What is a knowledge-rich curriculum?





curriculum knowledge, curriculum design, knowledge-rich, CDC Model


A well-designed curriculum creates a knowledge-rich one. The application of the Curriculum Design Coherence Model (CDC Model) in the international Knowledge-Rich School Project is discussed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Model as a design tool. It achieves coherence by connecting the three forms of subject knowledge: generalising concepts, materialised content and applied competencies. Concepts’ generalisability creates knowledge’s internal logic – the source of understanding (learning). Students only develop deep understanding when they work with generalising concepts. Thinking (learning) doesn’t occur in a vacuum – one must think with something (concepts). And students also need to think about something (content). The article explains why it is essential to connect concepts and content. Such connection overcomes the limitations of both a ‘big ideas’ or concepts-only approach and a content-list approach. The CDC Model’s connection of generalising concepts, materialised content and applied competencies also reveals why New Zealand’s current competency-centred curriculum is inadequate. Two examples show how the CDC Model is used – a Physical Education topic ‘Exercise’ and a Social Studies topic, ‘The History of Ngati Kuri.’ Topics designed in the Knowledge-Rich School Project are mentioned.


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Author Biography

Elizabeth Rata, University of Auckland

Professor Elizabeth Rata is the Director of the Knowledge in Education Research Unit (KERU) in the School of Critical Studies in Education, Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. She publishes in the fields of curriculum knowledge, pedagogy, educational politics and policy, higher education, realist methodology, ethnicity in education, and culturalist ideology.


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