Knowledge of Education


Knowing consists of mental structures for warranted beliefs*, capabilities for effective performance, and right opinions.

Three Kinds of Knowing: That One, That, and How


Illustration of three kinds of knowing by Elizabeth Boling.


Nine Types of Knowing

Knowing that: warranted beliefs*

Knowing how: effective performance

Knowing that one: right opinion


*Charles Sanders Peirce (1877) discussed four methods of fixating belieftenacity, authority, agreeableness to reason, and the method of scienceScientific method (disciplined inquiry) means that any rational agent can repeat the same method and should come to the same conclusion.  Peirce argued that beliefs are best warranted by disciplined inquiry.



Other kinds of knowing are excluded from educology if there is no unambiguous way that a teacher can discern such knowings. Maccia (1973) refered to pedagogical epistemology as follows:

... knowing is viewed in light of tutorial requirements. Only those knowings to which a teacher has access, which a teacher can bring to a learner, and which a learner can communicate in some way to a teacher are taken seriously. (p. 1)

There may be other kinds of student knowing to which teachers have no access when observing and communicating with students. For example, Polyani referred to "tacit knowing," which essentially meant knowing that could not be shared with others (as intersubjective signs) ("Micheal Polyani," n.d.).

Without further digression here, if teachers have no way to tell if students have achieved such unobservable kinds of knowing, then these kinds of knowing are excluded from educology. This is why Maccia referred to "tutorial conditions of knowing" in further explication his pedagogical epistemology (e.g., Maccia, 1987, 1988). Note that his categories of knowing that, knowing that one, and knowing how were progressively refined between 1973 and 1988.

Of course, mental structures are not directly observable by teachers or others (except perhaps indirectly by MRI brain studies). Nonetheless, teachers can put students into situations and require tasks for students to carry out, and then infer student knowing from observable indicators. As an example, near the end of physicians’ medical education, they become interns where they practice medicine with actual patients and their maladies. They are supervised and observed by teacher-physicians who are already licensed for practice, and who provide further coaching and feedback to these student-physicians-to-be. These physician-coaches can infer from observation whether or not their student interns are making proper diagnoses, ordering appropriate medical tests, and carrying out appropriate treatments. In short, the test is a method by which a teacher can unambiguously infer student mental structures from observable indicators under appropriate conditions.