ERIC Number: EJ851547
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Are Instructors Who Have "Practical Experience" Necessarily Superior to Those Who Don't?
Harris, Scott R.
American Sociologist, v39 n1 p86-93 Mar 2008
Personal or practical experience is often touted as a uniquely valuable source of knowledge in academia, as in everyday life. Assumptions about the necessity, superiority, or insightfulness of "first-hand familiarity" with a phenomenon (such as working as a police officer or suffering discrimination) can shape hiring decisions, influence how faculty members present themselves, and guide the developmental trajectory of departments. These assumptions can be superficial, however. This article questions the universal appeal of personal experience by arguing that it is not without limitations; not always possible, desirable, or relevant; sometimes not dramatically distinct from other ways of knowing; and sometimes inferior to other ways of knowing. Prior experience can have benefits, but is not an unassailable source of knowledge and should not be treated as an unqualified "good."
Descriptors: Familiarity, Faculty, Teachers, Experiential Learning, Prior Learning, Social Discrimination
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A