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The development of epistemological pluralism through a web-based postgraduate curriculum course

Dawson, V. and Taylor, P. (1999) The development of epistemological pluralism through a web-based postgraduate curriculum course. In: Teaching and Learning Forum 1999: Teaching in the Disciplines/Learning in Context, 3 - 4 February 1999, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA

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Techniques and procedures for acquiring, validating and evaluating knowledge claims are developed through procedural knowing. Separate and connected knowing are alternative forms of procedural knowing. Separate knowing is characterised by an objective, critical and adversarial stance whereas connected knowing is based on empathy and a willingness to suspend judgement. In the field of science and mathematics education the skills of separate knowers are valued and rewarded. That is, the ability to argue competitively, critique dispassionately, analyse according to rules and procedures and to exclude feelings and emotions.

This paper focuses on the web-based component of a post-graduate curriculum course in science and mathematics education where the course tutors explicitly valued and nurtured the connected knower skills of empathy, learning from personal experience and a sensitive collaborative approach. The course tutors adopted a connected teaching approach in the implementation of learning activities designed to encourage critical reflection about the learner's views of curriculum. The activities included maintaining a personal journal, participation in discussion room 'activities' and written assignments. In doing so, the tutors aimed to move their students toward an epistemological pluralism of constructed knowing, an integration of separate and connected ways of knowing.

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