A Qualitative Inquiry of Wisdom Development: Educators’ Perspectives (Chen, Wu, Cheng, Hsueh, 2011)

This paper outlines the the authors proposed ‘Facilitative Model of Wisdom Development’. The research was carried out in the context of education sector and involved interviews with 25 wise-nominee teachers from Taiwan.

Facilitative Conditions:

The nominees suggested 8 facilitative factors critical to the development of wisdom:

(1) Work experience

(2) Life experience

(3) Social interactions

(4) Learning from observations

(5) Family teachings

(6 Professional development

(7) Religion

(8) Reading

Wisdom Development Process:

The authors propose a ‘Facilitative Model of Wisdom’ involving 4 steps essential for the development of wisdom

(1) Facilitative conditions (outlined above) and ‘Unsolved problems’

(2) Inner assimilation and adjustment – reflecting and learning from experiences

(3) Transformation of actual actions – doing things differently

(4) Feedback from results of actions – validation/further questions

The feedback step is important. The results of of actions add to the internal inventory of wisdom or become unsolved problems, returning us to the first step, and the process of wisdom development continues as an upward spiral.

Finally the authors suggest that reflection and a willingness to learn are essential to the development of wisdom. This agrees with other research suggesting that the character trait of openness is a key predictor of wisdom.


This study draws on the perspectives of educators to explore the factors and processes underlying wisdom development. We interviewed 25 wise Taiwanese nominees and used a grounded theory method to analyze the qualitative data. The wise nominees mentioned eight facilitative factors, including work experiences, life experiences, social interactions, observations, family teachings, professional development, religion, and reading. The process of wisdom development involves facilitative conditions, inner assimilation and adjustment, transformations of actual actions, and feedback from the results of actions. Findings are discussed in relation to relevant theory and research.

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