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How the conception of knowledge influences our educational practices: Toward a philosophical understanding of epistemology in education

James Magrini

This article deals with the philosophical issue of epistemology, or knowledge theory, in education as related to forms of learning, teaching methods and assessment in the language arts classroom, specifically reading instruction. The article details two common forms of curricular knowledge emerging from the essentialist and instrumentalist epistemological clusters; the former represents knowledge that is “given in advance to students”, and the latter refers to knowledge that is “created through dialogic interchange”. In order to demonstrate the manner in which the educator’s view of knowledge influences the decisions they make when organising the learning experiences of their students, which includes a teaching methodology and appropriate modes of assessment consistent with their philosophy of knowledge, the article explicates the relationship between fundamental epistemological beliefs and the structure of the educational process.

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