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Knowledge Transmission: Teachers' Expectations and Assumptions in the Post-Secondary System

Joanne Nakonechny, McMaster University

Abstract

Knowledge transmission in post-secondary education is shaped by a variety of macro and micro influences ranging from the educational system, to the institution, the instructors and the students. The major classroom actors are the instructors and the students whose relations are formed by their historical and current contexts both in the private and public sphere through cultural and social themes. Teachers, representing dominant culture themes, predominantly control the format and transmission of knowledge without elucidating (or being critically aware of) its interior structures, so that students do not have equal access to success given their differing levels of preparedness to interpret the educational codes.

Teachers construct templates, or meaning bases, from which they understand how information is constructed. These templates are developed within the larger components of culture - identity, values and the system of education. The teacher templates include academic and social attitudes and expectations towards learning which shape their interpretations of what occurs/should occur in the classroom. In order to provide students with equal access to education, instructors need to explain the steps necessary for adequate knowledge transmission encoded in the templates, or meaning bases, from which they teach.