Views of Learning & Knowledge

Create a class environment where students’ views of learning and knowledge can evolve.

Students’ views of the speed of knowledge, the stability of knowledge, and the authority of information typically evolve as they progress through their education.

If teachers can ascertain students’ epistemological beliefs, they can perhaps adapt instruction to guide lower achieving students into higher level thinking, and conversely, they can adapt instruction for higher achieving students to help them to grow.

Schommer-Aikins, M. (2004). Explaining the epistemological belief system: Introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research approach. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 19-29. doi: 10.1207/s15326985ep3901_3

In any optimal sense, even a good estimate of “where the student is” in his structuring of the world is not enough. Has he just arrived there? If so, confirmation should aim at assisting him in firming up and expanding his discoveries. Is he ready to move on? If so, instruction should present him with those incongruities which best challenge him at the leading edge of his growth.

Perry, William G., Jr. (1970), Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)

Our research consistently indicates that children who believe intelligence is increasable pursue the learning goal of increasing their competence, whereas those who believe intelligence is a fixed entity are more likely to pursue the performance goal of securing positive judgments of that entity or preventing negative judgments of it.

Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological review95(2), 256.


Additional References:

Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing stereotype threat and boosting academic achievement of African-American students: The role of conceptions of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 113 – 125.

Blackwell, L., Trzesniewski, K. & Dweck, C. S., 2007. Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention. Child Development, 78, 246-263.

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related patterns in students' intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Hofer, B. K., & Pintrich, P. R. (1997). The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of Educational Research, 67(1), 88-140. doi:10.3102/00346543067001088

Paulsen, M., & Wells, C. (1998). Domain differences in the epistemological beliefs of college students. Research in Higher Education, 39(4), 365-384.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


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