chapter  3
16 Pages

The Intuitive Mind and Knowledge About History

WithJames V.Wertsch & Joseph L.Polman

Claims about the intuitive mind and intuitive knowledge have come to occupy an important role in contemporary discussions of cognition and instruction. Scholars from a variety of theoretical perspectives have examined the nature and development of intuitive knowledge in several domain-specific areas, including psychology (Astington, 1995), biology (Keil, 1989), and physics (Carey & Spelke, 1994). Furthermore, the findings from this research have come to play an increasingly important role in the analysis and organization of formal instruction (e.g., Dykstra, Boyle, & Monarch, 1992; Posner, Strike, Hewson, & Gertzog, 1982). In this chapter, we briefly review some of the senses that the term intuitive takes on in relation to scientific conceptions, and then go on to examine an area that has been largely neglected in cognitive research: historical knowledge and instruction. We discuss some of the unique characteristics of knowledge and instruction in the discipline of history, such as narrative knowing and the importance of such instruction for national identity. Such factors complicate the direct application of research findings and instructional designs from the natural sciences to history teaching and learning, and necessitate the need for more research on intuitive conceptions in the history domain.