*SCHOOL SUBJECT AND ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE* *1. School Subject* Dewey viewed subject matter as a distinctive and specialized domain of experience for learners. Subject matter consists of a body of facts, concepts, values, and techniques that are selected, organized, and sequenced in a way that centers upon the predetermined objectives. According to Zongyi Deng, (2013) School subject refers to *‘an area of learning within the school curriculum that constitutes an institutionally defined field of knowledge and practice for teaching and learning’*. A school subject is a distinctive purpose-built enterprise, constructed in response to social, cultural, and political demands and challenges toward educative ends.
School subjects can be traditional academic subjects such as mathematics, history, and geography that could have direct affiliations with their parent academic disciplines. They can also be unconventional ones such as tourism and hospitality that have no or minimal connections with academic disciplines. *1.2. Features of School Subjects* Grossman and Stodolsky (1995) defined three features of school subjects: Statue, perceived sequentiality and scope. (i) School subjects differ in the status they have in the school and larger community. (ii) Sequentiality is perceived as important in school subjects, where certain knowledge and skills have to be known before proceeding to a new learning. For example in mathematics, learners should have number concept and the concept of place value before proceeding to addition, subtraction etc. (iii) The scope of the subject refers to the different disciplinary areas included in the subjects, which can be broad or restricted. An example of broad based subject is social studies, which draws on discipline like history, political science, economics, geography etc. *2. Academic Discipline* The term ‘discipline’ originates from the Latin words *discipulus*, which means pupil, and *disciplina*, which means teaching. Discipline is defined by the *Oxford English Dictionary* as “a branch of learning or scholarly instruction.” A discipline is a branch of learning or domain of knowledge that is characterised by distinct objects, concepts, principles, theories, skills, tools and applications. An academic discipline as a branch of knowledge incorporates expertise, people, projects, communities, challenges, studies, inquiry, and research areas that are strongly associated with a given academic discipline. For example, the branches of science are commonly referred to as the scientific disciplines, e.g. physics, mathematics, computer science. --------- 2.1. *Characteristics of Discipline* 1) Disciplines have a particular object of research (e.g. law, society, politics), though the object of research may be shared with another discipline; 2) Disciplines have a body of accumulated specialist knowledge referring to their object of research, which is specific to them and not generally shared with another discipline; 3) Disciplines have theories and concepts that can organize the accumulated specialist knowledge effectively; 4) Disciplines use specific terminologies or a specific technical language adjusted to their research object; 5) Disciplines have developed specific research methods according to their specific research requirements; and maybe most crucially 6) Disciplines must have some institutional manifestation in the form of subjects taught at universities or colleges, respective academic departments and professional associations connected to it. Not all disciplines have all of the aforementioned six characteristics. *2.2. Typology of Discipline* *Anthony Biglan* (1973) based on empirical research drew distinction between discipline based on three dimensions. First he found difference in the degree to which one paradigm exists in a discipline (hard-soft). For discipline with one important paradigm there is more consensus about method of study and content (E.g: physics) than in discipline without a single paradigm (E.g: humanities). Secondly Biglan distinguished discipline based on their degree of concern with application (pure – applied). Disciplines like education and engineering is more concerned with application to practice. Finally a distinction was drawn between disciplines concerning biological or social areas and those that are concerned with inanimate objects (life- non life). Becher (1989) modified Biglan’s typology based on first two dimensions, which resulted in four types of disciplines: Hard pure, Hard Applied, Soft Pure, and Soft Applied. 2.3. *Strengths and weaknesses of disciplines* *3. **The relationships between academic disciplines and school subjects* School subjects can have different and variable relationships to academic disciplines, depending on their aims, contents, and developmental phases. Stengel (1997) identifies five possible relationships between academic disciplines and school subjects. (1) Academic disciplines and school subjects are essentially *continuous*; (2) Academic disciplines and school subjects are basically *discontinuous*; (3) Academic disciplines and school subjects are *different but related *in one of the three ways: (3a) academic discipline precedes school subject, (3b) school subject precedes academic discipline, or (3c) the relation between the two is dialectic. She argues further that each of the relationships implies a curricular position, reflecting particular political and moral interests. *4. Distinction between academic disciplines and school subjects* (i) Subjects are not, in fact, drawn directly or readily from their parent studies, and parent studies are not all disciplines. (ii) The disciplines are arranged for the expedient advancement of investigations and researches, but the school subjects are organized for the facilitation of learning and teaching in particular contexts. (iii) The formation of school subjects is driven by social and political needs. (iv) The school subject is a ‘transformed’ version of the academic discipline. (v) The academic discipline, not the school subject, is providing the frame of reference for defining and delineating what classroom teachers need to know about the subject matter they are supposed to teach. (vi) School subjects come first and academic disciplines later in one’s learning journey from school to university. -- -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "WikiEducator" group. To visit wikieducator: http://www.wikieducator.org To visit the discussion forum: http://groups.google.com/group/wikieducator To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to wikieducator+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com --- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "WikiEducator" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to wikieducator+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.