Developing Students’ Personal Epistemologies

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Gruber, Hans
Harteis, Christian
Billett, Stephen
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2015
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Students’ personal epistemologies are central to their learning in both education and practice settings. These epistemologies comprise what they know, can do and value and as such are the foundations for how they engage with what they experience in both settings, and also come to learn from those activities and interactions. A helpful concept to understand about developing further learners’ personal epistemologies is to consider their readiness to learn, in terms of their conceptual, procedural and dispositional capacities to engage with and learn from what they experience. That is, if students do not have the kinds of capacities required to effectively engage in practice, they may not be able to make the kinds of transitions to be able to learn effectively for what is required both during their course and then after their graduation. The point is that different kinds of experience will generate different kinds of learning, and the students’ level of readiness can be a predictor of the ways in which students can engage and, therefore, learn through their activities, albeit in the educational institution or workplace. This readiness places the students in zones of potential development, as Vygotsky proposes. Hence, quite contrary to the popular concept of the Zone of Proximal Development, it is as much the extent of the learners’ ability to extend what they know, can do and value through their own efforts as when assisted by others. It is these issues that are considered in this chapter in terms of personal epistemologies, learner readiness and the promotion of individuals’ personal epistemologies through teacherly actions.

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Integrating Practice-based Experiences into Higher Education
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Education
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Billett, S, Developing Students’ Personal Epistemologies, Professional and Practice-based Learning, 2015, 9, pp. 225-251
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