Knowledge, Understanding, and Pedagogy

Teaching Philosophy 37 (3):321-342 (2014)
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Abstract

One can have a justified, true belief without much understanding of the proposition believed. This would be a low-value form of knowledge; for example, knowing that it is true that E = mc2 without understanding what it would mean for these things to be equal. Pedagogically, we seek to instill not bare knowledge of the JTB variety, but a form of knowledge that includes the ability to rephrase a claim, relate it to other claims, draw conclusions from it, and make practical use of it. This would be knowledge with understanding, a high-value form of knowledge. Such knowledge comes in degrees as understanding deepens. Marks of understanding are presented, and some pedagogical strategies for using this schema in order to add to a student’s partially present knowledge and deepen it with greater understanding are given.

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James DiGiovanna
State University of New York, Stony Brook

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