Teaching Seminar

Title:  Six facets of understanding

Speaker: Discussion

Abstract: It is proposed that understanding a concept can be described at six levels. 1. Explain: provide thorough, supported, and justifiable accounts of phenomena, facts, and data. 2. Interpret: tell meaningful stories; offer apt translations; provide a revealing historical or personal dimension to ideas and events; make it personal or accessible through images, anecdotes, analogies, and models. 3. Apply: effectively use and adapt what we know in diverse contexts. 4. Have perspective: see and hear points of view through critical eyes and ears; see the big picture. 5. Empathize: find value in what others might find odd, alien, or implausible; perceive sensitively on the basis of prior direct experience. 6. Have self-knowledge: perceive the personal style, prejudices, projections, and habits of mind that both shape and impede our own understanding; we are aware of what we do not understand and why understanding is so hard.