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DONNA LYNNE HARLAN, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In September 1959, Jerome Bruner, noted psychologist and educator, convened a conference of world-renowned educators, psychologists, and scientists. The intent of the Woods Hole Conference, as it came to be known, was to examine how science education might be improved in the elementary and secondary schools in America. The concern of the conference was the gap between instruction and the technological reality of the rapidly expanding knowledge base (of 1959). The conferees proceeded to determine that there are four major elements of learning: (1) curriculum; (2) readiness; (3) intuition; (4) motivation (Bruner, 1977, p. 13). This dissertation examined one of these elements of learning, intuition, in the context of today's educational dilemmas: the breakdown of public confidence in public education coincidental with the "widening gap between instruction and the technological reality of the rapidly expanding knowledge base" (of 1985). In twenty-five years the dilemmas are the same and the gap only wider. The investigation examined the premise that intuition has been proven to be a valid source of knowledge acquisition in the fields of philosophy, psychology, art, physics, and mathematics. However, upon examining a sample of teaching methods there seemed to be little reference to or acknowledgement of intuitive learning or teaching. The dissertation then investigated various philosophies of education to examine why intuition may not be acknowledged in public education. The dissertation then examined the possibility of intuitive learning through a series of interviews with selected elementary school students. In addition, selected elementary school teachers were interviewed to determine their definitions and application of intuition to the teaching process. Having determined some characteristics of intuitive learning and teaching, model lessons for using intuition in teaching were recommended.

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

HARLAN, DONNA LYNNE, "THE ROLE OF INTUITION IN THE TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS" (1986). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8622677.