Radical Constructivism in Action: Building on the Pioneering Work of Ernst Von Glasersfeld

Radical Constructivism in Action: Building on the Pioneering Work of Ernst Von Glasersfeld

Radical Constructivism in Action: Building on the Pioneering Work of Ernst Von Glasersfeld

Radical Constructivism in Action: Building on the Pioneering Work of Ernst Von Glasersfeld

Synopsis

Over the last 25 years, Ernest von Glasersfeld has had a big impact on mathematics and science education through his insights into the nature of knowledge and knowing. This volume of papers honours his work by building on his model of knowing.

Excerpt

Mathematics education is established world-wide as a major area of study, with numerous dedicated journals and conferences serving ever-growing national and international communities of scholars. As it develops, research in mathematics education is becoming more theoretically orientated. Although originally rooted in mathematics and psychology, vigorous new perspectives are pervading it from disciplines and fields as diverse as philosophy, logic, sociology, anthropology, history, women’s studies, cognitive science, linguistics, semiotics, hermeneutics, post-structuralism and post-modernism. These new research perspectives are providing fresh lenses through which teachers and researchers can view the theory and practice of mathematics teaching and learning.

The series Studies in Mathematics Education aims to encourage the development and dissemination of theoretical perspectives in mathematics education as well as their critical scrutiny. It is a series of research contributions to the field based on disciplined perspectives that link theory with practice. The series is founded on the philosophy that theory is the practitioner’s most powerful tool in understanding and changing practice. Whether the practice concerns the teaching and learning of mathematics, teacher education, or educational research, the series offers new perspectives to help clarify issues, pose and solve problems and stimulate debate. It aims to have a major impact on the development of mathematics education as a field of study in the third millennium.

In the past two decades perhaps the most important theoretical perspective to emerge in mathematics education, as well as in several other domains of thought, has been that of constructivism. It features prominently in previous books in this series, most notably in Ernst von Glasersfeld’s 1995 masterwork, Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning. That work offered two generalogies of knowledge. These veritable genetic epistemologies trace the development of the central ideas of radical constructivism along two tracks. The first is the history of philosophy from the pre-Socratic masters of Ancient Greece to the works of current scholars and masters. The second is Glasersfeld’s own intellectual career. In the book Glasersfeld illustrates how a number of lines of thought from cybernetics, linguistics, developmental psychology, cognitive science and philosophy became synthesized into radical constructivism. Working with a number of collaborators, including Leslie P. Steffe, Glasersfeld has steadily developed radical constructivism both in theory and its applications until by now there are literally thousands of constructivist-related publications building on this and parallel perspectives. Even such recent and differently named perspectives as Enactive Theory can be seen as an offshoot of the constructivist insight that all knowing and experiencing are embodied and that all knowledge reflects our physical and social modes of being.

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