Publication 6669

Vadeboncoeur J. A. (1997) Child development and the purpose of education: A historical context for constructivism in teacher education. In: Richardson V. (ed.) Constructivist teacher education: Building a world of new understandings. Falmer Press, London: 15–37. Fulltext at
Excerpt: Throughout the twentieth century, two competing views of child development and the purpose of education have framed the teaching of pedagogy in teacher education. In the first view, the purpose of education is to educate the individual child in a manner which supports the child’s interests and needs. The principles which guide this educational prescription are based on a theory of cognitive development that identifies the individual as the subject of study. In the second view, the purpose of education is social transformation and the reconstruction of society aligned with democratic ideals. This view is based on a theory of human development which locates the individual within a cultural milieu and identifies the subject of study as the dialectical relationship between the two. These two themes are also central to the current discussion of constructivisms: Piagetian constructivism is aligned with an emphasis on education for individual cognitive development while forms of Vygotskian constructivism are aligned with an emphasis on education for social transformation.

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