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Title: Teacher authority and the foundations of learning
Author: Edwards , Hazel Patricia
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This work offers a deflationary account of how children learn in the early years of primary school which is entirely free of the paradoxical difficulties of current learning theories. The account makes no claim to being yet another learning theory and is deflationary in the sense of "involving less." A pivotal element of the account is that the word "learn" has two mutually exclusive uses rather than one: when ascribed to oneself it is used without criteria, and when ascribed to others it requires criteria. This turn to studying the meaning of "learn" through consideration of how the word is used is deflationary in that avoid paradoxes like Meno's paradox and has no need of (inflationary) exotic future-anticipating platonic entities essential to a rationalist account of learning. Central to this account of learning are concepts like authority, practice, trust and tradition. These are concepts that are considered almost premodern in the contemporary educational research literature but the author draws on the writings of Wittgenstein, Polanyi and others to argue that their omission leads to the counterintuitive conclusion that learning new things is impossible. The dissertation also sets out the implications of this deflationary account for the way teaching in the primary school might be construed. The teacher's role in enabling the child to grasp a concept is to demonstrate how that concept is used in the relevant practice or practices in which it functions. Grasp of a concept moves from getting something in mind to acquiring the capacity to participate in the various practices in which the concept has a role. Finally, the dissertation explores the implications of the deflationary account for the search for a theory of learning. -
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available