Teaching as the Discourse of Knowledge and Justified Belief In Knowledge
Janez Krek and Tatjana Hodnik

Summary:  The conceptual starting point of this theoretical paper is the notion of knowledge, which has been one of the foundations of the understanding of knowledge, science and the modern concept of school since ancient Greek philosophy. If the teacher educates by integrating the four constitutive elements of the discourse of knowledge – belief, ignorance, truth and argument – knowledge is transmitted in the form of knowledge and, at the same time, students are placed in a relationship that supports a justified belief in knowledge. The discourse of knowledge is the criterion for the subsequent discussion of dichotomies and other phenomena in the Slovenian school space that have the effect of making the school an institution that undermines this fundamental concept of knowledge, together with the relationship to knowledge. In this paper, we analyse and show with examples from the teaching and learning of mathematics how the transfer of knowledge in the pedagogical process can lead to the disintegration of the discourse of knowledge, with undesirable consequences. We conclude that the continued insistence on the dichotomy  traditional – modern  supports remaining in the past, is an irrelevant topic in terms of the quest for quality, and obscures the real problems of teaching in the present. Adopting the general premise that forms and methods of work are, without exception, the transmission of knowledge, in discussing constructivism we argue that in the school context, the learner cannot construct knowledge without the teacher’s intervention, and that the teacher’s role as a mediator of knowledge construction is not in contradiction with the theory of constructivism. In discussing notions of a “new teacher role” that removes the teacher as a mediator of knowledge, we show that the reverse actually follows from constructivist theory, i.e., the teacher has an emphasised instructional role. In discussing selected teaching methods, we critically highlight certain conceptions of explanation and discussion and suggest that both should be conceived as a unified teaching method and as a necessary flip-side of the method of consolidation. In conclusion, we propose a change in the very symbolic framework that guides the teacher’s instructional role in the transmission of knowledge.

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Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies is
published with support of Slovenian Research Agency.