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Constructivist pedagogy stems from German Idealism

Author(s): Stefan Schweizer

Journal: Electroneurobiología
ISSN 0328-0446

Volume: 15;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 63;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Mario Crocco | Colin Dougall | pedagogy | didactics | cognition | consciousness studies | cognitive | neuroscience | neurosciences | neurobiology | nervous system evolution | psychophysiology | philosophy of mind | conscious mind | cognitive science | artificial intelligence | neurobiology | artificial life | linguistics | neural networks | connectionism | cognitive psychology | consciousness research | intellectual development | intelligence | sex differences | axiology

Major parts of constructivist theory have found a cozy dwelling in contemporary pedagogical-didactical discourse, without due analysis of its sources in History of Ideas. The present essay tries to fill this gap in scientific discourse. It also contributes to the scientific, historical-genetic systematisation of paradigms. As the theoretical source of constructivist theory, German Idealism – for example, the works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich W. J. Schelling – is identified. Schmidt and von Glasersfeld later on contributed further specifications. Still older roots, digging in Aristotelean notions, have been pointed out by Mario Crocco and Colin Dougall for the theory of autopoiesis composed by neurobiologists Maturana and Varela, who were born in a culture partly shaped by four centuries of Aristotelean, Jesuit schooling; thus far, however, the present writer has not yet carried his research program onto the study of such roots. Autopoiesis theory, which basically dovetails and complements the constructivist paradigm, illustrates the implications of a theory of science as regards the theory of self-organisation. After these steps of fundamental scientific reflection, it is possible to discuss and assess the merits of a pedagogy and a didactics inspired by constructivism: in the arrived-to scenario, the outcome of a constructivist pedagogy can be systematically derived from the theoretical framework. Many consequences of constructivism are nowadays widespread in the academic community concerned with pedagogy and didactics. The main feature of constructivist pedagogy and didactics is the focus on the student. Students are considered autopoietically closed systems and structural-selective acting systems that are only able to act on their own motivation and are incapable to respond to external motives. Therefore self-study, partner- or groupwork is viewed as the ideal means of successful education. (Article in English, .htm, .pdf, and .doc versions).

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