ERIC Number: ED338488
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Contextual Constructivism: The Impact of Culture on the Learning and Teaching of Science.
Cobern, William W.
Though rooted in neo-Piagetian research, constructivism is an avenue of research that departed from the neo-Piagetian mainstream 20 years ago and has continued on a distinct path of development. For constructivists, learning is not knowledge written on, or transplanted to, a person's mind as if the mind were a blank slate waiting to be written on or an empty gallery waiting to be filled. Teaching, furthermore, is mediating. A constructivist teacher works at the interface of curriculum and student to bring them together in a way that is meaningful for the learner. Constructivists use the metaphor of construction because it aptly summarizes the view that individuals build knowledge. Carrying the metaphor to its logical conclusion, construction implies a foundation upon which, or a context in which the individual builds knowledge. Contextual constructivism is thus about understanding the fundamental, culturally based beliefs that both students and teachers bring to class, and how these beliefs are supported by culture. Contextual constructivists not only raise new research questions, they also call for a new research paradigm. The focus on contextualization means that qualitative, especially ethnographic techniques are to be preferred. (Over 75 references are included.) (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Lake Geneva, WI, April 7-10, 1991).