1. Three Old Ideas and a New One
2. Mythic Understanding
3. Romantic Understanding
4. Philosophic Understanding
5. Ironic Understanding and Somatic Understanding
6. Some Questions and Answers
7. Some Implications for the Curriculum
8. Some Implications for Teaching
Educated Mind: How Cognitive Tools Shape Our Understanding / Edition 2by Kieran Egan
Pub. Date: 12/01/1998
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
The ills of education are caused, Kieran Egan argues, by the fact that we have inherited three major educational ideas, each of which is incompatible with the other two. These mutual incompatibilities bring about clashes at every level of the educational process, from curriculum decisions to teaching methods. His account is cool, clear, and wholly original, and his diagnosis convinces with something like a shock.
Not content with a radical diagnosis, Egan presents us with a new and sophisticated alternative. Egan reconceives our intellectual development as our learning to use particular "intellectual tools"--such as language or literacy--which shape how we make sense of the world. These mediating tools generate successive kinds of understanding: somatic, mythic, romantic, philosophical, and ironic. Very provocative is Egan's argument that our individual development recapitulates our larger cultural history: from the somatic understanding of our prehistoric ancestors, to the romantic mode of early literate societies, through to the ironic mode of the modern era. As practical as it is theoretically innovative, the book concludes with practical proposals for how teaching and curriculum should be changed to reflect this new conception and fits in with how we actually learn.
The writing is elegant, witty, and rich with insights. The narrative moves from profound theoretical issues, discussed with great clarity and telling examples, to details of practical implementation.
Innovative, provocative, and compelling, Egan's The Educated Mind offers a bold and revitalizing new vision for today's uncertain educational system.
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