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Knowledge, Understanding, and the Disposition to Seek Both

by Lilian G. Katz
November/December 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/knowledge-understanding-and-the-disposition-to-seek-both/5019646/

During the last two decades federal and state educational agencies have put forward national and state standards for academic achievement for all of our children at all levels of education. Invariably, the main purposes of such standards are stated in terms of what all children "should know and be able to do." Thus far no reference to goals such as the dispositions to use the knowledge, and to be willing to do what they are expected to become able to do, have been seen. In other words, these national and state documents omit reference to the importance of young children "wanting to know" and becoming "eager to do" — or in any other sense, strengthening and supporting positive dispositions to go on learning and to use what is learned. Furthermore, performance standards that emphasize the acquisition of knowledge tend to omit reference to the importance of understanding the knowledge, or reference to the disposition to seek understanding.

For children growing up to become responsible participants in a democracy, the disposition to seek understanding of the complex issues and decisions for which we all share responsibility should be a major goal of education at every level. At the preschool level this goal ...

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