Constructivism in Education

By Leslie P. Steffe; Jerry Gale | Go to book overview

19
Constructivism, Sexual Harassment, and Presupposition: A (Very) Loose Response to Duit, Saxe, and Spivey

Donald Rubin The University of Georgia

Collectively, the chapters in this volume by Duit, Saxe, and Spivey raise crucial questions for constructivist theory and teaching practices. Are constructivist notions really so novel and innovative, or do they already enjoy widespread, if tacit, acceptance? How do constructivist depictions of knowledge and mind play across diverse cultural landscapes? Are patterns of constructed knowledge and understanding so culturally embedded as to be invisible to members of those cultures? If so, what of the process of accommodation, that is, how do culturally embedded understandings ever come to change? What of language and discourse, clearly central to any attempt to account for intersubjectivity? Does linguistic encoding exert a strictly deterministic effect on the meanings constructed by individuals or by communities? Finally, all these questions converge on the Truly Big Issue in constructivist inquiry: just what are some of the interactions between social construction and cognitive representation of one's world?

To begin to tease apart selected implications of these three chapters for those issues, I propose to first achieve some distance from the chapters themselves, indeed from academic inquiry altogether. I come at the chapters obliquely by initially considering an event of tremendous public import and concern.

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