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Taylor, P.C. (2015) Constructivism. In: Gunstone, R., (ed.) Encyclopedia of Science Education. Springer Netherlands, pp. 218-224.

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For nearly 50 years, constructivist theory has been making a significant contribution to education, shaping the way we think about the active role of the mind of the learner, whether student, teacher, or researcher. But to answer the question “what is constructivism?” is not an easy task; it depends on which version of constructivist theory we are asking about. There are many versions of constructivism in the literature, with labels such as cognitive, personal, social, radical, cultural, trivial, pedagogical, academic, contextual, C1 and C2, and ecological. And there are also allied terms that have a strong family resemblance, including social constructionism, enactivism and pragmatism. For this entry, I consider four versions – personal constructivism, radical constructivism, social constructivism, and critical constructivism. These have had a major impact on science education and greater impacts than other forms/versions. I start with a brief consideration of Piaget’s cognitive constructivism, which laid the foundations for the emergence of the “Big Four,” and I conclude with an integral perspective on using different versions of constructivism to shape science teaching and learning.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Copyright: 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
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