David Perkins an American Educationist contrasts views of understanding as ‘flexible performance capability’ and ‘mental representation’
1) As per your previous readings David Perkins who is an American Educationist contrasts views of understanding as ‘flexible performance capability’ and ‘mental representation’. One of the earlier
thinkers to present the idea of understanding as a form of mental representation was the English empiricist philosopher, John Locke. In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, published in 1690,
Locke proposed that individual understanding is part of a process through which new ideas are inductively abstracted from our sensual impressions:
Our observation, employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings
with all the materials of thinking.
As an empiricist, Locke believed that ‘all the materials of thinking’, and therefore also understanding, are based on experience and, contrary to the views of his contemporaries such as the
idealist philosopher, Berkeley, that no ideas can be innate. All general ideas in Locke’s view are denoted by words, upon which we reflect, and, in the process, formulate abstractions which
constitute the basis of our understanding.
If, according to this empiricist view, the year 4 pupils’ understanding of multiplication takes the form of internal mental representations of the outside world, how could we best capture those
representations through research? Write about ways in which you envisage there could be the possibility of a research method based on introspection in which the year 4 children are asked to try to
look inward and give an account of the processes occurring in their minds during the
2) Research requires negotiation over procedures. Such negotiation would refer to: first, the extent to which the anonymity of the school and teachers needs to be and can be preserved – not an easy
matter; second, the ways in which the information is to be gathered; third, clearance with relevant people of this information as accurate and acceptable reflections of what was said or seen;
fourth, an opportunity for all concerned to question the researcher’s interpretation of the data; finally, the right of those concerned to offer an alternative interpretation of the evidence.
(Pring, 2004: 150)
Ask the same questions about the following list of ethical principles to guide educational research, adapted from Kemmis and McTaggart (1982):
• Relevant committees, authorities, individuals need to be consulted.
• All participants must be allowed to influence the work, and the wishes of those who do not wish to participate must be respected.
• The development of the work must remain visible to all, and open to suggestion.
• Permission must be obtained before making observations or examining documents produced for other institutional purposes.
• Description of others’ work must be negotiated with those concerned.
• The researcher must accept responsibility for maintaining confidentiality.
• Explicit authorization must be obtained before using quotations – e.g. verbatim transcripts.