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ERIC Number: EJ1107078
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0228-0671
Good-Enough Understanding: Theorising about the Learning of Complex Ideas (Part 2)
Zack, Vicki; Reid, David A.
For the Learning of Mathematics, v24 n1 p25-28 2004
In part 1 of this article Zack and Reid offered two examples of students operating with good-enough understandings in mathematics, and related their understandings to features of good-enough understanding identified by Mackey (I997) in the context of reading. Mackey contends that the ability to read further, on the basis of a very imperfect understanding of the story to that point in time, is a vital and profoundly undervalued skill in complex reading. Opting for a temporary decision which is good enough for the time being is not only a good move, it is one which we make all the time when in the midst of learning. Mackey proposed that learners work with "good enough for the moment" ideas as placeholders. When confronted by many complex ideas for the first time through, they make many tentative, temporary decisions, and keep diverse and sometimes contradictory possibilities "in the air," waiting at times to the end to make sense of what has transpired Similarly, students engaged in mathematical activity behave "as if" their understandings are sufficient, as long as they do not fail in some way. Good-enough understanding means "making do" on occasion, and moving on, Being good enough is not a weakness to be overcome, however. In fact, Zack and Reid contend that being good enough is all we can do. In this second part of the article, Zack and Reid will consider a case where a student's understandings continue to be good enough in spite of operating with two contradictory understandings. [For "Good-Enough Understanding: Theorising about the Learning of Complex Ideas (Part 1)," see EJ1106687.]
FLM Publishing Association. 382 Education South, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5, Canada. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A