Understanding as an Educational Objective

Authored by: Catherine Z. Elgin

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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Familiar pedagogical and assessment strategies presuppose that a central goal of education is understanding. This chapter argues that this holds for K-12 education as well as in university settings, and that it holds across disciplines. Students should learn to reason beyond the information they are explicitly taught, to expand and deepen their capacity to think and foster epistemic autonomy. The chapter contrasts indoctrination with reflective endorsement of disciplinary standards of judgment, arguing that students should learn both why practitioners in the different disciplines favor their criteria of reason or evidence, and how those criteria can responsibly be challenged.

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