The new Norwegian curriculum and integration of knowledge in textbooks in social studies: a comparative study

  • Erik Bratland Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University, Norway
  • Mohamed El Ghami Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University, Norway
Keywords: knowledge-based curricula, in-depth learning, textbooks, social studies, knowledge building, epistemic structure, coherence design


The new Norwegian curriculum subject renewal is part of an international trend with a shift towards more knowledge-based curriculum, with greater emphasis on subjects and subject concepts, with the aim of realizing in-depth learning in schools. This paper, which is grounded on social realism and Ratas' CDC model, examines, and compares the design of the curriculum and the new textbooks in social studies. The comparative study reveals a gap between the curriculum and the textbooks, with quite different interpretations of the Norwegian curriculum reform. The paper explains why coherence design, which connects subject concepts, content knowledge and competencies, is a prerequisite for in-depth learning in social studies.


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Distribution of coherence design, non-coherence design and generic design in chapters in three textbooks