File Name: philosophy of education and its application .zip
Burbules Nathan Raybeck.
Constructivism is a theory in education that recognizes learners construct new understandings and knowledge, integrating with what they already know. This includes knowledge gained prior to entering school. Constructivism in education has roots in epistemology , which - in philosophy - is a theory of knowledge, which is concerned with the logical categories of knowledge and its justificational basis. In constructivism, hence, it is recognized that the learner has prior knowledge and experiences, which are often determined by their social and cultural environment.
While the Behaviorist school of learning may help understand what students are doing, educators also need to know what students are thinking, and how to enrich what students are thinking. Constructivism can be traced back to educational psychology in the work of Jean Piaget — identified with Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Piaget focused on how humans make meaning in relation to the interaction between their experiences and their ideas.
His views tended to focus on human development in relation to what is occurring with an individual as distinct from development influenced by other persons. Expanding upon Vygotsky's theory Jerome Bruner and other educational psychologists developed the important concept of instructional scaffolding , whereby the social or informational environment offers supports or scaffolds for learning that are gradually withdrawn as they become internalized. Views more focused on human development in the context of the social world include the sociocultural or socio-historical perspective of Lev Vygotsky and the situated cognition perspectives of Mikhail Bakhtin , Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger ;  Brown, Collins and Duguid;  Newman, Griffin and Cole,  and Barbara Rogoff.
The concept of constructivism has influenced a number of disciplines, including psychology , sociology , education and the history of science. Piaget called these systems of knowledge "schemes. Schemes are not to be confused with schema , a term that comes from schema theory , which is from information-processing perspectives on human cognition.
Whereas Piaget's schemes are content-free, schemata the plural of schema are concepts ; for example, most humans have a schema for " grandmother ", " egg ", or " magnet. Constructivism does not refer to a specific pedagogy , although it is often confused with constructionism , an educational theory developed by Seymour Papert , inspired by constructivist and experiential learning ideas of Piaget.
Piaget's theory of constructivist learning has had wide-ranging impact on learning theories and teaching methods in education, and is an underlying theme of education reform movements. Earlier educational philosophies did not place much value on what would become constructivist ideas; children's play and exploration were seen as aimless and of little importance.
Today, constructivist theories are influential throughout the formal and informal learning sectors. In museum education , constructivist theories inform exhibit design. Writers who influenced constructivism include:. The formalization of constructivism from a within-the-human perspective is generally attributed to Jean Piaget, who articulated mechanisms by which information from the environment and ideas from the individual interact and result in internalized structures developed by learners.
He identified processes of assimilation and accommodation that are key in this interaction as individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences. When individuals assimilate new information, they incorporate it into an already existing framework without changing that framework.
This may occur when individuals' experiences are aligned with their internal representations of the world, but may also occur as a failure to change a faulty understanding; for example, they may not notice events, may misunderstand input from others, or may decide that an event is a fluke and is therefore unimportant as information about the world.
In contrast, when individuals' experiences contradict their internal representations, they may change their perceptions of the experiences to fit their internal representations. According to the theory, accommodation is the process of reframing one's mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences. Accommodation can be understood as the mechanism by which failure leads to learning: when we act on the expectation that the world operates in one way and it violates our expectations, we often fail, but by accommodating this new experience and reframing our model of the way the world works, we learn from the experience of failure, or others' failure.
It is important to note that constructivism is not a particular pedagogy. In fact, constructivism is a theory describing how learning happens, regardless of whether learners are using their experiences to understand a lecture or following the instructions for building a model airplane. In both cases, the theory of constructivism suggests that learners construct knowledge out of their experiences.
However, constructivism is often associated with pedagogic approaches that promote active learning , or learning by doing. There are many critics of "learning by doing" a. Social constructivism not only acknowledges the uniqueness and complexity of the learner, but actually encourages, utilizes and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process.
Social constructivisms or socioculturalism encourage the learner or learners to arrive at his or her version of the truth , influenced by his or her background, culture or embedded worldview. Historical developments and symbol systems, such as language, logic , and mathematical systems , are inherited by the learner as a member of a particular culture and these are learned throughout the learner's life.
This also stresses the importance of the nature of the learner's social interaction with knowledgeable members of the society. Without the social interaction with other more knowledgeable people, it is impossible to acquire social meaning of important symbol systems and learn how to utilize them.
Young children develop their thinking abilities by interacting with other children, adults and the physical world. From the social constructivist viewpoint, it is thus important to take into account the background and culture of the learner throughout the learning process, as this background also helps to shape the knowledge and truth that the learner creates, discovers and attains in the learning process.
Furthermore, it is argued that the responsibility of learning should reside increasingly with the learner. Social constructivism thus emphasizes the importance of the learner being actively involved in the learning process, unlike previous educational viewpoints where the responsibility rested with the instructor to teach and where the learner played a passive, receptive role.
Von Glasersfeld emphasized that learners construct their own understanding and that they do not simply mirror and reflect what they read.
Learners look for meaning and will try to find regularity and order in the events of the world even in the absence of full or complete information. It is called the "Harkness" discussion method because it was developed at Phillips Exeter Academy with funds donated in the s by Edward Harkness. This is also named after the Harkness table and involves students seated in a circle, motivating and controlling their own discussion.
The teacher acts as little as possible. The students get it rolling, direct it, and focus it. They act as a team, cooperatively, to make it work. They all participate, but not in a competitive way. Rather, they all share in the responsibility and the goals, much as any members share in any team sport.
Although the goals of any discussion will change depending upon what's under discussion, some goals will always be the same: to illuminate the subject, to unravel its mysteries, to interpret and share and learn from other points of view, to piece together the puzzle using everyone's contribution. Discussion skills are important. Everyone must be aware of how to get this discussion rolling and keep it rolling and interesting.
Just as in any sport , a number of skills are necessary to work on and use at appropriate times. Everyone is expected to contribute by using these skills. Another crucial assumption regarding the nature of the learner concerns the level and source of motivation for learning. According to Von Glasersfeld, sustaining motivation to learn is strongly dependent on the learner's confidence in his or her potential for learning. By experiencing the successful completion of challenging tasks, learners gain confidence and motivation to embark on more complex challenges.
According to the social constructivist approach, instructors have to adapt to the role of facilitators and not teachers. In the former scenario the learner plays a passive role and in the latter scenario the learner plays an active role in the learning process. The emphasis thus turns away from the instructor and the content, and towards the learner.
The learning environment should also be designed to support and challenge the learner's thinking. The critical goal is to support the learner in becoming an effective thinker.
This can be achieved by assuming multiple roles, such as consultant and coach. Social constructivism, strongly influenced by Vygotsky's work, suggests that knowledge is first constructed in a social context and is then appropriated by individuals.
Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves, hence the importance of encouraging guesswork and intuitive thinking in learners. Kukla argues that reality is constructed by our own activities and that people, together as members of a society, invent the properties of the world.
Other constructivist scholars agree with this and emphasize that individuals make meanings through the interactions with each other and with the environment they live in. He further states that learning is not a process that only takes place inside our minds, nor is it a passive development of our behaviors that is shaped by external forces.
Rather, meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities. Vygotsky also highlighted the convergence of the social and practical elements in learning by saying that the most significant moment in the course of intellectual development occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent lines of development, converge.
A further characteristic of the role of the facilitator in the social constructivist viewpoint, is that the instructor and the learners are equally involved in learning from each other as well. Learners compare their version of the truth with that of the instructor and fellow learners to get to a new, socially tested version of truth Kukla The task or problem is thus the interface between the instructor and the learner. This entails that learners and instructors should develop an awareness of each other's viewpoints and then look to their own beliefs, standards and values, thus being both subjective and objective at the same time.
Some studies argue for the importance of mentoring in the process of learning. Some learning approaches that could harbour this interactive learning include reciprocal teaching , peer collaboration, cognitive apprenticeship , problem-based instruction, web quests, Anchored Instruction and other approaches that involve learning with others. Learners with different skills and backgrounds should collaborate in tasks and discussions to arrive at a shared understanding of the truth in a specific field.
Some social constructivist models also stress the need for collaboration among learners, in direct contradiction to traditional competitive approaches. Defined as the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem-solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers, it differs from the fixed biological nature of Piaget's stages of development.
Through a process of ' scaffolding ' a learner can be extended beyond the limitations of physical maturation to the extent that the development process lags behind the learning process. If students have to present and train new contents with their classmates, a non-linear process of collective knowledge-construction will be set up. The social constructivist paradigm views the context in which the learning occurs as central to the learning itself.
Underlying the notion of the learner as an active processor is "the assumption that there is no one set of generalised learning laws with each law applying to all domains". Holt and Willard-Holt emphasize the concept of dynamic assessment , which is a way of assessing the true potential of learners that differs significantly from conventional tests.
Here, the essentially interactive nature of learning is extended to the process of assessment. Rather than viewing assessment as a process carried out by one person, such as an instructor, it is seen as a two-way process involving interaction between both instructor and learner.
The role of the assessor becomes one of entering into dialogue with the persons being assessed to find out their current level of performance on any task and sharing with them possible ways in which that performance might be improved on a subsequent occasion. Thus, assessment and learning are seen as inextricably linked and not separate processes. According to this viewpoint, instructors should see assessment as a continuous and interactive process that measures the achievement of the learner, the quality of the learning experience and courseware.
The feedback created by the assessment process serves as a direct foundation for further development. Knowledge should not be divided into different subjects or compartments, but should be discovered as an integrated whole. This also again underlines the importance of the context in which learning is presented.
Learners should constantly be challenged with tasks that refer to skills and knowledge just beyond their current level of mastery. This captures their motivation and builds on previous successes to enhance learner confidence.
Vygotsky further claimed that instruction is good only when it proceeds ahead of development. Then it awakens and rouses to life an entire set of functions in the stage of maturing, which lie in the zone of proximal development.
It is in this way that instruction plays an extremely important role in development. To fully engage and challenge the learner, the task and learning environment should reflect the complexity of the environment that the learner should be able to function in at the end of learning.
Studies in Philosophy and Education is an international peer-reviewed journal that focuses on philosophical, theoretical, normative and conceptual problems and issues in educational research, policy and practice. Without adopting any one philosophical or theoretical school or cultural tradition, the journal promotes exchange and collaboration among philosophers, philosophers of education, educational and social science researchers, and educational policy makers throughout the world. Coverage ranges widely from important methodological issues in educational research as shaped by the philosophy of science to educational policy problems as shaped by moral and social and political philosophy and educational theory. Single issues of the journal are occasionally devoted to the critical discussion of a special topic of educational and philosophical importance. A frequent 'Reviews and Rejoinders' section features book review essays with replies from the authors. Issue 1, February
Philosophy of education is the branch of applied or practical philosophy concerned with the nature and aims of education and the philosophical problems arising from educational theory and practice. Its subject matter includes both basic philosophical issues e. In all this the philosopher of education prizes conceptual clarity, argumentative rigor, the fair-minded consideration of the interests of all involved in or affected by educational efforts and arrangements, and informed and well-reasoned valuation of educational aims and interventions. Many of the most distinguished figures in that tradition incorporated educational concerns into their broader philosophical agendas Curren , ; Rorty While that history is not the focus here, it is worth noting that the ideals of reasoned inquiry championed by Socrates and his descendants have long informed the view that education should foster in all students, to the extent possible, the disposition to seek reasons and the ability to evaluate them cogently, and to be guided by their evaluations in matters of belief, action and judgment. This view, that education centrally involves the fostering of reason or rationality, has with varying articulations and qualifications been embraced by most of those historical figures; it continues to be defended by contemporary philosophers of education as well Scheffler ; Siegel , , ,
This introductory article explains the coverage of this book, which is about the philosophical aspects of education. It explains that the philosophy of education is the branch of philosophy that addresses philosophical questions concerning the nature, aims, and problems of education. The book examines the problems concerning the aims and guiding ideals of education.
Constructivism is a theory in education that recognizes learners construct new understandings and knowledge, integrating with what they already know. This includes knowledge gained prior to entering school. Constructivism in education has roots in epistemology , which - in philosophy - is a theory of knowledge, which is concerned with the logical categories of knowledge and its justificational basis. In constructivism, hence, it is recognized that the learner has prior knowledge and experiences, which are often determined by their social and cultural environment. While the Behaviorist school of learning may help understand what students are doing, educators also need to know what students are thinking, and how to enrich what students are thinking.
Please note that ebooks are subject to tax and the final price may vary depending on your country of residence. The Philosophy of Education: An Introduction encourages the reader to actively engage with the philosophy of education and the carefully selected contributors bring the philosophy of education to life for the reader. Each chapter: focuses on a particular area of debate and explains the main concepts includes extracts from philosophical writing, followed by questions that guide the reader to critically and actively engage with the text guides the reader towards further reading and suggests next steps and more challenging sources or counter-pointed arguments.
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