ERIC Number: ED229256
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Public Knowledge and Private Understandings.
Supported is the argument that cognitive development should not be studied alone, in isolation from wider questions about the history of thought in the scientific community. Interest in the topic resulted from dissatisfaction with British secondary school Language-for-Learning movement assertions that learners' active use of their own speech and writing matters, that each person must rebuild his/her own knowledge, and others. What appeared to be missing was why it matters and how it works. The position on which this paper is based is that the meanings of any idea are not fixed, but vary from individual to individual; they are indefinitely expandable, so there is no definitive or final acquisition of a concept. Therefore, the words "meanings,""understandings,""interpretations," and "knowledge" are clarified and discussed. The importance of prior ideas (considering Ausubelian theory) and difficulties in describing what learners already understand are also discussed. A rationale for the more active use of language in science lessons is then developed, indicating that the recovery of meanings established by others and accepted by the scientific community requires that teachers make similar usages of words and appreciate a cluster of implications similar to those "seen" by the originators, but unlikely to be identical. (JN)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Great Britain
Note: Paper presented at the Science Education Conference (Oxford, England, September 1981).