Introduction: what should we teach?
What should we teach? What knowledge is important and why is it important? These are key questions for education because ‘what we know affects who we are (or are perceived to be)’ (Moore 2007b: 3). The central argument in this book is that access to abstract theoretical knowledge is an issue of distributional justice. It is part of the emerging ‘social realist’ school of educational theorists who argue that the principal goal of education should be to provide students with access to knowledge. It critiques theories of curriculum that argue that learning should be contextual and situated because this leads to the displacement of theoretical knowledge from the centre of curriculum and in so doing denies students access to the knowledge they need to participate in society’s debates and controversies. In other words, unless students have access to theoretical knowledge they are denied the necessary means to participate in ‘society’s conversation’.