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Women's Ways of Knowing. Sne ž ana Vujovi ć Holy Family University. Table of Contents. Women’s Ways of Knowing The Five Stages of Knowing Silence Received Knowledge Subjective Knowledge Procedural Knowledge Constructed Knowledge Exercises in Style Contributions of WWK

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women s ways of knowing

Women's Ways of Knowing

Snežana Vujović Holy Family University

table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Women’s Ways of Knowing
  • The Five Stages of Knowing
    • Silence
    • Received Knowledge
    • Subjective Knowledge
    • Procedural Knowledge
    • Constructed Knowledge
      • Exercises in Style
  • Contributions of WWK
  • Criticism of WWK
  • What Now?
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Exercises
the five stages of knowing
The Five Stages of Knowing
  • Silence
  • Received Knowledge
  • Subjective Knowledge
  • Procedural Knowledge
  • Constructed Knowledge
  • Total dependence on impulses of external authority
  • Women often talked about voice and silence in describing their lives
  • The development of a sense of voice, mind, and self are connected
silence ctd
Silence (Ctd.)
  • Worried about being punished for using words
  • Life is seen in polarities
  • Ways of knowing limited to the present, the concrete, the specific and to actual behaviors
  • Blind obedience to authorities for keeping out of trouble
  • Speaking of self is almost impossible
received knowledge
Received Knowledge


  • Listen to voices of other people
  • Receive and reproduce knowledge
  • Little confidence in their own voice
  • Concrete and dualistic thinking



received knowledge ctd
Received Knowledge(Ctd.)
  • Think of words as central to the knowing process
  • Equate receiving, retaining, and returning the words of authorities with learning
  • Unable to see themselves as growing
  • Trust that their friends share exactly the same thoughts and experiences
  • Think of authorities, not friends, as sources of truth because of their status
A sense of inner voice arises

Respect their own opinions

Knowledge is personal, private, and intuited

Learning mode is inward listening and watching

Value first hand experience

Distrust logic, analysis, abstraction

No enduring self-concept

Subjective Knowledge

subjective knowledge
Subjective Knowledge
  • Convinced that there are right answers
  • Truth comes from within the person and can negate external answers
  • Women become their own authorities
  • Realize that they have the ability to formulate knowledge
  • Multiplists rather than dualists
  • Recognize that there are shades of gray and that one answer to a problem may not be better than another
procedural knowledge
Objective knowers

Rely on objective procedures for obtaining and communicating knowledge

They distrust "gut instinct"

Knowing requires careful observation and analysis

Can criticize a system, but only in the system's terms

Women at this position may be liberal or conservatives, but never “radicals”

Procedural Knowledge
procedural knowledge1
Procedural Knowledge
  • It has elements of separate knowing and connected knowing
  • Procedural knowers are also multiplists
  • There may be more than one "right" answer
  • This way of knowing is identified as more masculine
separate knowing procedural
Separate Knowing (procedural)
  • Opposite of subjectivism
  • Separation from feelings and emotions of self in the cause of objectivity
  • The doubting game
  • Defense against authorities and experts (only as good as their arguments)
connected knowing procedural
Connected Knowing (procedural)
  • Major departure from the Perry sequence
  • Truth is "personal, particular, and grounded in firsthand experience"
  • Based on capacity for empathy
  • The believing game

Constructed Knowledge

  • Integration
  • Both subjectivity and objectivity are important, but that both have to be transcended
  • View all knowledge as contextual
  • Value subjective and objective strategies
  • High tolerance for internal contradiction and ambiguity
  • Do not want to compartmentalize reality
exercises in style
Exercises in Style
  • Exercises in style are a perfect example of a happy balance between structure and structurelessness, or total freedom of expression
  • The process how constructed knowledge is built
fragments and whole
Fragments and Whole

Constructed knowledge is a profound exploration into the possibilities of different interpretations of one event and different ways of learning from it

connected teaching
Connected Teaching
  • Traditional teachers – “investment bankers”
  • Connected teachers - “midwives”
  • Educators need to create classrooms in which all students can learn

“Educators can help women develop their authentic voices if they emphasize connection over separation, understanding and acceptance over assessment, and collaboration over debate; if they accord respect to and allow time for the knowledge that emerges from firsthand experience; if instead of imposing their own expectations and arbitrary requirements, they encourage students to evolve their own patterns of work based on the problems they are pursuing.”












Only 135 women

All from the US

No replicable

Case studies

open the mind
  • We need to start from a base of knowledge
  • Opening of the mind and the heart to embrace the world
  • Re-create the passion for learningin spite of risk
the five stages of knowing1
The Five Stages of Knowing
  • Silence
  • Received Knowledge
  • Subjective Knowledge
  • Procedural Knowledge
  • Constructed Knowledge
questions for discussion
Questions for Discussion
  • How can we create all-students-friendly classroom?
  • Can we apply this knowledge in recruiting women and minorities to engineering and science professions?
exercise 1
Exercise 1
  • Alice simply "knows" that one should get one's homework in on time. She doesn't care if the other students ignore the dates and don't turn it in on time. She knows inside of herself that the homework should be done, and on time.
  • Way of Knowing:
  • Facts:
exercise 2
Exercise 2
  • Emma is learning to paint. Her father takes the brush from her and says, "No, like this," and proceeds to paint. Emma watches and says nothing.
  • Way of Knowing:
  • Facts:
exercise 3
Exercise 3
  • The same characters. Emma is learning to paint. Suppose that Emma at one point asks her father, "You mean like this?" and takes the brush to demonstrate her question. Would this alter your perception of Emma as a learner?
  • Way of Knowing:
  • Facts:
exercise 4
Exercise 4
  • How are classroom examples of learning like Emma’s example?
  • Do you think students are sometimes categorized as "silenced," non-responsive learners on the basis of inadequate evidence Way of Knowing?
  • Facts:
exercise 5
Exercise 5
  • Henry is in a class where there is lots of discussion, but most of it is based on people's personal opinions. Henry is suspicious of people who "just know" from their personal experience. He want to be "objective," and is convinced that answers are there if we work hard enough to find them. Henry is uncomfortable in the class.
  • Way of Knowing:
  • Facts:
exercise 6
Exercise 6
  • Michael is very careful in class discussions to encourage people who seem unwilling to speak up. He tries to find something supportive to say of all comments. He looks for good points that might help him examine his own framework of knowing. He realizes that some people are speaking from their personal experience, while others have considered the issue theoretically.
  • Way of Knowing:
  • Facts: