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Topic: Constructivism & modeling
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Jack Rotman

Posts: 22
Registered: 12/6/04
Constructivism & modeling
Posted: Aug 30, 1995 8:33 AM
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>From: Deann M Huinker <>
>To: Multiple recipients of list <>
>Subject: Modeling and Constructivism
>I found it interesting that Tad choose to focus on the issue of "modeling"
>as I have often heard my prospective elementary teachers use this term in
>ways that concern me. Namely, many seem to use it as a synonym for
>"showing and telling" students what to do. If this is the case, than
>modeling can not be consistent with constructivist epistemology ...

<...snip a little ...>

Well, let's look at this. I am not a theoretician in constructivist
philosophy, but I don't think the conclusion about modeling is correct.
As I understand the constructivist philosophy, the belief is that ALL
of us create our own knowledge/understanding/etc by constructing our
own set of theories, rules, and so on. I would say that we have
proven that people can do this constructing by observing an expert
model that information -- that's exactly how most of us have mastered
our area of expertise. I would also say that we will help more
students as we shift to more variety in our teaching methods.

I think the question really is: Do these learners need a more direct
experience to master this material (i.e. -- to construct their own
knowledge of it)?? I believe that learners vary a great deal in terms
of how direct their experience needs to be for this purpose. Also, I
see one of the goals of education as being to assist each learner in
becoming more able to learn in various modes -- including variances
along this dimension of "teacher modeling" to "student experiments".
In other words, I see liberation within a mathematics classroom.

People may not agree with this particular goal of education, but I
think teacher modeling can be consistent with constructivist theory,
since some of us have succeeded with only that modeling.

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Jack Rotman phone (517)483-1079
Math Professor
Lansing Community College Lansing, MI
"Like all art & science, mathematics surrounds us."
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