Constructivism's new clothes: The trivial, the contingent, and a progressive research programme into the learning of science [Book Review]

Foundations of Chemistry 8 (2):189-219 (2006)
Constructivism has been a key referent for research into the learning of science for several decades. There is little doubt that the research into learners’ ideas in science stimulated by the constructivist movement has been voluminous, and a great deal is now known about the way various science topics may commonly be understood by learners of various ages. Despite this significant research effort, there have been serious criticisms of this area of work: in terms of its philosophical underpinning, the validity of its most popular constructs, the limited scope of its focus, and its practical value to science teaching. This paper frames this area of work as a Lakatosian Research Programme (RP), and explores the major criticisms of constructivism from that perspective. It is argued that much of the criticism may be considered as part of the legitimate academic debate expected within any active RP, i.e. arguments about the auxiliary theory making up the ‘protective belt’ of the programme. It is suggested that a shifting focus from constructivism to ‘contingency in learning’ will allow the RP to draw upon a more diverse range of perspectives, each consistent with the existing hard core of the programme, which will provide potentially fruitful directions for future work and ensure the continuity of a progressive RP into learning science.
Keywords Philosophy   History   Philosophy of Science   Physical Chemistry   Philosophy of Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 13,009
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

11 ( #154,563 of 1,410,123 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #107,970 of 1,410,123 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.