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Research on personal epistemologies has begun to consider ontology: Do naive epistemologies take the form of stable, unitary beliefs or of fine-grained, context-sensitive resources? Debates such as this regarding subtleties of cognitive theory, however, may be difficult to connect to everyday instructional practice. Our purpose in this article is to make that connection. We first review reasons for supporting the latter account, of naive epistemologies as made up of fine-grained, context-sensitive resources; as part of this argument we note that familiar strategies and curricula tacitly ascribe epistemological resources to students. We then present several strategies designed more explicitly to help students tap those resources for learning introductory physics. Finally, we reflect on this work as an example of interplay between 2 modes of inquiry into student thinking, that of instruction and that of formal research on learning.
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