Neither language nor personal interests should be enough an obstacle to divide us therefore.
In order to explain the act of constructing knowledge, two dimensions of this process will have to be taken into account. These are the social and the individual bases of knowledge.
basis of knowledge
Now, since we can produce and understand knowledge only in relation to what we already know, this implies that what we know reflects more information about us and not about anything else. For example, at school we do not study what appears to be a planetary organisation of our solar system. Rather, we study what we have come to perceive as a planetary system. There is nothing binding about the concept of a planetary system. We can always change the way we view our universe.
We can conclude therefore that nothing that we know is independent of us. We know what we created and what works to us as knowledge.
thinking and the social basis of knowledge
This brings us to the next conclusion: We do not construct knowledge continuously. We do so only when we experience problems i.e. when we feel that we cannot move forward, progress. We can say that we do not construct knowledge unless we are challenged to do so i.e. unless what we know so far does not seem to be enough to solve problems that we experience. Constructing knowledge therefore happens as a result of experiencing problems or a failure. It is not a process that we do continuously. We can say that we construct knowledge only when we are forced to do so in the face of problems that we experience.
basis of knowledge
Knowledge therefore are not statements that reflect impersonal sets of beliefs. Furthermore, with knowledge being personal, or individually appropriated, even the beliefs or understandings that appear to be shared by more than one person are never the same beliefs! This is so because none of these beliefs is constructed in relation to the same sets of understandings. Individuals differ in terms of what they know at any given time.
We can conclude therefore that no single person shares with another single person the same beliefs or understandings. As a result, knowledge can never be treated as static set of beliefs. Rather knowledge emerges here as a dynamic entity, a product of interaction between individuals (or individuals’ histories) and specific problems in relation to which it has been generated.
pedagogy and the individual basis of knowledge
How to enable
students in our teaching environments to study or gain knowledge by a process
that respects their past and hence makes learning depend on their past,
has been described by Ania Lian in article On the concept of experiencing
(a) We cannot escape history; we are history.To conclude the concept of challenge emerges as the sole trigger for learning. We can learn only when unable to deal with challenges. Only then we seek more information, more clues that would help us build on those challenges and resolve them in a constructive, informed way.
Ania Lian, 2002
Copyright © Ania Lian 2002