Publication 36

Pasztor A. (2007) Radical Constructivism has been Viable. On the Democratization of Math Education. Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 98–106. Fulltext at
Motivation: Paralleling my own transformation from a Platonist to a radical constructivist, mathematics education has been experiencing for more than a decade a movement that started in theoretical foundations mostly originating in von Glasersfeld’s work, and then reached professional organizations, which have been leading extensive efforts to reform school mathematics according to constructivist principles. However, the theories espoused by the researchers are, as yet, too abstract to lend themselves readily to implementation in the classroom. AB=Purpose: I define a shared experiential language (SEL) for the constructivist teacher to embody in order to transform her practice congruently according to constructivist principles. While SEL is comprised of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) subjective experience distinctions, what “makes it tick” is the constructivist epistemology with its insight that for consistent understanding to happen, new knowledge has to attach to prior experiences in a process of co-construction. Throughout the paper, I elaborate and validate this insight by numerous examples. Practical implications: Utilizing SEL allows understanding of mathematics to be rooted in each student’s individual sensory experiences, thus shifting the responsibility for success in mathematics from the students back to those who guide them in co-constructing knowledge. This, in turn, should allow everybody access to understanding and so it should no longer be socially acceptable to fail in mathematics.


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