Construction and Transference of Meaning Through Form
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
There seem to be as many definitions of constructivism as there are minds to construct them. At least this is how it felt after reading the chapters by Duit (chap. 14), Saxe (chap. 15), and Spivey (chap. 16). Or perhaps there are as many questionings of constructivist ideas as practices in the field of education. For example, a teacher experiences a different set of constraints than a researcher or a designer, and these constraints in turn shape theories of learning in different ways.
Duit's chapter eloquently reflects what I call "the teacher's dilemma." At the core of the teacher's dilemma resides the question: How can a teacher give reason to a student ( Duckworth, 1987) by appreciating the uniqueness and consistency of his or her thinking, while, at the same time, giving right to the expert whose views coincide with more advanced ideas in a field?
From a transfer theorist's perspective, the answer to this question is simple: The students (or novices) need to overcome their current beliefs and embrace the expert's view, and the teacher needs to explain the expert's view in a clear enough way so that the students can understand it. If a student does not "get" the teacher's explanation, the blame is to be put either on the teacher, who is not able to explain the matter clearly