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Bernstein vertical and horizontal discourse


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Good argument by Bernstein

Published in: Education
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Bernstein vertical and horizontal discourse

  1. 1. EVERYDAY KNOWLEDGE VS EDUCATIONAL (SCHOOL) KNOWLEDGE  In this paper Bernstein’s underlying concern is with the trend of teachers teaching everyday knowledge (horizontal knowledge) rather than educational knowledge (vertical knowledge) in schools. Everyday knowledge Educational knowledge
  2. 2. EVERYDAY CONTEXT AND SCHOOL CONTEXT  In this paper we look at Bernstein’s view of how communication differs in everyday contexts and in formal education contexts
  3. 3. HOME AND SCHOOL  How does communication with friends or in the home differ from communication in the classroom?
  4. 4. 2 FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT FORMS OF DISCOURSE (KNOWLEDGE) Horizontal • Oral • Everyday/common-sense/local knowledge Vertical • Written • School/official/formal knowledge
  5. 5. THE STRUCTURE OF TWO FORMS OF DISCOURSE Personal Settings Home, peer group, community Horizontal discourse (HD) Public Settings Schools, institutions of learning Vertical discourse (VD)
  6. 6. WHAT IS HORIZONTAL DISCOURSE?  Everyday or common- sense knowledge that one acquires from an everyday context.
  7. 7. HORIZONTAL DISCOURSE: PURPOSE AND FEATURES  Purpose: what is learned is useful to communicate in everyday life.  All in a context (family, peer-group or local community) have access to it.  Features: Oral, local, context-dependent and specific.
  8. 8.  Segmentally organized - What is learned in one segment/context is not related to what is learned in another segment/context 
  9. 9. HOW IS HD LEARNED?  Segmental pedagogy – face-to-face relations in the family, peer- group or local community.  Pedagogy is tacit (not explicit)  Learned by modelling - by showing; by observing.  Pedagogy is exhausted in the context of the act – embedded in ongoing practices; not extended and sequenced.
  10. 10. WHAT IS VERTICAL DISCOURSE?  Examples: educational knowledge e.g. science, maths, language, etc.  2 forms  (a) vertical knowledge structure (natural sciences)  (b) horizontal knowledge structure (social sciences) a series of specialized languages
  11. 11. FEATURES OF VERTICAL DISCOURSE Coherent, explicit, systematic, principled structure what is learned is related within or across the subject discourse Context- independent
  12. 12. VERTICAL DISCOURSE (VD) • strong • e.g. mathematics or weak e.g. sociology Grammar • acquired when explicitly taught • institutional pedagogy • ongoing process in extended time How is it learned? • by principles of recontextualisation How is it distributed? Ideology • seen as elitist, authoritarian, contributes to social stratification
  13. 13. VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL DISCOURSES IN EDUCATION  specialized subject knowledge – ‘segments of horizontal discourse are recontextualised and inserted in the contents of school subjects’.  recontextualisation does not lead to effective learning  insertion of HD into VD is restricted to the ‘less able’.  subject taught in terms of its direct usefulness in everyday life  improving students’ ability to deal with issues arising in everyday life e.g. health, work, parenting, domestic skills etc.
  14. 14. VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL DISCOURSES IN EDUCATION  VD reduced to strategies for improving effectiveness in the everyday world.  HD promotes pedagogic populism to challenge the elitism and absolutism of vertical discourse.  HD displacing VD in the classroom especially for marginalised social groups.  disadvantage the disadvantaged