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Title: Personal understanding and target understanding : their relationships through individual variations and curricular influences
Author: Smith, Colin A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The current trends in educational research, in educational theory (academic and applied), and in educational practice, have brought to the fore, issues of what understanding in educational contexts entails. These pressures to develop a concept of educational understanding are examined and, following Bereiter, a distinction is made between explanatory theories which seek to interpret how understanding develops in educational contexts along with why there are variations in understanding, and instructional theories which seek to specify what understanding should be as developed by a person in an educational context. It is argued that, at the level of educational theory, understanding in educational contexts can only be fully explained in terms of the life milieu of the person - that is, the person's developmental history as an individual in a range of physical and social contexts - and in terms of the relationship between education and the society within which it is practised. An adaptational framework is suggested which sees understanding as various forms of relationships between the personal understanding of the individual and the target understandings of the contexts that individual encounters in life. These relationships may range from complete lack of engagement between personal understanding and target understanding, through various forms of mismatch, to forms of relationship in which the adaptational specifications of the target are complied with. The target understandings themselves are viewed as being embedded like sets within a universal set of all possible understandings. Thus a particular target understanding in the curriculum, can be placed in a broader context of institution, social background, national purposes, norms and so on, as required by the explanatory goals of a particular research project. An attempt is made to show the relevance of these concepts for both educational theory and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available