Six Facets of Understanding

Six Facets of Understanding

Transfer manifests itself in a variety of ways. More specifically, we propose that understanding as transfer is revealed through six facets of understanding, summarized here. Individuals who understand and can transfer their learning:

  1.  Can explain: make connections, draw inferences, express them in their own words with support or justifi cation; use apt analogies; teach others.
  2. Can interpret: make sense of, provide a revealing historical or personal dimension to ideas, data, and events; make it personal or accessible through images, anecdotes, analogies, and stories; turn data into information; provide a compelling and coherent theory.
  3. Can apply and adjust: use what they have learned in varied and unique situations; go beyond the context in which they learned to new units, courses, and situations beyond the school.
  4. Have perspective: see the big picture; are aware of, and consider, various points of view; take a critical or disinterested stance; recognize and avoid bias in how positions are stated.
  5. Show empathy: perceive sensitively; can “walk in another’s shoes”; fi nd potential value in what others might fi nd odd, alien, or implausible.
  6. Have self-knowledge: show metacognitive awareness; refl ect on the meaning of new learning and experiences; recognize the prejudices, projections, and  habits of mind that both shape and impede their own understanding; are aware of what they do not understand in this context.

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