Kalantzis and Cope, A Palette of Pedagogical Choices

This is how the knowledge-process approach fits into the larger scheme of reflexive pedagogy:

Cultures: Some cultures, sub-cultures, institutions, situations or communities of practice may be driven more by one way of knowing than others.

Learners: Different individuals may feel more comfortable with, or inclined to use, one ‘learning style’ in preference to another: learning by immersion in experience; learning by getting a big-picture conceptual overview; learning by figuring out what something is for; learning whilst getting done the practical things that have to be done. These should not be the sum total of a learner’s knowledge processes, but they may be their preferred starting point. [See: He didn’t know what he didn’t know.

Knowledge domains: Some content or discipline domains lend themselves more readily to one way of knowing over others: experiencing in the case of learning to read; conceptualising in the case of elementary particle physics; analysing in the case of social studies; applying in the case of learning a sport or a trade. Although these may well be the predominant emphases of a knowledge domain, they will rarely be the sum total of learning.

Pedagogies: Some forms of instructional design and teaching tend to emphasise certain knowledge processes in preference to others. Western knowledge systems vacillate between empiricist ‘objectivism’ (grounding in the ‘facts’ of external experience, the ‘findings’ of theory and the rights and wrongs of appropriate application) and relativist ‘subjectivism’ (grounding in the ‘perspectives’ of personal experience, the relativity of interests, and the creativity inherent in the process of applying what one knows). There have been fashions in pedagogy that have at times favoured some knowledge processes over others; there are disciplines that have traditionally relied on some knowledge processes more heavily than others; and the preferences of learners and teachers have also played a role. Teachers need to be self-aware and expert in the range of knowledge processes that produce learner transformation and ongoing performance. They need to have a wide pedagogical repertoire and to know when to plan, scaffold and deploy which knowledge process and for which learning goals.

Performance outcomes: Performance evaluation needs to ensure that learners meet agreed learning objectives and personal goals. This cannot simply be expressed as a mark, or score. Assessment needs to capture the substance of what has been learnt, demonstrating clearly the knowledge processes used.

In the educational environment of today, which we have called the New Learning, we may be reluctant to pass judgement upon cultures, learners, knowledge domains or pedagogies. Each seems to suit its own context. It is nevertheless important that teachers and learners are knowing participants in their knowing. They should be as clear about their ways of knowing (the approaches to knowing and their pedagogy) as they are about what they are knowing (their disciplines and subject matter). Not only should they become more knowing through the process of learning; they should also become more knowingly knowing – developing a parallel meta-knowledge alongside the content knowledge of the subject.

When they are clear about the ways of their knowing, they may consciously choose to broaden their repertoire of ways of knowing (or choose not to, but at least consciously choose their narrowness of focus). Reflexive pedagogy is not in itself defined by the choice to broaden the repertoire of ways of knowing. Rather, it is the business of knowingly making the choice amongst the range of possible knowledge processes. [See: You need to think about it! and Coaxing learners to think for themselves.