Publication 3049

Cobb P. (1994) Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development. Educational Researcher 23(7): 13–20. Fulltext at
Currently, considerable debate focuses on whether mind is located in the head or in the individual-in-social-action, and whether development is cognitive self-organization or enculturation into established practices. In this article, I question assumptions that initiate this apparent forced choice between constructivist and sociocultural perspectives. I contend that the two perspectives are complementary. Also, claims that either perspective captures the essence of people and communities should be rejected for pragmatic justifications that consider the contextual relevance and usefulness of a perspective. I argue that the sociocultural perspective informs theories of the conditions far the possibility of learning, whereas theories developed from the constructivist perspective focus on what students learn and the processes by which they do so.

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