The impetus of this book is to fill a significant gap in our understanding of the relevance of personal epistemology in preschool through secondary education. In this concluding chapter we summarize the contributions made by the authors and also consider the broader implications of this work as it pertains to the importance of personal epistemology in the classroom and its role in critical thinking development and the education of our future citizens.
Many of the authors in this book use a systems approach to organize and capture the complexity of personal epistemology. In the sprit of this, we take a systems perspective in this concluding chapter and discuss six themes related to personal epistemology in the classroom. In doing so, we examine and discuss the highlights and themes found in this book, including intriguing empirical and conceptual questions and inroads to future theory and research in the field. The six themes include: (1) conceptual issues; (2) methodological issues; (3) the role of the teacher; (4) educational implications; (5) our educational agenda; and (6) evaluativism (see Figure 17.1).
We have chosen four systems to use as our lens as we discuss the previously listed themes gleaned from this volume. The individual system pertains to students and teachers themselves and includes, for example, their beliefs, attitudes, abilities, and knowledge strategies. The microsystem includes direct influences on the student such as classroom climate, classroom culture, epistemic climate, and various interactions with students in these contexts (e.g., students–teachers, students–peers, textbooks). The exosystem considers the external, more indirect influences on students.