Publication 4028

Jenkins E. W. (2000) Constructivism in school science education: Powerful model or the most dangerous intellectual tendency? Science & Education 9(6): 599–610. Fulltext at
This paper explores and challenges a numberof the assumptions and claims commonly associated with a constructivist approach to school scienceeducation, e.g., that constructivist ideas aboutlearning require a progressive pedagogy or that`active learning’ demands engaging students withpractical activities. It suggests that constructivistideas have a particular appeal within primaryeducation because they help to justify classroompractices and activities that primary school teachers,for a variety of other reasons, regard as important. It is suggested that the recent dominant emphasis uponconstructivism in science education has narrowed boththe professional and the research agenda relating toschool science teaching. The paper argues for greaterclarity and precision when referring to constructivistideas in science education and for a betterunderstanding of the role that learning theoriesshould play in influencing the ways in which scienceis taught in schools.

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