Knowing and understanding

Note that disciplinary understanding is not the same as the mere accrual of facts (sometimes termed subject-matter knowledge). Facts are fine but they do not in themselves involve any disciplinary understanding. Moreover, in this day of handheld devices, there is little point in memorizing facts that are instantly available at one’s fingertips. Rather, educators should help students to understand the ways in which disciplinary specialists establish and confirm knowledge. This acquisition necessarily involves immersion in the kinds of activities in which specialists are regularly engaged — carrying out proofs in mathematics, making systematic observations and conducting experiments in science, or poring over documents and graphic materials in history.

Howard Gardner, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed, p. 125

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