Alfred North Whitehead on Instructional Procedure

“This discussion rejects the doctrine that students should first learn passively, and then, having learned, should apply knowledge. It is psychological error. In the process of learning, there should be present, in some sense or other, a subordinate activity or application. In fact, the applications are part of the knowledge. For the very meaning of things known is wrapped up in their relationships beyond themselves. Thus, unapplied knowledge is knowledge is knowledge shorn of its meaning.”

Alfred North Whitehead

Essays in Science and Philosophy

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

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