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  1. Constructivism in Science Education : A Philosophical Examination
  2. Radical constructivism: Between realism and solipsism
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Constructivism in Science Education : A Philosophical Examination

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Radical constructivism: Between realism and solipsism

The challenge for teachers lies in helping learners to construct these models for themselves, to appreciate their domains of applicability and, within such domains, to use them. Why must learners construct for themselves the ideas of potential energy, mutation, linear inertia, photosynthesis, valency, and so on? Why not explain these ideas to students, and do it in such a way that they understand them? This process may or may not be didactic: it all depends on the classroom circumstance. There are many ways to explain science: didacticism is just one of them. Richard Mayer, a past-President of the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association, a former editor of the Educational Psychologist and a former co-editor of Instructional Science , in something of a landmark study, reviewed an extensive body of research on constructivist pedagogy and concluded that it did not work, and where it did work, it worked in virtue of departing from constructivist principles Mayer, His analysis was confirmed by Kirschner, Sweller and Clark who, in another review article, argued that:.

Not only is minimally-guided learning ineffective for most learners, it may even be harmful for some […].

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The best evidence developed over the past half century supports the view that minimally-guided learning does not enhance student achievement any more than throwing a non-swimmer out of a boat in the middle of a deep lake supports learning to swim Kirschner, Sweller et Clark, , p. Someone learning to play chess has to be told the rules by someone who knows the rules; learners cannot make up the rules, they cannot negotiate the rules, and even if they brainstorm to the conclusion that rooks can move diagonally, this does not mean that rooks can so move in a formal game of chess.

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Knowledge of what is allowed and not allowed in chess has to be transmitted; further competence in chess depends not just on knowing the rules, but on guidance and worked examples; so to in learning science. But liberal educationalists can rightly say that these are pedagogical commonplaces, the recognition of which goes back at least to Socrates.

It is clear that the best of constructivist pedagogy can be had without constructivist epistemology — Socrates, Montaigne, Locke, Mill, and Russell are just some who have conjoined engaging, constructivist-like, pedagogy with non-constructivist epistemology. But again realist philosophers can rightly maintain that constructivism does not have a monopoly on these insights.

In this he writes:. The critical mass of science educators are still making sense of their praxis in terms of constructivism, but in a short time we will be in another theoretical epoch. Chassagny, M. Hachette : Paris, Ashton, P. Bell, B. Bettencourt, A. Tobin ed. Bickhard, M. Bruner, J. New York: Harper and Row. Process of Education. Random House, New York. Cobb, P. Driver, R. Fensham ed.

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New York: Falmer Press. Ellerton, N. Geelong Victoria : Deakin University Press. Fensham, P.

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Jackson ed. New York: Macmillan. Fosnot, C. Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives, and Practice , 2nd Edition. New York: Teachers College Press. Fosnot ed. Good, R.

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Julien, J. Grandy, R. Reprinted in M. Matthews ed. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, , p. Kirschner, P. Kitcher, P. Klahr, D. Kragh, H. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, Matthews, M. A Alexander ed. Mayer, R. McCarty, L. Phillips ed. Chicago: NSSE. Niiniluoto, I. Realism, Relativism and Constructivism, Synthese , 89 1 , , p.

Nola, R. Relativism and Realism in Science. Dordrecht: Reidel Academic Publishers. Norris, C. Oxford: Blackwell. Null, J. Papayannakos, D. Larochelle, N. Bednarz and J. Garrision eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pfundt, H. Institute for Science Education, University of Kiel. Phillips, D.

Piaget, J. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Quale, A. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Rodriguez, A. Schlick, M. Scott, P.

  • Constructivism is a theory of learning that has roots in both philosophy and psychology.
  • Constructivism in Science Education a Philosophical Examination.
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Fensham, R. Gunstone and R. White eds. London: Falmer Press. Siegel, H.

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Dordrecht: Reidel. Slezak, P. Small, R. Snyder, V. Staver, J. Suchting, W. Tobias, S. Hillsdale NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum. Tobin, K. Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education. Tuovinen, J. Von Glasersfeld, E. In Davis, R.

Reston VA. Yeany, R. Julien, ; twenty years later there are probably as many varieties as there are of Heinz beans. Michael R. Plan I.