ENGAGING EDUCATION » Applying Psychology, Multidimensional Learning

Developing Our Multiple “Faculties of Knowing”

Last year, I took a course called “Cognition,” where we learned about the different “faculties of knowing.” (e.g. imagery, problem-solving, language, etc.) It was an introductory/survey course, so each week covered a different faculty. Each chapter of our textbook also covers 1 faculty, so we pretty much read 1 chapter / week, and the course flowed quite nicely.

Here are the topics we learned about:

Cognitive Neuroscience
Reasoning, Judgement, and Choice
Intelligence and Creativity
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Autism (as a “bonus” topic for the last week of class, after our class voted on it)

The kicker? We learned all about of these different, and amazing ways of thinking, and yet the only way we were tested was through our memory.  All we did were multiple choice questions based on the lectures and the textbook. So even though we learned how to improve our perception, imagery, and memory, the only skill we developed in practice was our memory. I see this as a huge missed opportunity.


The point of this post is not to criticize this course in particular. In fact, I’m very grateful to have taken this course, as it has opened my eyes to the many ways in which people think. Many of which we could develop in our students (of all ages!)

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