Constructivism lite

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Constructivism lite

  1. 1. A (Very) Short IntroductionDavid Geelan
  2. 2.  Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with theories about knowledge (what we know, how we know, how we test knowledge claims) Constructivism is often presented as a theory about teaching (pedagogical theory), but it is actually a theory about knowledge
  3. 3.  The basic idea of constructivism is that learners are not ‘blank slates’ or ‘empty cups’ to be filled with knowledge, but that they already have a huge body of knowledge and life experience. Because knowledge is a structured network rather than a disconnected ‘heap’ of facts, new knowledge is built on the foundations of existing knowledge and integrated with it
  4. 4.  This suggests the idea that knowledge cannot be directly transmitted from one person to another. The knowledge must be broken down into some form of information (speech, text, drama, art), which is then construed (i.e. viewed through the construction system of) the learner, and new knowledge (not necessarily the same) is then constructed within the learner
  5. 5.  As an epistemological theory, constructivism is not about teaching directly, it’s about knowledge We logically infer (influenced by our assumptions and experience) ideas about learning from this theory about knowledge Then we logically infer (with the same influences) ideas about teaching from these ideas about learning
  6. 6.  Students should be actively engaged in their learning, rather than passively receiving Learning should begin from ‘where students are’ in their knowledge. Kieran Egan has written some excellent books on this point Science students need opportunities to test their new knowledge frameworks against other knowledge and against the physical world
  7. 7.  Students should be actively engaged in their learning, rather than passively receiving Learning should begin from ‘where students are’ in their knowledge. Kieran Egan has written some excellent books on this point Science students need opportunities to test their new knowledge frameworks against other knowledge and against the physical world

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