Monday, November 9, 2009

Topic: Some Thoughts on Knowledge and Meaning.

10-second review: Knowledge and meaning are socially constructed, historical, partial, multiple and political. If this doesn’t make sense, don’t quit. Keep reading.

Title: “The Paradigm Misfit Blues.” JW Solsken. Research in the Teaching of English (October 1993), 316-324. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Knowledge and meaning….

…are socially constructed interpretations and practice, i.e., used in social practices.

…historical…located and embedded in the moment as it emerges from the moments that preceded it.

…partial, i.e., incomplete and never “completable.”

…multiple, i.e., differ across groups and situations and within them—inherently unstable.

…political, i.e., biased toward particular interests.

Comment; What are the practical consequences of this view of knowledge and meaning? Knowledge is used, is influenced by the past, is never complete, is interpreted differently by different people and interpreted by people with special interests.

I guess all of this applies to ideas in education, especially the fads in educational thought and practice. It’s comforting to know that “this too shall pass.” RayS.

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