Constructivism 
Author Message
 Constructivism

I have long enjoyed Bill's discussion of these issues.     Dale

http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~kerrb
THE PLACE OF BEHAVIOURISM IN SCHOOLS
    (for instance, in the teaching of Quadratics)
 rewritten January 1998, Bill Kerr

Introduction: During 1996 and 1997 I wrote my own Quadratics drill and
practice software in Logo to assist my teaching of the Quadratics topic to
Year 10 and 11 Pure Maths classes.  The software was very successful in
helping the students learn Quadratics (see companion article for evaluation
of the software-'Quadratics Software Evaluation')

Paradoxically, I became uneasy about the success of the software, as I came
to realize that I was using Behaviorist methods successfully. My uneasiness
came from the fact that as a Logo enthusiast I am committed to a
Constructionist educationally philosophy which is way down the other end of
the spectrum of teaching methodologies from where Behaviorism lies. At one
point I desperately thought to myself, "I have become Skinner, is there any
way out?"  My uneasiness led to further study and reflection of the nature
of behaviorism, constructionism and school this is the resultant synthesis
of my dilemma.
<snip>

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Wed, 10 Nov 2004 12:07:24 GMT  
 Constructivism
Thanks Dale.  I can relate very well to this article.  Behaviorist
tricks are great for the transition period to construtionism.
Unfortunately, unskooling kids in a "catch and release" mode can be very
unsettling.  Sadly, some kids just hate the hook.  Or, like salmon, the
scent from behind the dam is so strong, they can't find the fish ladder.
Nonetheless, it's worth taking the risk of giving all an experience in
contructivism.
Quote:
-----Original Message-----

Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 10:06 PM

Subject: Re: [LogoForum] Re: Constructivism

I have long enjoyed Bill's discussion of these issues.     Dale

http://www.senet.com.au/~kerrb
THE PLACE OF BEHAVIOURISM IN SCHOOLS
    (for instance, in the teaching of Quadratics)
 rewritten January 1998, Bill Kerr

Introduction: During 1996 and 1997 I wrote my own Quadratics drill and
practice software in Logo to assist my teaching of the Quadratics topic
to Year 10 and 11 Pure Maths classes.  The software was very successful
in helping the students learn Quadratics (see companion article for
evaluation of the software-'Quadratics Software Evaluation')

Paradoxically, I became uneasy about the success of the software, as I
came to realize that I was using Behaviorist methods successfully. My
uneasiness came from the fact that as a Logo enthusiast I am committed
to a Constructionist educationally philosophy which is way down the
other end of the spectrum of teaching methodologies from where
Behaviorism lies. At one point I desperately thought to myself, "I have
become Skinner, is there any way out?"  My uneasiness led to further
study and reflection of the nature of behaviorism, constructionism and
school this is the resultant synthesis of my dilemma. <snip>

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Wed, 10 Nov 2004 12:08:32 GMT  
 Constructivism
http://www.*-*-*.com/
The Flight from  Science and Reason
by
Paul R. Gross (Editor), Norman Levitt (Editor), Martin W. Lewis (Editor)
ISBN: 0801856760
Johns Hopkins University Press

So it isn't the latest book on the market, with a 1997 publication date, and
constructivism is only one of the subjects discussed among the many topics,
but it may be an important book deserving of consideration.  The reason is
that constructivism has swept the world and can be found in some form in
virtually all aspects of education, and this book could be the impetus for a
pendulum swing in the other direction.  The book is edited by
scientists---Paul R. Gross, former director of the Woods Hole Marine
Biological Laboratory, who is University Professor of Life Sciences and
director of the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of {*filter*}ia;
Norman Levitt is professor of mathematics at Rutgers University; and, Martin
W. Lewis,  professor of geography at Duke University.

Perhaps an important tome in a line of counterattacks on constructivism to
follow, it represents the work of 40 scientists and not just a pot shot from
one or another behaviorist or direct instruction advocate.  The Flight from
Science and Reason is a collection of essays to alert scientists and others
to the fact that academic thought is rejecting rationalism.  With
constructivism and variations of it, there is the belief by some writers
that reason or logic, the very underpinning of the scientific method, is
being discarded.  Constructivism in education is seen as a dangerous trend.

The objectivist tends to treat different understandings as errors,
deviations from the correct answer
or as distortions of reality.  In many math and science classes, there is
only one understanding, the right answer.  This is certainly the intent of
national standards and testing programs.  In education most constructivists
are less concerned with right answers as with how pupils defend their
conclusions, but many people in the general public probably think that a
good education means to get correct answers.  Is it possible for
constructivist teachers to use the thinking of students as ways to guide
them to better understandings and still avoid the flight from reason?  Is it
possible to be a constructivist without being branded as ignorant or
superstitious?  For advocates of constructivism this may be useful for
refining your own views about objectivity, recognizing the fact that many
educators tend to embrace the scientific method and constructivism.  It is
an important issue as noted by Dinshaw K. Dadachanji:   "Scientists and
science critics are engaged in a crucial battle over whether science is a
body of objective truth or subjective constructs influenced by prevailing
social beliefs and values."  Read this book and see if you can balance
postmodern philosophy (logic as a social construction) with rational
science.

Reviewer:  George E. Marsh II

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Thu, 11 Nov 2004 13:23:01 GMT  
 Constructivism

Quote:
>The Flight from  Science and Reason
>Paul R. Gross (Editor), Norman Levitt (Editor), Martin W. Lewis (Editor)
...
>  With
>constructivism and variations of it, there is the belief by some writers
>that reason or logic, the very underpinning of the scientific method, is
>being discarded.

(Sigh.)  How people learn really is a different question from what is the
nature of reality.

Thought experiment:  Suppose you believe that kids learn by being taught.
Now think about the poor kids in <insert name of some country whose
government you don't like>, where the kids are taught horrible propaganda
instead of truth.  Don't you think *those* kids' understanding of reality
is socially constructed?  If you think that, are you abandoning reason
and logic?  If those kids' learning is socially constructed, then all kids'
learning is socially constructed.



Fri, 12 Nov 2004 01:21:39 GMT  
 
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