Wisdom Can Be Taught: A Proof-of-Concept Study for Fostering Wisdom in the Classroom

Learning and Instruction 58:106-114 (2018)
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Abstract

We undertook a short-term longitudinal study to test whether a set of methods common to current theories of wisdom transmission can foster wisdom in students in a measurable way. The three-dimensional wisdom scale (3D-WS) was administered to 131 students in five wisdom-promoting introductory philosophy courses and 176 students in seven introductory philosophy and psychology control courses at the beginning and end of the semester. The experimental group was divided in two (“Wisdom 1” and “Wisdom 2”), and each was taught a distinct curriculum consistent with theories of wisdom education. Results of repeated measures MANOVA showed that over the course of the semester average 3D-WS scores decreased in the control classes, stayed the same in the Wisdom 1 classes, and increased in the Wisdom 2 classes. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a wisdom curriculum has been demonstrated to increase wisdom in a traditional higher education setting.

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Brian Bruya
Eastern Michigan University

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