Saturday, January 01, 2005

about knowing

About Knowing Posted by Hello

It's about to be a new semester... time for me to mould (or warp) the minds of a new set of students.I always start by setting expectations using this graph.

know – what we know… for me this might be network engineering or biomedical engineering.

know you don’t know – for me, this might be astrophysics… I know virtually nothing about astrophysics… but I do know the word, and I do know it is something I don’t know. Using Google, in a couple of hours I could get a fairly good picture of the scope of the subject… using the college library and some of my collegues, I could probably know something about it in a couple of days… and with any effort and focus, I could know more about it than most Americans in a year.

don’t know you don’t know – absolute ignorance… like looking into the clear nighttime sky and seeing specs of light… not knowing what to call them (stars), or that the study of astronomy has been a science for millennia.

know but don’t want to know – denial… the truth is my jeans are tight because I’ve been over eating… but I choose to know that the dryer has been hotter than usual, and the clothes are naturally shrinking.

The classes I teach made the know segment very slightly larger, but with any success I’ll make the know you don’t know segment much larger. Both areas of growth impinge on the don’t know you don’t know segment.


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