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Please give a critical understanding of how educational and philosophical concepts on the nature of education, knowledge, teaching, and learning can enrich practitioner's perspectives.

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There are numerous ways to answer this question. Various theories deal with knowledge. The philosophical study of knowledge is called epistemology. Epistemology is concerned with what counts as knowledge, how we can verify something as knowledge, how we gather knowledge, and knowledge's relationship with truth. For instance, in many sciences,...

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There are numerous ways to answer this question. Various theories deal with knowledge. The philosophical study of knowledge is called epistemology. Epistemology is concerned with what counts as knowledge, how we can verify something as knowledge, how we gather knowledge, and knowledge's relationship with truth. For instance, in many sciences, knowledge is based on what can be observed. For these disciplines, it is even better if this information comes from "objective" experimental designs (this is called empiricism). On the other hand, arts may see knowledge as intuitive or felt. Cultural studies as a field of study sometimes thinks of knowledge as being embodied (perhaps called constructionist, constructivist, or interpretivist ways of thinking). More "practical" sciences, such as engineering, may see knowledge as what accomplishes something or what works (pragmatism).

There are thus various ways of thinking about what knowledge is and what it should accomplish. In education, it is easy to think of truth as a static and singular thing, especially in the age of standardized testing where one answer determines a student's intelligence. However, different pedagogical approaches draw from these disparate knowledge approaches. A pedagogical approach such as culturally responsive teaching would draw from a constructivist approach to knowledge, where culture determines the ways that students interact with the world and process information. Problem- or project-based learning tends to be much more practical and pragmatic, posing students with a problem that they need to solve. In reaching that solution, learning occurs. Educational approaches draw from a number of epistemological positions, and they may be useful for achieving different learning aims.

It is important to remember that while teachers may have their own beliefs about learning and knowledge, students do as well. Student beliefs about knowledge may not be conscious or fully hashed out, but that does not mean that they do not exist. Students, whether consciously or subconsciously, act and learn based on their own beliefs about knowledge. Remembering that there are different stances about what counts as knowledge and how knowledge should be used can help a practitioner gather perspective regarding their students. Knowing these different learning styles can potentially lead teachers to diversify instruction and foster greater student learning.

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