Consciousness and unconsciousness in teaching and learning

This study considers the emerging issue of consciousness in pedagogy both theoretically and practically. It examines why this issue is of fundamental significance for teaching and learning. Basic assumptions are clarified and the psychological and philosophical fundamentals of consciousness theory explored.

Some surprising and counter-intuitive conclusions are reached. It is shown that in the partnership between consciousness and unconsciousness the latter is likely to be senior. Consciousness is probably entirely illusory, but is nonetheless probably indispensable, socially and cognitively. The radically different characteristics, capacities and potentials of consciousness and unconsciousness are considered and their roles in learning debated in the light of these radical differences.

A distinction is made between learning detail and understanding meaning and it is suggested that one is naturally an unconscious task, the other conscious. The important fundamental pedagogical implications of our deployment of students’ consciousness are debated using as example the teaching of homophone spelling.

Resource type
Physical format
9 pages