Comparing radical, social and psychological constructivism in Australian higher education: a psycho-philosophical perspective

Penelope Van Bergen, Mitch Parsell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    While constructivism enjoys considerable popularity in higher education, both in Australia and internationally, it nonetheless takes a variety of forms. These different interpretations make it difficult to draw strong conclusions about constructivism as a whole. In this essay, we therefore take a psycho-philosophical approach: reviewing and assessing three major versions of constructivism (radical, psychological and social), from both pedagogic and epistemic standpoints. We find no damaging psychological evidence against moderate pedagogic interpretations of constructivism that encourage a focus on how students learn, noting only that these must still be grounded empirically. We find several convincing philosophical arguments against particular epistemic interpretations, however, and against strong pedagogical interpretations that eschew all teacher direction. We conclude by encouraging Australian higher educators to discard the problematic epistemic and psychological versions of constructivism. To expose students to genuine disciplinary inquiry within the academy, we must retain only those versions of constructivism that are philosophically and pedagogically defensible.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41–58
    Number of pages18
    JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
    Volume46
    Issue number1
    Early online date30 Oct 2018
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

    Keywords

    • constructivism
    • epistemology
    • pedagogy
    • student-centred
    • relativism
    • higher education

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing radical, social and psychological constructivism in Australian higher education: a psycho-philosophical perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this