The Process of Subject Content Transformation as Examined Through Psychological and Sociological Perspectives: A Study Conducted in Oxfordshire, England



Drawing from psychological and sociological fields, this study examines how teachers transform subject con-tent for student learning in a classroom situation. Research on understanding teaching has downplayed the framing of macro-regulative contexts in shaping teachers’ thinking and thereby pedagogy. Vygotsky [75; 76] brought to focus the teacher’s role in mediating learning in classrooms through the use of psychological tools but could not fully, in his lifespan, attend to the sociocultural contexts that impact those who work within them. To address this gap, the study draws on the educational sociologist Bernstein’s social theory [9; 10] which states that the ways in which institutions regulate the social relations within them impact the pedagogic practices in these contexts. A qualitative multicase study was applied and involved several English and mathematics secondary school teach-ers from Oxfordshire, England. The cross-case analysis reveals a connection between the micro-processes of teach-ing and learning and macro regulative discourse; demonstrates that teachers’ pedagogic decisions are influenced by their reflections on their institutional culture within which and using which they work; and reveals an interplay of several processes in the ways in which teachers mediate and shape the quality of their students’ learning.

General Information

Keywords: mediation, subject content transformation, teaching and learning, Bernstein’s social theory, Vygotsky.

Journal rubric: Educational Psychology


Acknowledgements. The author is grateful to I. Thompson and H. Daniels for their support in shaping an understanding of sociocultural and sociological perspectives, and V. Elliott for her guidance.

For citation: Khan S. The Process of Subject Content Transformation as Examined Through Psychological and Sociological Perspectives: A Study Conducted in Oxfordshire, England. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 65–75. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170207.


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Sonia Khan, Great Britain, ORCID:, e-mail:



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