Assisting Construction: The Role of the Teacher in Assisting the Learner's Construction of Preexisting Cultural Knowledge
Joe Becker and Maria Varelas1
University of Illinois at Chicago
The first three chapters in this section are related in interesting ways, which we hope to bring out in this critique. We feel that von Glasersfeld's (chap. 20) radical constructivism opens up a space for Wood, Cobb, and Yackel (chap. 22) and Driver (chap. 21) to bring sociocultural aspects into the account of the individual's construction of knowledge. We indicate that "opening," and then we turn to the differences in the way the latter two chapters use that opening. To help the reader understand our bias, we state at the outset that, in our own work, we have been influenced by the ideas of both Piaget and Vygotsky.
We have a specific focus in mind throughout this critique. We are most concerned with the issue of teaching and learning. More specifically, we focus on how the epistemologies offered allow us to conceptualize the role of the teacher in assisting the learner's construction of knowledge.
von Glasersfeld details the constructivist approach to the individual's achievement of knowledge, which underlies the two other chapters (in places taken as shared, and in places expressed explicitly). The three chapters share an emphasis on learning involving active construction by the learner, having as a source the learner's own experience, with the____________________