A Foundation for The Logic of Teaching
Richard Paul and Linda Elder
March 22, 1999
The first and most important insight necessary for the appropriate design of instruction and curriculum is that content is, in the last analysis, nothing more nor less than a mode of thinking. Let me explain.
There are many ways to begin to grasp the profound truth that all content is nothing more nor less than a mode of thinking (about something), a way of figuring something out, a way of understanding something through thought
. Here are just three ways of beginning to grasp this truth:
1) All "content" in school is content in a subject. All subjects are areas of study. All areas of study are "things" that we are interested in "figuring out". All fields of study have been advanced insofar as we have discovered ways to figure out whatever is being studied. There is no way to figure out something without thinking. There is no way to learn how to figure something out without learning how to think it through. There is no way to learn mathematical content without learning how to figure out correct answers to mathematical questions and problems. There is no way to learn historical content without learning how to figure out correct or reasonable answers to historical questions and problems. There is no way to learn biological content without learning how to figure out answers to biological questions and problems. Any subject or "content area" can therefore be understood as a mode of figuring out correct or reasonable answers to a certain body of questions. We study chemistry to figure out chemicals (to answer questions about chemicals). We study psychology to figure out people (to answer questions about certain human problems). All subjects can be understood best in this way......
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