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The Relevance of the Concept of Powerful Knowledge in Educational Sciences

Gunita Elksne
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. The global changes of the twenty-first century are largely based on the rapid development of science and technology. Academic knowledge is growing quickly. Knowledge plays a vital role in ensuring individuals’ competitiveness and in society’s development. The issue of social justice in education is becoming relevant, and greater educational equality begins with the issue of knowledge. All students have equal rights to knowledge. But – to what kind of knowledge?
Michael Young, noting that in many countries the education policy neglects the question of what kind of knowledge today’s student needs, created the concept of “Powerful knowledge,” the idea of which is based on authors of the sociology of education such as Durkheim, Bernstein, Bourdieu works. Powerful knowledge is also the basis of the third model of the future of school programs described by Young and Muller, with emphasis on high school.
This work aims to perform a systematic literature analysis and contextual analysis of the concept of powerful knowledge. Research question – How does the concept of “Powerful knowledge” correspond to the needs of modern education? Since 2009, this concept has been developing cumulatively, along with initiating discussions and research among scientists regarding the problems of this time in schools and school programs. By analyzing the works of Young, Muller, and Lambert, and getting acquainted with other authors who developed, and added to the concept (Wheelahan, Hordern, Monton, Deng, Niemala, etc.), the definition and characteristics of powerful knowledge have been discovered, scientists’ thoughts on what makes knowledge powerful have been gathered, along with understanding how to get them, what place they could have in school programs, how it is consistent with current events in education today. The study found the relevance of the concept to the demands of the twenty-first century and contributed to stimulating discussions on the quality of education.

Keywords: education, equality powerful knowledge, quality, school programs

Gunita Elksne, Master in Pedagogy. The topic of the research is “Interactions between the values of teenagers and their parents. I am an applicant for a scientific degree. I work at the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology, and Arts at the University of Latvia. This work is related to master’s- and bachelor’s-level students. I lead the course “Philosophy of Education” for master’s degree, and “Classroom management,” “Organization of the educational process in primary school” and “Research in education” for bachelor’s degree.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6