Publication 4963

Tobin K. (2007) The revolution that was constructivism. In: Glasersfeld E. von (ed.) Key works in radical constructivism (edited by Marie Larochelle). Sense, Rotterdam: 291–297. Fulltext at
Excerpt: A look at the literature published in high impact journals identifies more than three thousand publications that used the keywords constructivism or constructivist from the mid 1970s to the present. In the database the first reference to constructivism is in 1967, increasing to 12 sources by 1976. From 1993 onwards the trajectory increased to more than 100 sources a year and then, since 1999 more than 200 sources a year refer to constructivism. Of course this is the tip of an iceberg since the vast majority of the literature is not included in the Web of Science database and many articles probably address constructivism without including the term either in the title, abstract or keywords. Nonetheless, the trend provides insights into a revolution involving constructivism. Perhaps it is too soon to judge whether this revolution made a difference and possibly I am like the fish that is unable to know about the water in which it lives – I used constructivism to improve science education and had a stake in it being successful. From where I stand as an urban science educator, changes occurred because constructivism is a subversive process that got people thinking about the purposes of education and the nature of teaching and learning. Although there are times when it seems as if nothing has changed at all in education research, the wheels of change still turn and do not seem to be easily reversed. Furthermore, from my experience, constructivism itself was not immune from the change process because it too changed and then was subsumed in a new wave of sociocultural theory that is just as subversive as constructivism.

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