How Cultural Differences Shape the Reception of Knowledge

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This book, written to help teachers, is a psychology of knowledge and the learning process in children aged between 4 to 18 years. It deals with problems in the classroom such as: differences in the degree of social preparedness; different assumptions about work, space and time; and variations in intellectual learning levels. The book's goal is to help teachers identify, analyze, test and teach with these issues in mind.


“The sciences of mind and brain have enjoyed a sustained and accelerating period of growth and excitement for most of the past 50 years. Most of what has been discovered is directly relevant to what happens in the classroom. Nonetheless it has had very little impact on the ways in which teachers are trained ... This should stop: teachers should be seen as applied cognitive scientists, and trained accordingly. That, in a nutshell, is what seems to me to be Dr. Anita Craig’s most general argument in this work.” – (from the Preface) Professor David Spurrett, University of KwaZulu-Natal

“Dr. Craig speaks with psychological and philosophical weight and no where more so than in this current volume. Making no bones about the real project of education – the teaching of universally standardised skills, technology and language – she advocates teaching subject-specific disciplines with knowledge of cognition ...” – Dr. Carol A. MacDonald, Wits School of Education

“Dr. Craig convincingly argues that teachers are not necessarily enriched by stuggling through existing theories of cognition, but that they should start to study processes of learning and knowledge development themselves and, that in this way, they will learn to make use of available and often rival theories, principles and facts about cognition ... Dr. Craig challenges the reader to reflect on important questions with respect to educational policy by her thorough and at the same time personal style of arguing.” . – Professor J.J. Beishuizen, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Introduction
1.1. Some of the water in the sea
1.2. Three stories about education
2. Applying Knowledge
2.1. Knowledge without borders or owners
2.2. Another word for doing empirical research
3. The Study of Cognition
3.1. Cognition then and now
3.1.1. Classical cognitivism
3.1.2. Distributed cognition
3.1.3. Embodied cognition
3.1.4. The study of the brain
3.1.5. Other permutations
3.2. Fodor’s guided tour
3.3. Higher cognition
4. Evolution’s Gift
4.1. What we bring to learning
4.2. Intelligence and unfamiliar territory
5. Differences in the Classroom
5.1. Individual differences
5.2. Culture and change
5.3. Three theses about learning
5.3.1. Learning is ubiquitous unless blocked
5.3.2. Biology (brains and bodies) directs the course of learning
5.3.3. Context exploits and limits our plasticity

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