ERIC Number: ED345845
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
The Value of Ideas II: Problems versus Possibilities in Learning. Elementary Subjects Center Series No. 51.
Prawat, Richard S.
All contemporary learning theorists agree on the advantages of involving students in authentic problem-solving activities in both in-school and out-of-school contexts. Approaches which use real-world problems as learning tools fit well with: (1) the strategy-based, performance model advanced by information processors; (2) the impasse or perturbation learning model advanced by constructivists; and (3) the socially mediated, apprenticeship model advanced by the cultural anthropologists. Despite its pedagogical popularity, a focus on instrumental problem-solving is subject to criticism because it downplays the role of accommodation in human learning and the transformative role of experience in education. The tendency in this approach is to define the world in negative terms, as a series of obstacles or impediments to overcome. Recent theorists disagree about whether impasse or perturbation facilitates development. There is also considerable disagreement about Vygotsky's perception of the fluid boundary that separates scientific and everyday ways of knowing and its use to support apprenticeship-like, instrumental problem-solving approaches to learning and teaching. An alternative view, idea-based constructivism, focuses more on the possibilities than on the problems inherent in particular situations. Ideas represent perceptual schemata that anticipate the information that might be presented by a particular environment, and hence can "educate attention." Teaching children to be open to perceiving possibilities rather than problems should be a high priority in education. The booklet contains 68 references. (AC)
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Psychology, Elementary Education, Learning Theories, Models, Perceptual Development, Problem Solving, Schemata (Cognition), Thinking Skills
Center for the Learning and Teaching of Elementary Subjects, Institute for Research on Teaching, 252 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034 ($4).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.; Center for the Learning and Teaching of Elementary Subjects, East Lansing, MI.
Identifiers: Constructivist Thinking