Critical Constructivism Primer

Critical Constructivism Primer

Critical Constructivism Primer

Critical Constructivism Primer

Synopsis

The Critical Constructivism Primer introduces education students to the study of knowledge; how it is inscribed by particular values and produced in problematic ways; whose interests it serves; and how it shapes the identities of those who consume it. Critical constructivism is an epistemological position that examines the process by which knowledge is socially constructed. Joe L. Kincheloe takes readers through the basic concepts and alerts them to the dangers of objectivism, reductionism, and the pathological views of self and world that emerge if students and educators are unaware of the construction of knowledge by dominant power interests. The book is essential reading for individuals who want to become researchers and educators.

Excerpt

Educators walk minefields of educational contradictions in the contemporary pedagogical landscape. On some levels teachers and students discover that schools pursue democratic goals and education for a democratic society; on other levels they find that schools are authoritarian and pursue antidemocratic goals of social control for particular groups and individuals. Sometimes participants learn that schools are grounded on cooperative values; in high-stakes test-driven curricula they find that a competitive ethic is dominant. At other junctures students and teachers are told that the knowledge of schools is based on a diversity of cultural and global sources; when the curriculum is delineated, however, they often find that school knowledge comes primarily from dominant cultural, class, and gender groups (Apple, 1999; Schubert, 1998).

Advocates of critical pedagogy are aware that every minute of every hour that teachers teach, they are faced with complex decisions concerning justice, democracy, and competing ethical claims. Although they have to make individual determinations of what to do in these particular circumstances, they must concur-

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