Constructivism and Education: Misunderstandings and Pedagogical Implications

Jan. 20, 2008

Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 43, Issue 1, January 2008 , pages 72 - 86.

Constructivism is a popular concept in contemporary teacher education programs. However, a genuine concern arises with the concept's application because many teachers and teacher educators claim that knowledge is constructed, without appreciating the epistemological and pedagogical implications such a claim entails.

This article employs Phillips' (1995) analytic framework that divides the pedagogical applications of constructivism into three distinct categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Reviewing the constructivist epistemologies of Dewey and Vygotsky also enables the exploration of how constructivism might inform both our understanding of the impediments students confront when learning new knowledge and our understanding of general constructivist pedagogical practices.

The primary objective in this article is to provide teacher educators and teachers with a richer understanding of constructivism - its limitations and its strengths - while offering concrete pedagogical strategies for its classroom application.

Updated: Mar. 02, 2008