Appreciating What the World Says Back to Us
Such evaluations or judgments are made by my "appreciative system" (taking a term from Donald Schon). And where did I get that? How did I develop it? In most cases, of course, I did not invent it all by myself. I learned how to appreciate the results of my action by participating with people who knew the domain better than me--and who mentored, resourced, modeled, or otherwise helped me. This is as true of doing biology as it is of playing Yu-Gi-Oh. The best "tests," then, about where I am in my development of domain knowledge are: a) do I know how to "go on"--what to do next--based on a good appreciative system and b) am I a participant in a "community" whose appreciative system I am learning and hopefully eventually contributing to?
These two tests--the best we can imagine, in my view, if we care about real learning--are rarely part of today's official tests. It is little wonder that today's students can often pass tests, but cannot apply their knowledge--they have no idea really how to go on, how to "appreciate" what the world has said back to them (and, of course, we are finding out that failing to listen to the world's response or appreciate its significance is dangerous).
Editor's Note: See Gee's additional posts in this series here and here.
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