The contrast between student-centred and knowledge-centred teaching is explored through a qualitative case study exploration of the pedagogies (Bruner’s ‘folk pedagogies’) of six teachers of Jewish studies. These teachers, based in orthodox Jewish schools in the UK and Australia, discussed their roles as teachers in the context of their responsibility for inducting students into the Jewish community. They appear to overcome (or at least mitigate) the tensions between being student-centred and knowledge-centred through understanding both students and knowledge in communal terms. This communally-focused approach, drawing on the philosophers of ‘personal’ knowledge such as Polanyi, and of personalist approaches to schooling such as those of Macmurray and Noddings, is then proposed as of value in debates on schooling and the curriculum in general, well beyond the religious context of this particular research.
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