Humanities and Social Sciences) at the University of Helsinki in Finland. The network is hosted by the ROSE research group at Karlstad University and network application builds on the position paper by leading members of the group published in the London Review of Education in 2018 (Gericke et al., 2018). Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic the network held face to face meetings in Stockholm, Helsinki and London. Subsequent meetings have been held online or in hybrid from and the network hopes to resume face to face meetings from the Autumn term 2022 and to extend the life of the project into 2023.
We have recently celebrated the publication by Bloomsbury Academic of two books arising from the work of network. Firstly, International Perspectives on Knowledge and Curriculum: Epistemic Quality across School Subjects and secondly International Perspectives on Knowledge and Quality: Implications for Innovation in Teacher Education Policy and Practice. The first book features contributions from England, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Scotland and Sweden that address a range of classroom subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts which include mathematics, physical education, language learning, migration studies, literature, social science, natural science and sustainable development. The second one features contributions from Australia, England, Finland, Norway, Scotland and Sweden that address subject teaching in general, social studies, economics and the teaching of English, geography, history, mathematics and religious education. We seek to draw together the various contributions to each book by developing a number of integrative themes. Firstly, we offer reflections on what we see as ‘trajectories of epistemic quality and powerful knowledge’ across school subjects. These trajectories are related to the specialised knowledge arising from both research-based academic disciplines and cultural and artistic practices as this knowledge is transformed into school subjects. Also, we discuss the idea of ‘subject-specific educational content knowledge’ as illustrative of critically important aspects of teachers’ powerful professional knowledge (Furlong and Whitty, 2017). We propose that this idea might be expressed as an insight into the basic knowledge structure of the discipline and the school subject, and in reflected experiences of what it really means to acquire the specific knowledge. In turn we see this as having significant implications regarding the crucial role of university-based higher education in both initial teacher education and continuing professional learning.
Furlong, J. and Whitty, G. (2017), ‘Knowledge Traditions in the Study of Education’ in Whitty, G. and Furlong, J. (eds), Knowledge and the Study of Education: An International Exploration, Oxford: Symposium Books.
Gericke, N., Hudson, B., Olin-Scheller, C. and Stolare, M. (2018), ‘Powerful Knowledge, Transformations and the Need for Empirical Studies across School Subjects’, London Review of Education: Special Issue on Knowledge and Subject Specialist Teaching, 16 (3): 428–44. UCL IOE Press. https://doi.org/10.18546/LRE.16.3.06
 Note: Full versions of the books International Perspectives on Knowledge and Curriculum: Epistemic Quality across School Subjects and International Perspectives on Knowledge and Quality: Implications for Innovation in Teacher Education Policy and Practice are available online and in print via the SHU Library