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Habermasian theory “Ways of knowing”.: to show and analyse the method that shall be used to investigate the research questions in the thesis.

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Habermasian theory “Ways of knowing”.

Chapter 3 Habermasian Theory “Ways of knowing”.

3.1 Introduction

            This chapter intends to show and analyse the method that shall be used to investigate the research questions in the thesis. The chapter informs how the selected method has helped to establish succinct findings in the thesis’ study area. The Habermasian method will be used in this thesis since it is the best suited methodological approach in knowledge based scenarios attracting a certain degree of discourse among groups. This method will enable the thesis to practically show the means of converging the Saudi education through integrating the Western and traditional Islamic concepts in gifted education. Since the main feature of the Habermasian method is the harmonization of two diverging concepts, it will provide a methodology for the thesis to connect between western and the Islamic scholarship in Saudi context. The “ways of knowing” which are the basic components of the Habermasian method will enable the research to provide an approach for understanding key thesis components important for conceptualization of gifted education in the Saudi context. The ways of knowing proposed in the Habermasian theory will be discussed and elaborated in the next subsection as well as their application in the answering the thesis questions.

3.2 Habermasian theory “Ways of knowing”.

The Habermasian theory “ways of knowing” are divided into three spheres of knowledge namely the empirical analytic knowledge division, the historical hermeneutic, as well as the self-reflective division. The theorist developed the three knowledge divisions with reference to the idea of cognitive interest. Specific cognitive interest resulted to the three types of knowing proposed in the Habermasian theory (Dahlberg, 2014). The empirical analytic way of knowing was developed through cognitive interest where the chief of objective was to gather and store important facts and figure for the ability of managing ones world (Kucukaydin & Cranton, 2013). The cognitive interest in finding meaning resulted to historical hermeneutic or in other words the interpretive manner of knowing where the major objective was to conceptualize one’s world (Lovat, 2004).  Finally, the self-reflective manner of knowing resulted from the cognitive interest in being emancipated where the chief objective was full knowledge of oneself in order to ensure that what one held in the mind was dependable knowledge rather than adherent knowledge that is usually accepted uncritically by people for its safety or politically correct nature. This way of knowing caution’s us to the ability of turning over uncritical actions for the betterment of an approach that is safeguarded by the idea of critical action (Stuckey, Taylor & Cranton, 2014).

According to Lovat (2004) all the three areas of knowing proposed by the Habermasian theory can be applied in any area of study. In whatever situation, our desired need in technical control cause us to seek knowledge in the facts and quantifiable figures involved in the subject of the study; this hence calls for the empirical analytic knowledge division. Similarly, Lovat & Douglas (2007) indicates that our need in conceptualizing the significance of the study area or subject will force us to investigate the inner constructs, to try to interrelate among them. This hence calls for the historical hermeneutic area of knowledge. Finally, our need to make sure that we are able to reflect on the subject area critically as well as clearing our own line of thought leads to involvement of self-reflective area of knowledge.

The three types of knowing will hence be very strategic in answering the thesis questions. The subject matter of the thesis is meeting gifted education in western and Islamic scholarship for the Saudi context. The empirical analytic knowledge will assist the thesis in establishing the people who are actually involved in this project, what are the impacts of converging gifted western and Islamic scholarship, the expected timeframe for this event as well as establishing the key concepts of education between traditional Islamic and western scholarship. The empirical analytic sphere of knowledge will also help the research establish the balance of influences, both Western and Islamic, that Saudi education system requires for a comprehensive policy on gifted education. Similarly, the historical hermeneutic knowledge will enable the thesis to establish the Islamic scholarship in western scholarship, why the partisans felt that there is a need to converge western and Islamic scholarship of gifted education for the Saudi context as well as the underlying facts of western and Islamic education systems, their complementarities and differences. Self-reflective or else critical knowledge will enable the research to establish whether the all information that we have gathered is authentic, where there might be some other directions on the subject matter other than the ones already established, where we are situated to know the truth, or whether we might be influenced by misinformation about the subject are and land in misleading conclusion.

According to Dahlberg (2014), the Habermasian theory allows us to be assured of true knowledge of facts in the third division of knowledge since true knowledge demands for us to free our conscious. The first two knowledge spheres have gaps for us to be controlled and to be shield from critiques or ideas that are beyond our immediate spectrum of the study. This hence makes the third level of knowledge the most imperative for the study. The solutions to the proposed thesis questions will be fully guided by the Habermasian school of thought and will go through critical review of the three ways of knowledge.  This approach will enable critical review on the idea of converging Western and Islamic gifted education system for the Saudi context and further enable the research to answer and authenticate the study questions.

3.3 Ways of knowing and Education

            Education is a main underlying feature in the thesis and it would be considerable to review it in the light of the Habermasian theory’s ways of knowing for an in-depth conceptualization of the subject (Lovat, 2004). According Ryan & Ryan (2013), affective education cannot be focused on exclusively through technical learning if it is meant for maximum benefit of the students and the society at large based on the Habermasian theory. In the Habermasian school of thought social commitment is focused on developing praxis and unrestrained concept is not supplementary. A proper education system should therefore be focused on making it clients, current students and the society better. According to Morrison (2008), Habermasian thought of proper education system is inclined towards that system that focus on the intellectual, spiritual, emotional as well as moral good of the clients. This notion of education is therefore aimed at teachers and schools who are bestowed with the role of producing individuals who comprehend integrity and have the ability to use it in the their decision making.

Further, the intent of the education system ought to be elimination of any synthetic dissection linking knowing and values, because all kind of knowing as a degree of ethical component and is connected to human action (Romanowski, 2014).  Habermas defies contemporary education to focus on important facts rather than the mere learning basics. He gives an epistemology that force for a holistic and inclusive pedagogy that connects with a broad spectrum of human growth (Lovat, 2004). The interdisciplinary comprehensiveness in Habermas nature of thinking is intended in shaping the future of the education system. The main idea with Habermas is the cognitive implications of education system to a person and outcome to the society. The theorist argue that an education system would be unfulfilling if it does not lay foundation to future prospects of the young learners (Kucukaydin & Cranton, 2013).

Understanding the ways of knowing in education is related to this study in that it will assist to answer the research questions. The ways of knowing in education will enable the thesis to establish concepts of gifted education held by western and Islamic scholarships. This will enable to the thesis to establish the similarities and differences in regard to western and Islamic education systems. It will also enable the thesis to investigate how both education systems can be combined to produce a workable gifted education system that is free from current gaps and challenges. This will hence inform the thesis on a suitable and beneficial gifted education system for Saudi Arabia resulting from combining western and Islamic scholarship.

3.4 Ways of knowing and Schools

            Most learning and education takes place in a school where learners are gathered for a common goal of enhancing their intellect capacities. The Habermas definition of a school is an institution where values are thought, talked about, taught, reflected as well as endorsed (Romanowski, 2014). Since Habermas ways of knowing seeks to explicitly review a certain perspective, idea or scenario and derive meaning, schools have consequently been evaluated in regard to their ability to produce meaningful and socially acceptable results (Stuckey, Taylor & Cranton, 2014).

Understanding the ways of knowing and schools will enable the research to answer the thesis questions through clearly establishing the significance of the western education system to the Islamic system which is applied in Saudi. Ways of knowing and schools evaluates the value output of an education system to ensure that an education system provides value based education. This will hence enable the research to establish the contribution of Islamic scholarship in western scholarship. It will hence enable the study to establish themes of western and Islamic scholarship that will be suitable for a gifted education system in Saudi Arabia that is free from current challenges and gaps. Way of knowing and school will also enable the research to establish the implications of converging western and Islamic scholarship on gifted education in Saudi Arabia. For a school to provide quality and value-based education as per the Habermas perspective there is need for an articulate curriculum to guide the delivery of the desired study. The next subsection will hence discuss the Habermas’ ways of knowing and curriculum.

3.5 Ways of knowing and Curriculum

Schools and the curriculum tend to rely on the three Habermasian ways of knowing although the school is more concerned with the empirical division of knowing than the other two (VanTassel, 2008).  Application of the Habermas theory into the theory of curriculum allows for application of all the ways of knowing to derive various assumptions and reflections on the practice. According to Lovat & Douglas (2007), the Habermas’ assumption way of knowing is informed by the cognitive interest which calls for authentic results from different perspective of the curriculum. This hence enables us to see the most desirable outcome of a certain curriculum as the one which result to the highest level of practical knowledge. The Habermas ways of knowing enables us to study the curriculum in the light of establishing the most effective communication and universal understanding (Lovat & Smith, 2003).

The Habermas knowledge ways and curriculum are therefore articulate to this research and will assist to answer the research questions on subject of the study. The empirical analytic sphere of knowledge will enable the thesis to investigate on different forms of curriculums applied in the Western scholarships and those in Islamic scholarships. This hence will enable the research to identify the benefits and drawbacks of merging the Western and Islamic education systems scholarships. Ways of knowing and the curriculum is also related to the research question in that it will enable the study to establish the most articulate gifted education curriculum for Saudi Arabia after critically reviewing western and Islamic scholarship. It will also enable the study to establish the contribution of western education on the gifted education in Saudi Arabia on the basis of the curriculum. This will hence enable the research to establish how a balance between the two education systems can be created in order to achieve a good policy on gifted education. The curriculum cannot have any meaning in the absence of either teachers or learners. The next subsection will hence discuss the ways of knowing and teacher and learner.

3.6 Ways of knowing and Teacher and Learner

            The teacher facilitates the use of the curriculum upon instilling knowledge to the learners. It is therefore important to evaluate the significance of teacher and learner in respect to the ways of knowledge. Based on the Habermas assumptions, the implications of roles of the teacher and those of the learners are different with the application of the three ways of knowing (Morrison, 2008). With the first way of knowing, the teacher takes control of the technical knowledge. In the second knowing division, both the teacher and the student are equals and are concerned with the manner which the teacher provides knowledge and how the learner interprets and understands such knowledge. The third division would be critical reflection on the authenticity of the learning process on the suitability of the teacher to provide comprehensible knowledge to the learner (Stuckey, Taylor & Cranton, 2014).

The evaluation of teacher and learner based on the ways of knowing is very relevant for the study and is strategic in answering the thesis questions. Based on the empirical analytic, the thesis will be able to evaluate the Western and Islamic concepts of education in relation to how effective the teachers are in teaching. The ways of knowing and teacher and learner will be also used in establishing the nature of interaction between teachers and learners in both Western and Islamic education system which is an underlying feature for successful learning experience for the learners. These will enable the research to establish the suitability of combining relevant aspects of Western and Islamic education system to achieve an all inclusive gifted education system for Saudi Arabia. According to Dahlberg (2014), teachers and learners are partisans in the learning experience where affective communication when inferring meaning and discuss about understanding is imperative. The next subsection will hence discuss ways of knowing and scholars communication.

3.7 Ways of knowing and Scholars communication

            The Habermas theory indicates that education systems should enhance communication that is free of any manipulation for specific outcomes from those who have the opportunity and power to misinform others (Kucukaydin & Cranton, 2013). Three divisions of Habermas ways of knowledge give an opportunity for the evaluation of cognitive communication among the learners. The empirical analytic facilitates to the knowledge of the learners’ perceptions through assessing their interpersonal communication. Hermeneutic perspective enables one to assess the scholars’ prejudgments and presumptions on various learning experiences identified within their cognitive communication. Critical reflection is the most crucial part since it allow for one critically assess whether all scholars have equal access knowledge which hence stimulates discussion with the others (Romanowski, 2014).

Ways of knowing and scholars communication are hence strategic for this research and are relevant in to the thesis questions. In the light of ways of knowing and scholars communication, the empirical analytic way of knowledge will be used in assessing the perception of Western and Islamic scholars towards their respective education systems which will hence enable the thesis to establish the concepts of gifted education in Western and Islamic setting. Hermeneutic perspective will enable the study to ascertain the prejudgments of the Western and Islamic scholars towards their respective system of education through evaluation of their communication and interrelationships. Critical reflectivity will facilitate the research in assessing and ascertaining whether the both Western and Islamic scholars have equal access to information in schools based on evaluation of their informal discussions.

3.8 Conclusion

            It is imperative for this study to critically review gifted education in both Islamic and Western settings. Establishment of the primary educational concepts on gifted education between Western and Islamic education will be necessary for the study. This will assist to ascertain their significance in minimizing and eliminating gaps and challenges facing gifted education in Saudi Arabia. The study therefore seeks establish a balance between the concepts of gifted education system in both western and Islamic scholarships that are necessary for a dependable and effective system of gifted education for Saudi Arabia. It is through investigation of historical information of gifted educational concepts in both contexts (Western and Islamic) that a suitable gifted education policy will be established in Saudi Arabia. It will also be necessary to establish how Islamic scholarship has contributed to the Western scholarship in order to bring out the interrelation between the two systems. The research seeks to establish a balance between Islamic and Western scholarships on gifted education where Saudi Arabia can apply both concepts in its system of gifted education. The Habermasian theory and “ways of knowing” will be used in substantiating the solutions for the thesis questions.


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