Constructivism in Education

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

11
Social and Cultural Dimensions of Knowledge and Classroom Teaching

Clifford Konold Scientific Reasoning Research Institute University of Massachusetts, Amherst

This book was conceived in the hope of distilling, from a variety of emergent social science paradigms, a "hybrid" version that can guide educational research and practice. Toward that objective, I was asked to react to two chapters--one that advocates a social constructivist approach ( Bauersfeld, chap. 9), and one that advocates a sociocultural approach ( Wertsch & Toma, chap. 10).

It was with some apprehension that I agreed to do so. One of the most rewarding (and disturbing) adventures of my academic career came in 1978 in the form of an invitation to participate in an AERA symposium. I was asked as a new researcher in the field to present my views on "the kinds of research . . . [that] will make a difference to educational theory, practice, or both." I dashed off what seemed a sensible list of research priorities, but thought it prudent to do a bit of reading before carving them in stone. It took about 4 years before I regained my sense of balance, swept from my moorings by the exhilarating and dizzying experience of grappling with just the type of thinking represented in these two chapters. So, as I have struggled with these authors' ideas, I have held onto myself by adopting rather modest objectives, hoping to make some observations and raise questions that, along with the many voices to be heard, help structure and maintain a productive conversation.

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