Knowledge exists only in living tissues in our bodies

Knowledge exists only in living tissues in our bodies; what exists in libraries and computers are codes. People are the only repositories of knowledge. Forgetting the metaphorical sense in which we casually refer to books or computers containing knowledge is usually no problem. But forgetting that it is a metaphor, and taking it literally, has had a catastrophic effect on education. The problem has grown around the false notion that the codes are the ideal form of knowledge, and so teachers try to make students’ minds mimic our coding system. So there has developed in education a notion of learning that implies that students’ minds should store information, without recognizing that the brain just isn’t very good at reliably storing coded information in the manner of a textbook or an encyclopedia. But human brains can amass huge amounts of knowledge if it is put into forms that human brains are good at learning. The book and computer accept any codes in any sequence. The human mind is good [-p.70] at learning when knowledge is made meaningful and emotionally charged and imaginatively engaging. It isn’t hard to work out how to make knowledge fit those criteria, which take a somewhat different character at the different stages of education.” (pp.69-70)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Kieran Egan (2008) The Future of Education: Reimagining Our Schools from the Ground Up. Yale University Press: New Haven and London


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Literate Contexts, Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners, Understanding Education and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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