Knowledge, Self and Education (KCSE4202)


This unit of study is designed to provide students with a critical overview of the key concepts 'knowledge', and 'self' as they have been articulated in major educational discourses. The unit is philosophically based but draws upon sociological and psychological insights. Building on earlier units in the Education strand of the program it explores ideas about the nature of self in relation to learning, and raises significant questions about claims regarding knowledge as constitutive of self. It problematises inherited notions of rationality, experience, 'discourse' and the dimension of the social in knowledge-generation, its dissemination and institutionalisation. Major philosophical theories of knowledge are examined, notably those of, rationalism and varieties of constructivism, empiricism, post-structuralism pragmatism and certain approaches in phenomenology. The relationship of these theories to contemporary curriculum knowledge (that is, the 'knowledge base' of each subject area) is explored. An important objective of the Unit is to provide opportunities for developing skills that will enable students to more usefully analyse the kinds of epistemological assumptions underlying the school curriculum.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Block Mode


journal (30%) and presentation (30%) and essay (40%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Additional Information

Available to students who have completed the Diploma in Education (Aboriginal) or equivalent.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.