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date: 19 July 2018

Intuition and Education

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.

Intuition is a mode of consciousness wherein content is perceived by sudden, direct awareness. Intuition sees the whole of things, perceiving patterns and making connections. Intuitive awareness occurs to the conscious mind without any identifiable processing, cognitive or otherwise. The intuitive mode is useful for creativity, problem solving, decision making, and all forms of discovery. Scholars have addressed intuition in education by drawing attention to its possibilities for professional practice and by theorizing how intuition can be harnessed to improve educational outcomes. Intuition offers an important balancing effect to the hegemony of rational analysis, but like everything to do with consciousness, its function is not well understood. Philosophers of education often conceptualize intuition as a form of expertise, relying on Gladwell’s Blink as a reference to the experience. But intuition encompasses a broader range of experience; so-called parapsychological experiences such as telepathic communication and pre-cognitive awareness are also common intuitive experiences, and they need more attention by educators. It is possible to learn how to improve the intuitive function. Such training involves cultivating an acceptance of uncertainty, and pursuing a depth of self-awareness so that intuitive content can be distinguished from projection, fear, or simple guesses.