Publication 3005

Matthews M. (1998) Introductory comments on philosophy and constructivism in science education. In: Matthews M. (ed.) Constructivism in science education: A philosophical examination. Kluwer, Dordrecht: 1–10. Fulltext at
This article indicates something of the enormous influence of constructivism on contemporary science education. The article distinguishes educational constructivism (that has its origins in theories of children’s learning), from constructivism in the philosophy of science (usually associated with instrumentalist views of scientific theory), and from constructivism in the sociology of science (of which the Edinburgh Strong Programme in the sociology of scientific knowledge is the best known example). It notes the expansion of educational constructivism from initial considerations of how children come to learn, to views about epistemology, educational theory, ethics, and the cognitive claims of science. From the learning-theory beginnings of constructivism, and at each stage of its growth, philosophical questions arise that deserve the attention of educators. Among other things, the article identifies some theoretical problems concerning constructivist teaching of the content of science.
Originally published as: Matthews M. R. (1997) Introductory comments on philosophy and constructivism in Science Education. Science & Education 6(1–2): 5–14.

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