Monday, April 17, 2006

Knowledge Metaphors

How we see 'education', 'schooling', 'learning', 'teaching' and 'assessment' has much to do with how we see knowledge. Here is a page that my wife Sue put together that nicely illustrates some different ways of seeing knowledge...

Knowledge gained from different disciplines is quite separate and can’t be easily integrated.

You can build knowledge from different disciplines, but some disciplines are more foundational than others. To what extent is knowledge restricted by its foundations?

Knowledge from different disciplines fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Integrating knowledge from different disciplines creates emergent understandings, new perceptions and new questions. Do our questions create the universe to be discovered?

Knowledge in one area is a reflection of the whole. Can you know the whole through complete knowledge of the part?

Knowledge is like a tree… mathematics explains physics explains chemistry explains biology explains love. Is there knowledge to be found outside the branches of the tree?

Knowledge is nested: Knowledge at each level includes and transcends earlier levels.

Each discipline illuminates a facet of the 'truth'. We need to bring in all perspectives to see the whole. What perspectives might be missing?

Knowledge is like a river… it moves and changes. If you dip your toe into the river tomorrow, you will experience a different river from today. There is no truth which stands still to be found.

No dout there are many other metaphors...

4 Quadrant Integral Theory might suggest all the above have some validity... eg knowledge gained from methods of inquiry in one quadrant should be applied very cautiously to other quadrants (buliding blocks) and knowledge that omits any quadrant gives only a partial view of 'reality' (elephant) and each quadrant contains parts which are wholes - holons (nested) and each quadrant is evolving with no end in sight (river)...

Graphics: MS Clipart Online

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