Knowledge of Education

Adaptive Knowing How (to Do)

'Adaptive knowing how' is mental structures for conventional doing, where alternative paths to a goal can be taken, choosing or combining paths based on specific conditions.


The following conditions must be met in order for a teacher (T) to determine that a student (S) knows how to do the conventional performance, P:

S knows how to do the convention P if and only if

    1. S has the capacity for doing P. 
    2. S has the facility for doing P. 
    3. S smoothly executes P. 
    4. P is a multi-pathed doing. 
    5. T knows that the above conditions hold for doing P.

(George Maccia, cited in Frick [1997, p. 116]).

See Frick (1997), conventional procedures and performances. Note that the term 'adaptive' has been substituted for 'conventional' and that 'procedural' knowing is ommitted here.

As Maccia (1987), Frick (1997), Greenspan and Benderly (1997) and Estep (2003; 2006) have argued, the mind-body distinction is fallacious (i.e., cognitive vs. psycho-motor vs. affective in Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives). For example, try driving an automobile on a highway without being immediately aware of one’s surroundings and making adjustments accordingly. Failing to be immediately aware will threaten one’s prospects for survival. This is not a rote motor skill. What distinguishes imitative from adaptive know-how is that multiple means to an end exist. For example, a person has mental structures for adaptive know-how, where performance P is going from home to work, and she is capable of taking alternative routes. In order to find her way, she must also have mental structures for acquaintive knowing, where object Q is the unique configuration of roads and streets.

See also Maccia (1988), Genetic Epistemology of Intelligent Natural Systems: Propositional, Procedural, and Performative Intelligence.