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The Peter Principle was developed by American educational theorist Laurence Peter and was
explained in the book “The Peter Principle” that Peter wrote with his colleague, Raymond Hull.
Originally the book was supposed to be a satirical view on how people are promoted in
organisations but it became popular as it actually made a valid point.
Whilst not strictly a learning theory, it does have some crossover to the classroom. The Peter
Principal deals with four levels of competence. They could give a teacher planning a long term
teaching strategy a framework to use when thinking about how students progress.
1. Unconscious Incompetence. Not knowing how to do a task without knowing you don’t
2. Conscious Incompetence. You still don’t know how to do the task but now you know
you don’t know. You are aware of a gap in your knowledge.
3. Conscious Competence. You can now do the task but it requires a lot of concentration.
4. Unconscious Competence. You can perform the task with ease. This is achieved by
repeated practice.


Categories: Pedagogy


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