Publication 6487

Kivinen O. & Ristele P. (2003) From constructivism to pragmatist conception of learning. Oxford Review of Education 29(3): 363–375. Fulltext at
This paper contributes to the debate on constructivist learning theory. We contrast the constructivist notion of activity that identifies ‘active’ with ‘conscious’ and ‘intentional’ with John Dewey’s habitual conception of action, knowing and learning by doing. As regards language and truth, we defend an anti-representationalist conception that sees words as tools of communication and coordination rather than representations reflecting reality. To compare our Deweyan pragmatist conception of learning with contemporary viewpoints associated with constructivism, we examine and criticise the notions of ‘knowledge building’ and ‘metacognition’. Finally, we consider what Deweyan ideas about learning and growth might mean for education in the twenty-first century.

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