FocusCorrespondence between objective fact and subjective understanding
Principal MetaphorsThe specific metaphors of Correspondence Discourses vary from one theory to the next. However, broadly speaking, they tend to cluster around the following:
- Knowledge is … external, objective truth
- Knowing is … internal, subjective understanding
- Learner is … a mental entity in a physical body
- Learning is … internalizing
- Teaching is … transmitting
OriginatedAncient (entrenched in the language)
SynopsisCorrespondence Discourses are perspectives on learning that assume a radical separation of mental (or internal, or brain-based) and physical (or external, or body-based). That separation sets up the need for a correspondence between what’s happening in the real, objective world and what’s happening in one’s inner, subjective world. Most Correspondence Discourses are developed around object-based metaphors (e.g., knowledge seen as a thing, a commodity, bits of information, a fluid, and/or a product/outcome). Consequently, learning is commonly interpreted as a discontinuous, accumulative process, of learning one thing and then the next. Typically, Correspondence Discourses rely on linear/direct imagery, rigid binaries/dichotomies/dualisms, and Newtonian mechanics. (Contrast with Coherence Discourses.) Many Correspondence Discourses are developed around classification systems, taxonomies, and typologies that are based on multiple distinctions, and virtually all rely on the following processes:
- Reification (Concretism; Hypostatization) – the conceptual shift involved when an abstract phenomenon (e.g., event, thought, concept, value, belief) comes to be treated as a physical object – that is, a form that one might infer is stable and knower-independent, and something that can be acquired, shaped, manipulated, measured, relayed, etc.
- Literalization (Dead Metaphor) (Richard Rorty, 1980s) – the rendering literal of a figurative device, in a way that makes it difficult to be conscious of or to recover the original figurative meaning.
- Learning Objectives – specific and measurable bits of learning that are typically used to frame lessons and select teaching approaches. As evident in this description, Learning Objectives are most often framed by the Acquisition Metaphor – that is, they are stated in terms of “getting some thing.”
- Learning Goals – typically considered as broader that Learning Objectives, these are usually understood as more aspirational ambitions that are most often framed by the Attainment Metaphor – that is, they are expressed in terms of “getting some where.”
- Learning Objects (Content Objects; Educational Objects; Information Objects; Intelligent Objects; Knowledge Bits; Knowledge Objects; Learning Components; Media Objects; Reusable Curriculum Components; Reusable Information Objects; Reusable Learning Objects; Testable Reusable Units of Cognition; Training Components; Units of Learning) – prominently associated with E-Learning, these are self-contained digital packets of information that deal with clearly defined topics. Typically, Learning Objects include elements of content, context, practice, and assessment, and common forms include podcasts, e-books, videos, and electronic presentations.
CommentaryDifferent Correspondence Discourses have different issues, but all rely on a troublesome mental/physical dichotomy.
- Learning Goals
- Learning Objectives
- Learning Objects (Content Objects; Educational Objects; Information Objects; Intelligent Objects; Knowledge Bits; Knowledge Objects; Learning Components; Media Objects; Reusable Curriculum Components; Reusable Information Objects; Reusable Learning Objects; Testable Reusable Units of Cognition; Training Components; Units of Learning)
- Literalization (Dead Metaphor)
- Reification (Concretism; Hypostatization)
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Correspondence Discourses” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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