The Importance of Emotions in Learning
As human beings, we are constantly exposed to significant knowledge that requires an in depth understanding. When a child grows up, understanding the ways of the world is a must however, at a young age not everything can be explained fully. Therefore, we are taught using explanations. Instinctively, emotions play a role in our understanding of knowledge and therefore explanations can vary. Giving a good answer to a ‘Why?’ question is not just a philosophical abstraction. An explanation has cognitive, real-world functions.
The question might have an easier answer if each branch of knowledge tied together and all people had similar values and levels of intelligence. Since this is not the case, explanations try to avoid being overwhelming by complexity and instead answer the question with a generalization. These brings the question whether good explanations have to be true.
Any explanation that appeals to the age and understanding of a person is always a good explanation. The Black Death, also known as the Great Plague, the Black Plague, or simply the Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.
In the 1300s, the epidemic known as Black Death devastated the European region (Shapka, 2013). While the plague killed thousands of people, it made a severe scars and bubonic pus filled sores. The descriptions of what the plague did to the human body is highly graphic. Due to this, explaining it to children was not be advised.
Therefore, during the great plague, the rhyme “Ring around the
Rosie was created. The lyrics of this rhyme subtly yet effectively describe the cycle of what happens to someone when they have been hit with the plague (Appendix 1). The nursery rhyme is sung by most children today however most not being aware of its true meaning and that the song actually has very morbid roots. While this explanation speaks truth to a certain degree, the nature of its explanation does not clearly convey the true severity of the disease. While the explanation is true, the explanation is used to mask the dark truth of the plague by making it into a children’s rhyme. An explanation that is true may not convey every aspect of the truth depending on the person’s maturity and understanding. Explanations can be broken down into two main types: nomothetic and idiographic. Nomothetic is an explanation that establishes general laws and generalizations, while an idiographic explanation focuses on the individual suggesting that everyone is unique and therefore should be given an individual explanation. One type is not better than the other however, they could be more effective depending on who needs an explanation (Nichols, 2011). A common way of knowing, technology, is used in school almost everyday. When learning about computer science at a high school level, we are usually taught about technology, especially about functions of a computer, in a metaphorical sense.
By linking the WOK or technology and the AOKs, it becomes clear we are taught in a way to simplify and enhance our understanding. For example, we are taught that data in a computer is transferred by a bus and the components in the computer are living and can decide where each packet of data goes. As we continue to learn the subject, we learn about logic gates and truth tables which make it clear how the packets are really controlled. While we learn more and more about different aspects of computer technology, our understanding of the explanation we originally learned becomes more and more clear over time. This means that the explanation is originally unclear and unrealistic, but as more relevant personal knowledge is gained, the explanation seems to become better. This is clearly an idiographic explantation as it links directly to an individuals personal understanding. Explanations are good when they are appropriate for someones age and understanding however, can be developed over time as the person changes. This way of explaining is similar to learning about our home planet, Earth. At first it is really hard to accept that Earth is a sphere. Then we learn that the small yellow warm ball in the sky is not that small, but instead extremely large and very far away. It is also not orbiting earth but instead the earth is orbiting it. Later on in your learning journey, you learn that this is false. The earth does not orbit the sun. They orbit a common point. Even later, you learn that even that is false. Because it is only our description. Only a question of where you put the origin in of your reference frame. This approach to explaining our solar system is not true, however, it is good since the person would have at least a close understanding of how the Earth orbits (Siegel, 2018).
While we believe we know the truth by understanding explanations, we do not have the audacity to claim to know what is completely “true”. All that we can hope for is that we have come closer to the “truth”. As mentioned, it was once believed that the the sun revolved around the earth. Now we know that the earth revolves around the sun. But, we recently learned that there are many suns in a galaxy with planets revolving around them and, there are hundreds of galaxies revolving around a “black hole” (Siegel, 2018). So, we can only hope that our explanations are getting closer to the truth. The most advanced “scientific” explanations of our physical reality seem to be harmful to humanity. The interpretations of scientists have been that there is no purpose for humans in the universe and that the universe is meaningless. Does every explanation have to be completely true and accurate to be considered the best explanation? Every situation in our real lives can be broken down into steps. For example, to say that “I came home and ate dinner” can be brought down to several different branches of explanation such as “I cam home, took off my shoes, changed my clothes, and ate dinner”. We can continue this process all the way down to where there are only two options for everything decision. This is the mathematical side to explanations. Boolean algebra is an explanation in the form of 0s and 1s (Berry, 2017). By bringing down a situation to a binary representation gives the most accurate explanation of the situation. While all explanations appeal to a different factor based on who is it who is being explained, the only true explanation is the one which is the most accurate.
This means that the best explanations are not those which are explained with the most detailed words but instead those which are represented using mathematical diagrams and tables. Using boolean algebra is a nomothetic explanation and therefore establishes general laws and generalizations. However, most mathematical explanations are most likely not clear to any who is not well educated in the math field. This brings to question, are explanations good based on how well they are understood, or the accuracy of the explanation itself? Gaining knowledge all comes down to interpreting the truth. Explanations are essentially the “middle man” which makes the truth clear depending on the reader, filtering out any knowledge that does not fit the persons understanding. However, a good explanation does not necessarily have to be true but a true explanation is always good. If we think logically, a true explanation is always based on facts not opinions and it is far from being biased. So, it can’t be challenged because opinions are attacked, facts are not attacked. So, a true explanation is undebatable and so it is good. In conclusion, gaining knowledge by discovering the truth is very important however, depending on a persons understanding and values, an explanation would have to be modified. This means that the different “versions” of an explanation may not be effective for everyone. While a good explanation may not necessarily be true, it most likely appeals to the readers emotions and maturity of the topic. Due to this difference in perspectives between the general public and scientists, scientists believe that there may be a “psychological” dimension to humans which must also be considered before they expose the immensity of the truth upon them as an explanation’s only interpretation.
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